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- 8 years · 2 months · 25 days
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I was named Dana Lynne Howard on the day I was born (May 13, 1961).I lived in Tampa, FL with my grandmother "Mary Lovie Ouzts Taylor Braddy" and step grandfather "James Cooper Braddy", known to me as granny and papa.They raised me for the first several years of my life.Granny worked, so papa took care of me most of the time.We were so close and I loved him like no other.He called me his baby girl and I felt so safe and loved when I was with him.I was yanked away from my loving home to go live with my mother and new stepfather.He was mean and abusive.He beat me one day and I showed papa the marks on my body.He told my mother it had better not happen again.So then "Gene" started abusing me in ways that would not leave visible marks.My mother turned a blind eye and let him treat me any way he wanted.I didn't know how to explain the things "Gene" was doing to me to papa.Then one night(Jan 3,1970) papa was again taken away from me, this time for forever.He was robbed and murdered by a gang of thugs for initiation purposes.He was shot in his arm, throat, and heart.My granny held him while he lay dying,his blood shooting across the parking lot.I was supposed to be with him that night,and I wish I had.I could've spent some last moments with him and told him how much I loved him. (To this very day,I travel to FL for parole hearings to keep his murderers off the streets for as long as I can).Of course I wasn't ever allowed to show my feelings,so at the funeral I was like a robot.Quiet,lost,in pain. I had lost my protector.After papa's death,granny and I then grew very close.Then on July 27,2001 she passed away.I believe she died from boredom and heartache from being placed in a nursing home.After this,I felt like an orphan.Granny and papa were the only two people in the world who loved me from the day I was born.And now they were both gone.I had been trying to remember where papa had been buried,but could not find him.Then I "googled" his name and came across geneology info on him and of course Find A Grave popped up too.I was overjoyed to find papa's headstone and pics of him and his family from his childhood!Now I can place flowers on his memorial page(which I sponsor)and write all the things I wish I could've told him in person.Thru his page,I discovered granny's info is also listed.If it hadn't been for my papa and granny,I truly believe I would've been dead long ago.I was so damaged and lost,I would've eventually self destructed.But because a seed of love had been planted in my heart by these two loving people,I was able to recognize love and was saved by my husband,Harry.Granny once told me that he was an angel sent by God to love and take care of me.And she loved him so much for that.I know this seems like a success story rather than a bio, but believe me it's both.This is my bio, it's who I am.All of the good things inside me and in my life are a direct result of my granny and papa's love.So thank you to this site and all who contribute to it.You have made this one of the happiest days of my life!
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