Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Clarifying

Alright.  I got a comment this morning regarding my blog last night.  Now.  I know that other people are hurting because of Josh's death.  I understand that.  He had a lot of friends and he knew so many people that were obviously affected by it.  However, a large majority of these people are still living life.  My life has stopped (and I'm only addressing myself right now, I know that his parents, brothers, etc. are obviously greatly affected by this). 

On that day my whole entire life was changed.  We had a life planned.  Not to mention how close we were. For five years we spoke almost daily unless the Marine Corps had some sweet field op planned or we were in the middle of a deployment.  When he left home three years ago, I was the one left behind waiting for him.  Everyone else goes on with life, but mine was the one put on hold.  I would wait weeks/months for a few days with him.  Anytime he went away people drifted away.  They didn't keep in touch while he was in North Carolina or deployed. 

I was the one clinging to my phone, carrying it 24/7.  Anyone who knows me knew that I wouldn't risk missing a phone call.  The hours of sleep I lost hoping he would call or get online.  The time I spent shopping for care packages and making sure he had the things he loved while he was away.  It was me.

For the past 3 years I have been waiting for him so we could start a life.  Now I have to plan a new life.  A different one from the one I've dreamed of the past 5 years.  One that doesn't have him in it forever.  I have to completely change everything.  Start over from square 1.  Who else has to do that? 

You can't understand this pain unless you're going through it.  I lost my future.  I don't understand how other people feel about it.  What I do know is how I feel and I know that no one else understands that except other widows.  It's the hardest thing I have ever done and I hope it's the last.  Majority of the people are moving on with their lives and it doesn't affect them everyday.  It affects mine every minute of every day.  I wake up every single morning and it's the first thing I'm reminded of.  I lay there thinking how it's another day and another fight.  I guarantee very few people do that.  I'm not downing anyone either.  It's a part of life.  Tragedies happen and you move on.  It's going to take me a long time to move on and it will never go away. 

Moral of the story- I know people are hurting, but no one understands how I feel.

On the Down

Yup.  That didn't take long at all now did it?

I knew it was bound to happen.  Homecoming is soooo soon, 5 years on Saturday, another 2 is around the corner, andddddddddddddddd everyone around me is getting engaged. 2011 is the year I've been waiting for.  Instead- no homecoming, no ring, no happily ever after. 

My life is still in shambles and I still don't feel like I have started putting it back together.  I just want to be happy.  To be loved again.  That void and pain is so indescribable and unless you're going through it, you don't have an ounce of what it feels like.  To hurt so much and long for someone that you can't have.  To be scared, confused, lost, alone. To lose friends and feel abandoned by people who promised to be there.  To feel for someone else, but want the past.  To cry one minute and smile the next.  To laugh and to be angry all in the same moment.  To get crazy upset with people and their stupid comments.  To hurt for every other person you hear of that loses their life.  To make best friends with other widows just because you understand each other like sisters.  To lose faith and trust in the world yet pray for a happy life and hold out hope that things will get better.  It is such a roller coaster and impossible to understand.

I have to change my whole life.  I was thinking about everything a lot today.  After care package shopping, me and Erica took a ridiculously long way home.  I drove on the roads that we would go on to get to your house.  We talked about all of the crazy fun stuff we did in high school.  I thought about the times we would be driving and all the stuff that happened on our trips back and forth between each others houses.  The laughs, the tears, the love.  I drove past the house I told you I always wanted.  I listened to the songs that reminded me of you.  The late nights I would come get you after we had a stupid fight (that I probably started) to crash at 3 am.  Sheetz runs at ridiculous hours.  You teaching me how to play beer pong and getting ticked off when I beat you (and the smile on your face when we were a team and beat everyone else).  The first party we had after my 16th birthday.  Movie nights. Naps. Laying on the couch all day being complete bums.  Convincing me to go on that darn bike that I despised (not gonna lie, I liked it..  even though I was scared, I'm glad you convinced me to go). Our adventure to Jvegas.  My gummy game (=]).  Riding.  Everything.

