Death was something Edward Mosely Jr., a respected veteran of the Marine Corps, was all too familiar with from his years of serving as a “casualty escort” at Dover Air Force Base.
Carrying the remains of fallen soldiers to their surviving family members, he was practiced in maintaining a tough face in some of the most heartbreaking situations.
But when his own wife died just six months after a sudden cancer diagnosis, his tough face shattered as he drowned his suicidal thoughts with alcohol and his life began to spin out of control.
For Mosley, the concept of retirement from the Marines meant coming home to a wife, Raquel, and three children.
He was firm, but loved his wife and kids more than anything else in this world.
Raquel, or “Roc” as she was known by friends and family, was a stable rock for Mosley. She was firm in her beliefs and had an energy of faithfulness and confidence. Her presence kept the family strong and united.
Mosley met Roc at a military base many years before they were married in 1997. The thirteen year gap between their first meeting and their marriage also meant each entered the union with a child, before having one child together.
Everything in Mosley’s life was finally in line, military style — until Roc was diagnosed with cancer of the appendix.
Then in 2011, only a few short months later, Roc passed away.
Mosley, the master of controlling his emotions around death, was left without his rock – and with three teens to train up and care for.
“I was the master of hiding my emotions with these other families,” Mosley said. “Why would I show it in my own?”
“I thought I could deal with it myself. I’m a Marine, I told myself, ‘You can do this.’”
He continued to attend church with the kids at Land of Promise in Spotsylvania County.
People would ask how he was doing, how the kids were doing, if they could do anything to help.
“I would never say she was dead. I would say she was in heaven,” Mosley said.
He did anything possible to maintain the non-negotiable facade he built in the Marines. It was how he survived all those years in possibly one of the most spine-chilling jobs of the military – and it would be how he’d survive now.
Or so he thought.
Mosley refused to admit his pain, but he could not hide the impact on his soul.
Soon his grief took over his life. His financial struggles began when his aching, storm-worn heart made him unable to function at work. He lost his job and eventually his home.
Mosley took to drinking to drown the pain he couldn’t overcome — and wouldn’t admit it was a real issue.
Two times he was pulled over for drinking and driving, with the second time landing him in a jail cell.
It was there that something stronger than his facade finally arrested his attention.
Between a rugged cross hanging in the cell and the other inmates woes being shared in this most vulnerable of situations, Mosley’s mind began reeling.
“I said, ‘Wait a minute, your children have lost their mother and grandmother, and you’re putting yourself into a situation, through depression and alcohol, that they could potentially lose you.’ That was the breaking point.”
Mosley found that this moment of admitting his pain opened a flood gate of emotions he had never fully processed.
The arms of God were ready and available for him… another piece of the puzzle he had slowly pushed away since Roc’s death.
In turning back to God and faith as the answer for his struggles, he began going to counseling.
He reported that the moment he actually verbalized the reality of his story — Roc died of cancer, and was no longer alive in the earthly sense — was like a heavy blackness being lifted away from him.
He could start to see again, like when bomb smoke lifts in the aftermath of an explosion at war.
Healing came and he began to put his life back together.
But God wasn’t done there.
Mosely stepped into his role as “Coach Mo” — mentoring kids on the football field.
He landed in this position as God gave him the revelation that many young African American men in particular struggle with speaking their emotions, or knowing how to navigate life properly.
A lot of it has to do with single-parent home scenarios, which even his own kids had to cope with.
And through that, Mosley’s first mentorship program was started over the course of time as faithful “Coach Mo.”
The students at Freedom Middle School of Spotsylvania are receiving foundations through training inspired by Coach Mo — on and off the field.
Cheryl Gallello, the new director of the mentorship program at Freedom Middle School, said, “It is evident that mentoring young men is his passion, because he was able to make a difference in ways that I couldn’t… Students looked forward to their weekly mentoring sessions and their teachers/staff members were able to see positive changes.”
The “Elite Gentleman,” as they are called in the mentorship program are encouraged specifically to care deeply about their CARs.
That is: their character, attitude, and reputation.
As long as Coach has anything to do with it, these young men are called to grow relationships with their authorities including teachers, attend weekly sessions, and adhere to the collared shirt and tie dress code. Learning how to set goals is a major point of the session, as these young men gain invaluable life skills.
Coach Mo isn’t the primary director there anymore, ever since he began another mission called Limitless Bounds.
The community program seeks to address the growing issue of fatherless homes. He sees now what an insane impact it has on children – victims of a story they didn’t choose, but responsible for the choices they make because of it.
Besides this, Mosley has become an inspirational speaker, calling himself “a broken man,” as is also the title of his book. The reflection on his own story and how faith in God restored him is the fuel that flies him forward into whatever God lays before him now.
He talks in the book about men’s need to learn to handle things “like a man.” It means giving oneself over to God — and there are dire consequences that so many men face when they don’t.
Now working as a strategic training advisor for the federal government, his busy schedule affords him the opportunity to see God work in amazing ways inside his family and through all those God crosses his path with.
Along the healing journey, he met and married a woman with two daughters. While he knew there was love from the start, he used his newly acquired skills as an STA for the government to take cautious, silent intake on how she fit with the most important people in his life.
Now he lives with his new wife, and their five children are growing with their parents in the grace and knowledge of our amazing God.
Take some time to praise God for Mosley’s redemption story and then consider also the ways God has woven your story in similar circumstances. Our God can do great things beyond what we can ask or imagine, if we will humbly submit our lives into His Hands.
For more information on Mosley’s project Limitless Bounds, feel free to contact [email protected]