Blake McKenzie "BuddahMan" Harris
March 30, 1979 - March 15, 2007

Full Name: Blake McKenzie "BuddahMan" Harris
Date of Birth: March 30, 1979
Date of Death: March 15, 2007
Country of Birth: United States
Place of Birth: Piedmont Hospital Atlanta, Ga.
Place of Death: the streets of Baghdad, Iraq
Memberships: * HQ, 2nd BN 504th PIR, 82nd Airborne, Ft. Bragg NC:
* 1st Armor Division, Hanau Germany;
* 1st Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas

Blake’s Spirit Is With Us 

When Blake died in Iraq it was around 11:00 a.m. Baghdad time on Thursday, March 15, 2007. Since Iraq is 8 hours ahead of us our time would have been around 3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Both Paul and I were awakened that night but we had no idea why. We made the comment when we got up that we both had had a restless night. We learned the awful truth around 4:00 that afternoon. Almost every night since, one of us or both of us would be awakened during the night between 3:00 or 3:30 a.m. We believe that Blake, still hanging on to his earthly humor, was trying to communicate with us. 

All day on Friday I could hardly breathe. My rib cage hurt so badly and I made that comment to Holli. She said “Mom, it’s just Blake. He is hugging you with his typical bear hug and he is holding you close to keep you up and going.  

Then on Saturday we were trying to get all of the paperwork done to put an obituary in several papers. I had asked Brandy to e-mail me a picture that she wanted to use. We had a 3:00 p.m. deadline to get the information e-mailed to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. At 2:45 I had not received the information so I called Brandy and she said “Mom, Blake is messing with me”. I said “what are you talking about?” She responded “This house is filled with his spirit. The phones won’t work, the appliances keep turning off and on and now I can’t get the computer to send the information you want”.  I stopped in my tracks and I said “O.K. Blake we know you are here, cool it with the pranks a minute until I get this information.” Sure enough, three minutes later the information came across to my e-mail.  

Monty and Holli went home on Sunday night the 18th and when Monty got up to go to the Academy on Monday, Holli stayed in bed. She said she heard Monty leave and lock the door and she dozed back off. In a few minutes she said she felt the mattress depress as if someone were sitting on it and she rolled over thinking that Monty had come back in and had sat down to kiss her goodbye. Monty wasn’t there. But, Blake was. She said she talked to him and told him she loved him and she would miss him.  

We went to Arlington on March 27th for the funeral. We had visitation at Murphy funeral home and then went back to Ft. Belvoir where we had rooms for three days. Paul and I went to bed and promptly went to sleep as we were both tired from the travel and the emotional evening we had just had. At 3:00 a.m. I was awakened when I felt someone sit on the side of the bed. I was lying on my left side with my back to the window. I rolled over and knew immediately that Blake was there. I cried as I told him how much I loved him and how I would miss him and his beautiful smile and for him not to worry about Brandy & Ty because we would help them in every way we possibly could. The indention in the mattress lifted and I lay there awake for a few minutes and prayed and then went back to sleep.  

Over the following month unopened cards and gift boxes were returned that had been sent to Blake for his birthday. Brandy got his personal belongings back. Since he was not a trinket collector there was not much that could be given out to Holli or Eric as mementoes of his for them to keep. But, in the box was a blanket that Blake had taken with him to both deployments to Iraq. Brandy asked Holli if she wanted the blanket. She said yes and when it arrived Holli wrapped it around her shoulders and she said she could feel him again with her. She slept with it that night wrapped around her and she had vivid dreams about him all night. They were not the type of dreams that she could remember but she said she saw him in action; running, yelling, talking many, many times during the night.  

During the night after the computer incidence Holli said she had the most vivid dream. She said she could feel him, almost smell him and they were walking hand in hand talking. He said he was happy and for her not to worry about him. She said they walked and talked for a long time and then he told her he had to leave. She said she started crying and begged him not to go but he said he had to and hugged her. Then he turned around and walked away over a hill.  

I don’t know if this means that we will not have any more time with his spirit here or if it is just a message to us that he is fine and that we should go on with our lives and not mourn over his death. I hope that we will continue to have time with him. None of us can ever think about him without breaking out into a big grin. We may cry for a while but then a sweet memory will cross our minds and the grin is always the ending emotion.  

Brandy went to Arlington on Memorial Day. She was alone as Ty said he didn’t want to go because he was sad and it would only make him cry.  She said she cried all the way from the car to his grave but when she got there she sat down on his grave and a very serene peace came over her.  As hyper as she is, she said she sat quietly on his grave for an hour and a half and talked to him. She said she felt as if his arms were wrapped around her. She wanted to lie down on top of the grave but she said she was so at peace that she knew she would go to sleep. She said her phone screen went totally white and then colors started dancing around on the screen. She said she felt that his energy was with her. She thought that when she got back to the car, her phone would go back to normal but it did not. She took it to Cingular and it was fried. She had to buy a new phone.  

On Wednesday, June 27th, Brandy called me and we talked about several things and then she told me that she had had dog houses built for Diesel and Gertrude and now that she has had new carpet put down she has relegated them to the back yard. She said she and Blake had talked about it before he left and Blake was not happy about making them become outside dogs after having been in all their lives. But, Brandy didn’t want them in the house any longer so she had them a nice place fixed. She said she left the house to go to the store and when she returned every cabinet in the kitchen and laundry room was standing wide open. There was nothing missing and no damage done anywhere. She said “I think Blake was trying to get my attention and show his displeasure at the way I have handled the dogs. He wants me to open the door and let them in or else he just wants me to know that he is here with me.

All of this to say we are not wierd people or necessarily believe in ghosts, but we do believe in angels and their ability to comfort us.  Blake is our angel and God called him home early because he needed someone to laugh with and infect others with his beautiful smile.  Blake died as he lived, believing strongly in faith, family and country.  He may not have "loved" the Army, but he was doing what he believed to be his calling.  One of the last conversations I had with him just prior to his last deployment was that of possible death,  this being his 3rd deployment to the Middle East had me concerned.  His sagely words of wisdom still live within me today as a statement of faith, his and mine....."Dad, it doesn't matter whether you are walking the streets of Baghdad, Jonesboro or where ever, when God calls you home, you go.  I can't worry about when that will happen and I can't let my guys worry about either.  We just have to do our job everyday and not worry." 

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