You showed me a side of myself that I didn't know.  You pushed me every second of every day to be the best that I could be.  You showed me to not be afraid.  You showed me how strong that I am.

I lived because of you, but I wish so badly I could have you back.  It ended too soon.  This isn't how it was supposed to be and it's not fair.  I don't want to start over.  It's not fair that I don't have a choice.  I didn't choose this life.  MY whole world and future came crashing down that day.  I think some people don't quite understand that besides your family and close friends because it affects them too.   That's maybe 10 people.  The rest have no idea. 

My heart hurts.  I just want you to fix it.  To make it all better like you always did.  I know if you were here you would hold me and let me cry, but tell me it's going to be okay and push through it.  You were always in my corner and I know that somehow, someway, you'll still get me through.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Viewing from Another Persons Eyes

I stumbled across this tonight.  It's a blog written by a CW friend and it gave me a look on that day from another persons eyes.  I wanted to share it with all of you and you can find the post here: A Day in the Life

My daddy always tells me, "I hope you have a GOD day sweetheart." At first I wondered, a God day? What can he mean by that. That is usually about the time that I get smacked in the face with one of God's ways of telling me. I am here Rebecca, just look.


The first time he said this to me I walked outside into the most beautiful day. I passed a family playing catch in the park, and I passed a father leaning down to catch his running child in his arms with a huge hug.


This past week I had my GOD day. Really I think it was my biggest God day to date. It wasn't a normal circumstance, no. However, in the span of just a few hours I was shown just how real, honest, simple, humbling, awe inspiring, and heartbreaking the hands of God can be in a persons life.


This past week I traveled to Pennsylvania in support of a fellow Marine Corps S/O. To me, it just didn't seem right that she go through that without knowing she had people behind her that understood that part of her life so I along with three others traveled the distance to stand behind our "sister" while she welcomed home her love. It wasn't a homecoming any military wife, girlfriend, fiance, or family member dreams of, in fact it was our worst nightmares come to life.


On September 2nd, this American Hero fell in combat while in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. I don't know a single person surrounding the situation that didn't shed an abundance of tears for this young life that was ended too soon. He died a hero and was brought home in a manner befitting one.


While driving through the gorgeous hills and mountains of Pennsylvania I was gripped by this overwhelming sense of peace and calm. It was beautiful. Driving through this town on our way to the funeral home, I was again struck by just how beautiful this was. This amazing young man was loved and supported by all and therefore he was also mourned and celebrated by all. I didn't pass a street light or store front that wasn't decked out in yellow ribbons, American flags, or messages welcoming this fallen hero home. As we drove through the streets making our way closer to the funeral home, tears started to fall from my eyes. I had never seen something so heart wrenching before. As a Marine Wife yeah I have known more than one fallen hero but never like this.


As we entered the funeral home, we passed through the ranks of the Patriot Guard. They stood there so tall and so proud with their eyes focused straight ahead holding their flags in their hands. No one moved, and no one spoke. They just stood there blanketed in silence out of respect for the man inside who unknowingly touched so many lives.


Passing through the rooms of the home, we passed a multitude of people who had already congregated to pay their respects. Turning into the main room what I saw made my breath lodge in my throat and turned my stomach so violently that I had to walk straight back out before I broke down and cried. A few minutes later I gathered my self and walked back into the room. What I saw next would change my definition of love, grace, strength, support, and poise.


Standing beside the casket gazing lovingly down at her hero was the long time girlfriend of this fallen Marine. There weren't any words to describe the look of joy and pride in her eyes to finally have him home, even though it wasn't in the way she had prayed for when he left mere weeks ago. As I walked forward and wrapped my arms around her, I couldn't find the words to tell her how sorry I was. No matter how long or hard I tried to find them, they just weren't there. In the end all I could come up with was "I'm so sorry. We can't hurt for you even though we would give anything to do so, but we will stand behind you and hurt with you. We will hold you up if you find you don't have the strength to stand on your own."


