hi there / Annie (sister-in-law)
hey lane. it's annie. I'm just sitting here being sad again. I've been crying a lot lately. things just don't seem to be working out the way they should be. people say that things happen for a reason, but I don't get it. I had a crappy day at work today, made me think more about the future and priorities and all that. Don and I have been working on figuring out a plan. well, actually, he is in tennessee with ryan and a bunch of your buddies from elyria right now. I talked to don tonight. sounds like they are having a great time, but ryan and stu got lost on the mountain somehow. don't worry, they are ok. well, I guess you already know that. anyway, we're trying to figure out if and where we should buy a house. we looked at a cool, old farm house near here in delaware, last week, but like I 've told you before, I think it might be good to move back to ohio. and, I want to go back to school- I know, I am always in school- and I have to figure out where to apply and living arrangements and loans and all that. Don still isn't sure what he wants to do , but you know, he is a hard worker and finds some satisfaction and enjoyment in whatever he is doing. I wish you were here. Don and I were both planning on you being a part of our plan. or at the very least, giving us some good advice. anyway, I'll quit whining, I know you must have more important things to attend to. I miss you lane love Annie Close
Special gift / Margaret
Dear Tollett family, I learned of Lane's story from a friend who shared it with a group of others. We were moved by his generous spirit in giving for others. Peace and God Bless, Margaret Close
To hear your voice again... / Allison Draper (Friend)Read >>
To hear your voice again... / Allison Draper (Friend)
Dave & I called your cell phone this weekend. Hearing your voice was bitter-sweet. My heart dropped as soon as I heard that lovely deep voice again.
Everyday you find a way into our hearts and minds...everyone misses you so much Lane...
Ultimate Soldier / Barb
Dear Tollett Family, A group of friends gathered and read Lane's story this week and were deeply moved and inspired by his generosity and selflessness. His story and your unfailing love and faith have been an inspiration to us. Thank you for sharing his story and for the gift of Lane. He is a true soldier in more ways than one.
4th of July / Marti Sparks (Mom)
My dearest Lane, it's the 4th of July, and although it's a cool holiday, it's hard to celebrate this year. When you left in January, the original plans for your 2nd tour would have ended and brought you home by now. Like I told you, as soon as I knew the date and location you were to arrive, I would have been waiting there, if I had to curl up in a sleeping bag with a warm, flat bottle of orange pop and waited in any hangar, airport, Pope AFB or even Cicely if that's where I had to go to meet you stepping off that plane! I have no doubt Lesley would have been right there too! Well, as I promised, I'll meet any of your buddies when Charlie Co. comes home for good and I'll be just as proud of them as I am of you. I miss you more than words can ever explain, and love you so very,very much. Love, Mom XOOOOOOOOOOXOOOXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOXOOOOOOOOX Close
still here.... / Grant Cone (Friend)
03JUL07 Lane, I've been thinking about you a lot as usual. Its been real tough here lately. Its only been about 2 months since you left and I've been to two more memorials. Kenny barely made it last month, it takes a lot to take that tough bastard down. He's been through a lot of surgeries and lost his right arm, and then Ben and I remembered that he's left handed. Go figure. We were out in sector when Bob was shot and there was only so much we could do. I know I should'nt, but I still think about what I could have done differently everyday and "what if" the whole situation. They told us that if it happened on the steps of the best hospital in the states they could'nt of done anything. But it just seems as if they say that so we don't beat ourselves up. Its just so hard to look into the young face of a friend and see his life taken in the way it was. I just always think that there had to have been something else I could have done to save him. It was almost exactly one month to the day after you left. As you know he was only 20 and it should'nt of ended so short. I'm sure you've been helping him out since he's joined you. Slap him around a little and give him a hug, as he is by your side now. Ben and I finally got our leave date set for next month and we'll hopefully make it home the same day. It will have been a full year since the last time we were home. Once we get there, 8 out of those 12 months will have been spent in a combat zone. It will sure be a shock. A lot has happened to us and changed since last time we we're home. We have several days of golf set up and we'll have your name on the card.....like Ben always would, he'll probably still replace your score with his and try and cheat me. I'll try and give you a couple birdies. We are going to go and see your family and you when we get out of here. Dont worry, Ben will take your old school clubs home to them. We'll drive to see your family and then to Philly to see Bobs. Ben got a pretty sweet tattoo on his forearm for you. One of my soldiers had a shop back home. CSM put it to an end when he found out, but it looks awesome. Just when you think it can't get any harder another sledgehammer comes and hits me in the head. There is an empty spot in my heart for you guys and it will never be filled. We love love and miss you guys so much and I still cant believe your gone and it might not properly set in until I leave this place. You take care of Bob and make sure that you have cold beer and a tee time next time I see you. -Grant Close
"just tell him I want to make out with him" / Ashlea Graham (Lesley's sister )Read >>
"just tell him I want to make out with him" / Ashlea Graham (Lesley's sister )
I am sitting here far away from Lesley hoping every day she is a little bit stronger. She misses you so much and so do I.
