When Crissie Carpenter met her husband, Andy, she felt an instant connection to the strapping, young Marine.
“I could tell immediately he had a light in his eyes,” she explains. “You never saw him without a smile.”
The couple got married and lived together for six months in North Carolina before Andy was deployed.
Around that same time, Crissie learned she was pregnant with a baby boy, and Andy was absolutely ecstatic at the good news.
Says Crissie, “He just screamed in my ear. He was so excited. He was actually the last Carpenter. So, his little boy was going to carry on his name. That was really important to him.”
Around Christmas 2010, Andy was sent to Afghanistan, and he let Crissie know the fighting would be pretty intense. They didn’t get to talk on the phone very often, but during one of their last conversations, Andy shared his wishes for their son, whom they decided to name Landon.
“I never heard Andy talk in the way that he did during this phone call,” Crissie explains. “He made me promise that if something was to happen to him, that I would promise to keep Landon a part of his family’s life.”
On Valentine’s Day 2011, Crissie got the dreaded phone call that Andy had been shot while on patrol and was brain dead.
Landon arrived a month later, and Crissie still isn’t sure how she got through the month in between that tragedy and the arrival of her son. She was just focused on making sure Landon was born healthy.
“When he arrived, and I saw him, it was just the most incredible experience,” Criss says. “He was my strength.”
Crissie has stayed true to the promise she made Andy to keep Landon as a part of the Carpenter family. Seeing Andy’s spirit live on through their son is a big inspiration for her, too.
Says Crissie, “For someone that’s never met his father, he is so much like his dad. He has a goofy personality. The fact that Andy still shines through Landon, I love that. I always tell Landon that his dad was a superhero.”
In telling Landon about his father’s bravery, Crissie hopes her son will draw strength from Andy’s story.
She adds, “I hope he always carries that with him.”
Crissie Carpenter shared her story as part of country singer David Nail’s new “Fighter” series. It’s part of the celebration surrounding the release of David’s new album, “Fighter,” due out July 15.
To share your own “Fighter” story, go to DavidNail.com/Fighter.