~In Memoriam of a Beautiful Son
Vaughn E. Johnson
October 21, 1987 – September 9, 2007~
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever….
It is not natural to lose and bury a son as a parent before YOURSELF.
And I can not imagine the pain and emptiness a father must feel when he has lost a son or a child for that fact. So when I wanted to offer a possible excerpt of the memoir Vance and me are writing together, I wanted to share this so YOU, the Readers, our Friends, Fans and all who visit can give us comments of Yes or No of what Vance wrote a few years ago of memories and a tribute to his son posted on his Facebook page back in September of 2015.
When I read it, it touched and moved me to the core of my soul, and I cried as I was reading this beautiful post he had written. Should we include this in the book?
We’d like to know your comments and thoughts…Catherine Lyon ~ Cat
“When my son Vaughn passed from this earth, I wasn’t allowed to speak at his funeral. Maybe because there was so much attention to him being the son of a former NFL Broncos son being killed, I not sure. My ex-wife was harboring strife against me.
I choose to believe that I was, for the most part, an absentee father most of my adult children’s lives. I was however blessed to have many years of watching my beautiful son grow into everything greater than what I could have ever dreamed of for him.”
Today I celebrate the life of my son Vaughn and to share some amazing truth about our relationship. He was the most coordinated kid even as a baby, and I made the nurses put a football against his body even before he was given to his mother. When he was only a few weeks old, I took him outside in the middle of the night, held him above my head in the palms of my hands with just a diaper on him so I could show him this beautiful universe while standing in the cold Rocky Mountain air. I announced out loud; “son behold the heavens, the only thing greater than yourself.” See, I was brought up to believe in the creator but the enemy is subtle, and I allowed him to steal everything from me back then.
When Vaughn was two years old, I would play football in the front room when I lived at the yacht club off 68th and Sheridan in Westminster Co. He liked running past me as I caught him and rolled over like it was a big tackle! Then I would lift him above my head and toss him in the air. He would fly so high that he giggled so hard he would puke milk right in my mouth😝yuk! Lol. As he grew, he became very confident and had a bit of a chip on his shoulder like a little ‘baller.’
He ran fast and had NO fear of people or competition, yet he was compassionate and gentle, was moved to help others and give his candy away to a baby crying in a stroller….He loved, loved running and when I would be warming up at a football game I would have his mom drop him and Vincent his brother off at the Pre-game warm up.
As the crowd came filling in, he loved pretending like he was playing in a game and would take off running the full one hundred yards to score a touchdown🏈….
Once the fans saw him running and started cheering him on, he noticed them cheering and began to run faster. As he approached 40-yard line, they screamed 30-20-10 and just before he scored he looked up into the stands and tripped over his little feet and fumbled the ball into the end zone! I told him “it’s a fumble son, go pick it up for a Touch Down!” Instead of crying he ran to the end zone and jumped on the ball. The crowd screamed TOUCHDOWN! Wow, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry as I remember my baby boy. So many years I wasted because of this flesh desires and temptations abound while in the NFL.
As Vaughn got older, he began to excel in sports. Track was his preference, and he won most of the time. I hated watching him play football as he wanted to win so bad that he put his life on the line to make big tackles or run someone over to make a winning touchdown. I hate to think now he may have made the NFL and suffered from what so many of us deal with today after so many years of abusing the body. Head trauma, concussions and more, but how can you tell your own son NO, you can’t play pro football? He was an amazing brother and sacrificed his wants for taking care of his brother, let alone having to help and be a pretend father & husband to my ex-wife because of our failed marriage, and I wasn’t not there all the time for them.
I had custody for a while as Vaughn wanted to be with me and his brother followed. Sometimes his brother got home sick so he would stay with his mom in Avada Colorada, while I was in Greeley, Colorado running a business. I remember one night, Vaughn had gotten a call that someone had picked on his little brother, and then wanted to drive over an hour away to protect him. He wanted to make sure they knew who’s brother they were ‘messin with!’ I then moved to the western slope of Colorado, and my boys decided not to be that far away from their mother. There’s more to this story, but this is about my son, Vaughn….When he reached old enough to attend college, I purchased a home, as he attended Mesa State in Grand Junction Co.
More memories and another funny story. Being a former pro athletes son, Vaughn was a popular kid, let me take that back, he became well known because of his exceptional character, not mine. Anyway, I got him a home and taught him how to own real estate and rent it out to his teammates to cover his part of the rent. Well, his friends didn’t pay rent, so I served him an eviction notice. All along I had another property waiting because Vaughn learned a lesson the first time when he made this mistake.
I told the parents of the other kids this was just a learning experience but not to tell the boys what was going on until they felt the sting of eviction….Vaughn had stayed in a hotel for a few days. He then moved into a much bigger and nicer home, and things went smoother. Well, one last funny moment, actually not so funny but a learning experience for 16 guys on his football team. They had a dang beer-pong, is that what they call it? So, I told the coach about it, and some young heads began to roll that weekend.
A few weeks later my son and hero came to my home and said something to me that I want to share with you…
As he sat at my kitchen table with his girlfriend, he said; “Dad, I want to be just like you when I grow up. I know you and mom have no relationship, but I love you, and whether it be football, real estate, banking or a restauranteur, I want it.” When he left, I cried as any proud father would. When the love of a father’s life, my son, just validated his love for his father, a father that was at best, sometimes around? Every dad wants his son to grow and walk in their footsteps.
At this point, the real-estate market, my business, relationship with addiction started destroying my life, again….I will always regret not being a real Christian father at that time, one that focussed on the riches given by Christ above and not the sadistic desires, unrealistic desires of money, greed, fame. I wish I had taught him about “God” and read scripture to him, made sure that his salvation was secure in Christ. The scriptures say in Romans 1:25; “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised, Amen.”
I share my loss, WHY? Someone, right now I know is reading this and dealing with the loss of a loved one. And I, like you, faced life’s heartaches, griefs, and tribulations. I, like you, have faced crossroads. We either lay down and die, stuck in the bondage of regrets, guilt, shame, and despair, or we can be like “Job and King David,” and mourn, fast, strip down to nothing and give Praise that God gives and takes away. Don’t let that death of a loved one be in vain of someone you love. GET UP!, Give Praise!
And make this your WHY!
“Rest in Peace my love, my son Vaughn, for YOU are daddy’s Why! It’s Gods Grace that my life is transforming, restored, and redeemed! Because of you Vaughn, I know my path. Isaiah 12:2 says; “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” ~ NE14SOBRIETY ~