I always thought I would be standing at your wedding giving the maid of honor speech looking at the two of you with such admiration. Admiration for the way you felt for one another, the love you shared, and the amazing committment you both had to each other. I would be retelling all of the stories that made you so special to my little sister and our family.
Some of those stories would have to include the time ytou spent with us in PA - coming down in your pjs to say good night to Rex. The time on the phone when you told Lesley to punch me in the face becuase I would never see it coming. The time when we were standing in the hotel room getting ready for Annie and Don's wedding and all I was hearing about was Don's brother - Lane. And especially the time at the wedding when we were sitting there listening to your speech to Don and Annie - meanwhile Lesley was nudging me to go and tell you she wanted to make out with you.
In the short months that followed the wedding, I came to realize you were the soulmate for my sister. I am so grateful you were able to show her what true love really is. I am sad that there will be no wedding, no official title of brother-in-law, and no more moments shared in person. I miss you and hope that someday Lesley will be by your side forever. Please continue to look over her as I know you are. Please continue to send her signs that you are there and watching.
My heart breaks for Lesely as my tears fall for your family and friends. Miss you.
Lane/ Megan Sparks (married to Lane's step-brother )Read >>
Lane/ Megan Sparks (married to Lane's step-brother )
I never got the chance to meet you. You left for the service before Dan and I got married. Although I never met you, I feel that I have known you for many years. I have heard so many stories about you. So many really great stories about you. Even before your passing I heard a lot about you and I remember thinking one day I will meet you and what a great person you must be. (The life of the party) that is the message that a lot of people have given me about you. I feel really bad for your family. God how I know they loved you. You know I never cried so many times for someone I never met. I was visiting with your mom yesterday. Dan was working on Dave's breaks on his truck. I just wish I knew what to say to your mom. There's really nothing I can say that can make anything better. My heart just breaks every time I think about what she has to be going through. Your brothers too. I think to myself how bad it makes me feel to think about them suffering and then to think how much worse they feel and its just not fair. I don't really know what else to say other than thank you for giving the ultimate sacrifice. I love your family and I am very sad for them. I am very sad for Leslie too. I don't know what I would do if I had ever been in that situation. Well, all I can say to you up there is that one day we will all be with you and I'm sure you'll still be the "life of the party.'
I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that Fi and I are still recovering from our weekend at Kelly's. :-) Our hearts were heavy this year, for it was bittersweet to pull onto the campgrounds and know that Memorial Day will forever hold new meaning. We told every story we could of you on that island (some never to be mentioned again…the pictures are scary enough!). Most of us cried, more of us drank, and all of us smiled. We wore your name on our hearts and strangers offered their condolences and gratitude…you are a hero in its truest form. The winery provided the annual shit-talking and testosterone-infused environment, but it will never be the same without you. It was easier than ever to suck down Ohio wine…it seemed to interrupt the tears that came with the silence. We all wanted to hear that whistle one last time. That damn whistle! I can still hear it clear as day from last year…the high pitch off in the distance somewhere…soon followed by your appearance around that corner. For the rest of my life, I will never forget the smile on your face at that moment or the feeling of pure joy that we were filled with just to be in your presence. Fi held up the tourney that year for you…and now the tourney will forever be held for you. The boys all knew that this year they were playing for second place.
I miss you each day and thank you and your family for your sacrifice. I am certain that, like this world, heaven is a better place for having you in it.
