The wife and children of Buddy Christian will stand by his grave March 22, the day of his death, and once again let the balloons rise high into the clouds. It’s a tradition on special days — Father’s Day, his birthday, the day of his passing.
Buddy’s wife, Melissa Christian, said it’s a good form of remembrance for her children, Callie, 10, and Wyatt, 7.
“Every anniversary of what happened we release balloons at the cemetery,” said Melissa, a Barrow County native. “They (the children) love that, especially him (Wyatt). We have a video of him. I think it was the first anniversary of his passing, we went out and had a big memorial. And there were like 200 balloons and he and Callie helped let them go. And he was just so excited and jumping up and down and you could hear him saying ‘They’re going to daddy.’”
Christian, a Madison County resident, was an Athens-Clarke County Police officer, who lost his life when he was shot through the window of his squad car by a fleeing criminal in 2011. His children were 5 and 2 at the time. Officer Tony Howard was also shot and injured in the incident. The shooter avoided the death penalty but was sentenced to life in jail.
Melissa said his passing is the first thing she thinks of every morning and the last thing at night. She said the calendar is a never-ending cycle of reminders, like Callie’s recent tenth birthday, which marked five years with her daddy and five without.
Despite the pains, Melissa said she wants her children to feel their dad’s presence and know about him. So she works to keep his memory alive.
“Yeah, it’s hard to find that balance,” said Melissa. “How much do you talk about it where they don’t get upset? But you talk about it enough so they don’t forget. It’s hard to find that balance. There’s always an overlap some way, one way or the other.”
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