We miss you / McDaniel Trisha (Friend)
Lane, it's still so hard to imagine that you are gone. It seems as if one day soon you are going to give either Matt or I a call and say that you will be driving through Columbus and want to stop by, stay the night, or go get dinner. We wish this hope of ours could come true and its difficult to face reality everyday knowing that it will not.
I can't say there hasn't been a day when Matt has not brought your name up. He misses you soooo much and it hurts me that he can't have you here with him to share in his life. I remember the first time I met you (4 years ago) when Matt and I met eachother out for the first time. You were with your brothers here in Columbus. . . all I remember is your bald head and your big smile. I told Matt, "he's cute", and Matt said, "don't tell him that, it will go straight to his big head." Boy, what any of us would do to see that smile and bald head of yours again.
Some times when I think of memories I can't stop smiling. Remember all of the times that Matt would get soooo mad that you would call me before him (the funny messages). . .we both know that got the best of him :). I remember the one message that you left me saying that you were no longer going to marry me because you met the girl of your dreams, Leslie. Yes, I would have to say she is the girl of your dreams. . .what an incredible heart she has! You two were truely destined for eachother!!!
I also remember when we drove down to Ft. Bragg to say goodbye to you for your first mission. It was so difficult for Matt and I to say goodbye, but the phone calls and e-mails kept our spirits alive. I truely felt that you would always be protected and be returned to us. You are a hero to all. . . the epitomy of selflessness.
I feel so lucky to have known you for the short 4 years I did. You are truely one remarkable man and have touched my life like you did so many others. You have left a void in Matt's life and I know that one day it will begin to heal. Life will never be the same for us without you in it. You are now in a better place and that comforts us in knowing that. Please continue to watch over your family and friends and the troops in Iraq. Until we meet again. . .
_/ Annie (favorite sister-in-law )
hey lane, I can't sleep again. I think Don's finally got his eyes closed so I'm out here in the living room trying not to wake him up. We got some more of your mail tonight and a thing about your GI Bill. It seems like just the other day you were here talking about what you were going to do when you got out of the army. That day last fall that Don had to work and we had lunch and bought the waxing stuff- we talked about all the options you had. maybe P.A. school, maybe teaching or something with juvenile offenders. You would have been good at whatever you decided to do. You were just starting to figure things out. What the hell? Don's 30th birthday is tomorrow (well, today; it's 12:15 now). We should be expecting a call from you. Don would have his phone with him at all times, waiting for some unfamiliar re-routed North Carolina number to call. He'd be all excited to hear from you but in usual Tollett fashion, act all calm and cool. You'd probably remind us how you spent your 30th out in the middle of nowhere on some miserable army training thing. (We were just talking about that the other day. ) You wouldn't be able to tell us much about what you're doing, but Don would try to fill you in on all the stuff here- like how we saw some guy who used to play for the Cavs at a restaurant the other day. You'd get a kick out of that. I'd get to talk to you for a minute or two and I'd tell you some gross ER story since I know you really hate those-- oh, we had a patient last week who accidentally left her tampon in for a month and got pyelonephritis. you would have especially hated that one! We would try to make some plans for when you'd be home next; you were supposed to have leave in August, right? That would have been really great.
I just can't understand this. I don't understand why this is real. When you joined the army, of course I didn't want you to go. You know how I feel about all that political crap. But while you were gone, I came to respect your decision to join and I really felt a sense of pride. I am impressed by you. You are an honorable, dutiful, courageous man. I never got to really tell you that.
You were the first person from Don's family that I ever met. I remember you unexpectedly came in one night from Columbus to Don's house to do your laundry. When I met you, I could tell right away that you were a good brother and that Don must have a great family.
We all miss you so much. We're thinking of you all the time. There better be an incredible heaven someplace. I hope you are doing something fun up there, maybe you're kicked back by a nice, big pool, listening to good music and having some of Rose's bread and catching up with Grandpa Arnold and Grandma Jeanie. Have another Stroh's or a Rock and Rye. And, make sure to keep a special watch over your friends in Iraq who still need you with them.
Missing you / Kacy Shaw (FRIEND from BGSU )Read >>
Missing you / Kacy Shaw (FRIEND from BGSU )
Lane, I do not know what to say. The last time I saw you was at the Jazz & Rib Fest in Columbus, gosh, probably in 2001? I was just thinking of you recently, wondering what you were doing, wishing we had kept in contact. You probably didn't even know I got married, and that was in 2003. I am actually Kacy Snyder now. Funny that now I can't even remember how we met. I really can't. I know we met very early at BGSU - I think you were one of the first people I met. You made my life interesting for all those 4 years. I keep reading all the things people say about you. You were such a wonderful person, you really were. So kind and funny. I don't think you ever actually said anything mean to me even though I spent many hours mad at you. (Bill Porter probably remembers that!) We just never got the timing right. And your dancing- I had totally forgotten that. I recognized some of the people from the pictures...I can't remember all the names though. I remember meeting your little brother at sibs weekend once, and the tall guy that is in a lot of your pics, I remember going to his apartment in Columbus to say hi to you. Maybe you were helping him move? Anyway, I will never forget your voice. If you'd call, you would say "Hey Kacy, it's Lane" like I couldn't tell. But now I know why you would never tell me your middle name! I wish I would have know what happened sooner, I would have liked to attend your service/memorial. You really were a great guy. God will take care of you now.
Memories/ Patrick Dyer (friend)
I thought about you a lot today. I have never had any specific person to remember on Memorial Day before. I don't think I want any more. There could not be a better person to remember on this day. Thank you, you were the best.
I was thinking about the islands today and when you lost your wallet , which was actually taken. That was a great morning for a drive and think we went to every bar on the island to find it, with no luck. I still remember getting back to the campsite and you still had a smile on your face even though it was gone. Only you could pull that off.
I also thought about the time when my dad past and you brought some food over to the house. I don' t know if I thanked you for that but it meant a lot to me. There are a lot of events that have taken place in all of our lives that we could thank you for. You made this place better for all of us. Thank you
Missing you / Marti Sparks (mom)
My dearest Lane, I still can't believe you're gone. It's been one month as of today, Memorial Day of all things. There was a nice, short ceremony downtown at the park, and your dad received the flag that flew over the park from the mayor. The brick with your name on it is already placed at the new veteran's memorial downtown. To say that the feelings we've had this past month are surreal is putting it mildly. The sensation of a dagger being twisted in my gut and a gaping hole in the depths of my heart only begins to explain how much I miss you. Then, whenever I hug your brothers, my soul aches from being torn to shreds because I can't make it any better for them, and I'm the mom, that's what I'm supposed to do. I can't "kiss it & make if feel better", this isn't a scrape or bump that I can fix. We should be making plans now for you and Lesley, and I see so much of what you described in her sweet, loving, amazing personality that caused you two to "click" at first sight. Yes Lane, she is "it" for you, she's "the one" to balance and complement you. She and I will hold you dear to us forever, not forgetting one nuance of your character, holding precious every fiber of your being as my son and her sweetheart, her man. I'm sending you all my love, from here to eternity, 'til I hold you again, and kiss that handsome, bald noggin' like I did 31 years ago, XOOOOXOO MOM Close
I just wanted to take a moment and say you are the center of our thoughts today. Last night was Allison's Birthday Party and some of the party goers slept over. We spent the morning talking about you. As a matter of fact, I am looking at the neighbor's Volvo that you backed your Dad's truck into the last time you were here. That was pretty funny.
I also wanted to let you know that I put the harmonica you gave me in my golf bag last week...shaved 8 strokes off my score. You are officially hired as my secret weapon and I'm taking you with me from now on.
We miss you dearly and we are always thinking about you.
To my big brother, Today is Memorial Day, and once again I missed the trip to the islands. Ryan was able to make it and is still felling a little under the weather. I was planning on making the ride to DC, like I usually do but decided not to go back until they have a memorial for this war. Instead I wanted to write you and tell you how proud I am for everything you have done. There are so many people giving me hugs, sending me letters, calling me all the time to check up on me and telling me they will help out with anything. Ryan and I got to spend a couple weeks together after your birthday, one here in Delaware just hanging out, making plans and getting tattoos. I had one of the toughest days in my life saying goodbye to him and at the same time being so upset that the three of us wont get to hang out again for along time. That night Annie and I cried ourselves to sleep. It seams that is my new routine before I go to bed. I wish I could talk to you just one more time to let you know how important you were to me and Ry. You never let us down when we really needed you. You were always there to whoop us when we needed an ass kickin. You are my motivation to be a better person. Because we are brothers we never said it, but I want you to know I love you, I miss you and I will never forget you. Your Favorite Brother, Don
The happiness you gave so many! / Stephanie Bean (Friend of Lesley )Read >>
The happiness you gave so many! / Stephanie Bean (Friend of Lesley )
It seems unfathomable that you are gone. I know we only met once but it seems like I had known you for years through the stories Lesley would tell me. Lesley and I have been close for many years and there is one thing I know for certain, I have never seen her happier in my life. I could always tell when you were on her mind or that she received a call from you or a letter because she would just glow. Although she missed you tremendously and hated you being gone, she was so incredibly proud of you, and just one little call or letter would brighten her day and she would smile from ear to ear. She would come to my house and the very first thing she would do was tell my mom or anyone who would listen all about you and your future plans together.
Lesley has never really been a planner, and she lived everyday as it came, until she met you, after she met you she was ready to take on the world. She loved you unconditionally and was ready to start her life with you. It saddens me to know that two such perfect people for each other will never get to show their love to world.
Thank you for being you and loving my friend. She is a better person having known you. The world is truly missing out on having such a wonderful heroic person in it. You will always remain in the hearts of many! I know even in heaven you are going to be watching out for Lesley and helping give her the strength to get through this, and for that I am grateful!
This quote seemed appropriate for your love "When you're in love with someone it inspires you and gives you hope. You have faith that even if you can't be with them on earth, that if God wills, you will be with them one day in heaven."
Making a difference / Ryan Sweeney (Friend and Classmate )
I can remember like it was yesterday: I was walking down the hallway of Elyria Catholic High School as a Freshman football player. I was wearing my Green jersey, as were the varsity players. Out of nowhere the Senior Captain lifted me up off the ground and began running with me down the hallway! When I finally landed Lane turned to me and said, "Thanks for that Sweeney, now I'm ready to play tonight!"
That memory of Lane has stuck with me and when I'd see him around town we would reminisce about that very moment.
It has been several years since I have been back in the Elyria area. However, after hearing about Lane's passing only yesterday, I felt a certain obligation to tell you how Lane touched my heart that day in 1994. My memories of Lane were always of a selfess person. He would socialize and find something good in anyone he came into contact with. He would always asked about my father and make sure "The Hopper" was still up and running in his classroom. He even offered to fix "The Hopper" if it ever broke down!
Now, 14 years after the "Hallway Incident" with Lane, I am grown and have my own children. My wholehearted condolences go out to all of the friends and family members of Lane. Not only did he make the difference he sought after in joining the armed forces, but he also made a difference in the eyes of a 14 year old freshman.
My thoughts and prayers to all and Lane, you are a true Hero!
It seems as if time has stopped since the day we surrendered you over to the hands of the Lord. Memories of you weigh heavy on my heart; you're in my thoughts, your in my words, you're in my dreams. Somehow you have worked your way inside each and every day with me. I try to be thankful & I ask to be humbled; for you are in a much more wonderous place. Yet I find myself feeling selfish and self centered, which are traits I don't care much for nor do I care to even express, BUT I WANT YOU BACK. I want the sadness and greif to be relieved by your sweet comforting smile which has so many times before ensured me that everything's going to be alright.
Nothing feels right and the grasp I hold on you I feels as if you are drifting away yet I cannot let go. But now it is my turn to be courageous & strong and I must take a step back and smile for you as you have always smiled for me~ for you have finally found your way back home. The place we all long to be!
Each and every one of us is here with a greater purpose, a goal in which we must achieve~ you have lived, you have learned and you have achieved that goal with honor and dignigty and now it is time for me to let you go. I wish you peace & I wish you love~ I will never say good-bye I will just say til then.............the time in which we meet again. Thank you my friend for always giving me something to look forward to throughout our lives, even up to the end!
This is our purpose: to make a meaningful as possible this life that has been bestowed upon us; to live in such a way that we may be proud of ourselves; to act in such a way that some part of us lives on. -Oswald Spengler
HAVE COURAGE FOR the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake. -Victor Hugo
Let us be patient! These severe afflictions Not from the ground arise, But oftentimes celestial benedictions Assume this dark disguise. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Goodnight my dear friend.....until next time......until then...