Afterward, we took our places in the back of the parlor to sit silently until the time came and we were needed. Over the span of the next 8 and a half hours, we watched silently as person after person filed in and out of the room paying their respects to this man who had lain down his life for his country. It was apparent how loved and respected he was.


His brothers stood proud and tall by his side, their eyes shining with pride and love for him. They would adjust their ties and uniforms, straighten their ribbons, check their brother, and then resume their places by his side. It was impossible to miss, their pride, love, and hurt over their brother shown from every move they made. As I sat there taking in the room and looking as the lives he touched, I ended up being the one taught a lesson. A brother's love, much like a mother's, knows no bounds and it is something I will carry in my heart always. Through their grief and pain, they somehow found a way to think of us as we filed out for dinner. It was a pleasure and an honor to meet them both.


I sat in the back, watching as his girlfriend would turn ever so often and gaze down at him and smile. A secret smile that only they would know. It was breath taking. That these two amazing people loved each other was felt keenly by every person in the room. Every time she would look down at him and her back would turn on everyone else, my breath would catch at this beautiful girl who even though her heart was breaking smiled and stood tall beside her love. It was palpable and so so humbling to see. She stood there beside him for over eight hours that day with one hand on his casket never turning fully away from him once. Her hand would travel to his dog tag that hung around her neck ever so often.


No matter the circumstance that brought them to that place, they were truly happy that he was home. It was a collective sigh of relief. Through the intervening hours, I heard story after story after story about this man and the lives he inadvertently touched.


Most people live entire life times wondering if they ever made a difference, but the fact that this man not only touched lives, but left lasting fingerprints was a true mark of a hero.


So many things I saw that day will stay with me forever and I am glad. For me this Marine and his beautiful girlfriend symbolized the type of love and devotion that people spend their lives looking for. They worked so hard for each other and together and to even be in the presence of that for a single second was humbling and heart warming.


On September 10th, a full eight days since his life had been taken, this fallen Marine was laid to rest amidst the people that he loved and that loved him on a beautiful day. How very fitting. To know that his life was taken so soon breaks my heart. But to know how he lived and how big of a difference he made.. .Truly humbling.


For a few hours I stood on the outskirts of and in the presence of a great love and a hero who left lasting finger prints on this world.


If that isn't a GOD day I don't know what is. As a parting I leave you with the words to a song.


"I may not go down in history, I just want someone to remember me. I'll probably never dream a dream and watch it turn to gold. I know I'll never lose my life to save another soul. But if I will love then I will find that I have touched another life and that's something. Something worth leaving behind."


He left behind a legacy that will burn bright for years to come in the love he felt for his girlfriend and his family.


He made a difference, touched lives, saved lives, and left his mark on the world.


I only pray that one day I can say the same.


B

Live Our Dream

As I continue on this crazy roller coaster.. I'm on the up for now.

I had a good day. I've been "okay." I'm taking it in while I can because I know they don't last long. I've been thinking a lot lately now that my life isn't consumed with school. It has also given my lots and lots of time to sleep. I love sleeping- it's my escape for a while. You can't hurt in your sleep and I always hope that you'll pop into my dreams. I miss you.

Last night when I was on Facebook I was talking to a friend about this song. I didn't quite remember it at first, but when I did, it practically smacked me in the face. I remember you were in Iraq and in an email you asked me if I heard the song Live Our Dream. You told me it was like a response to Just a Dream and it was a Marine that sings it. I went and found it again. I find a new level of comfort in it and it's crazy to me that you of all people pointed it out to me. Did I want these songs to become a reality? Of course not. It usually makes me cry, but it didn't today. It's like I missed the memo before, but I get it now. I love you.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

What's next?

You made my life, Holly. But I'm just one chapter in yours. There will be more. I promise. So here it comes, the big one. Don't be afraid to fall in love again. Watch out for that signal, when life as you know it ends.

Someone reminded me of this quote today.  Is it true?  Yes.  But where do you go in life after something like this happens?  September 2nd, 7:42 am, my whole life fell apart.  We had a plan and it was working out perfectly.  Now what?  How in the world do you ever move on from something like this?  I often wonder if I'm going to have to settle in life.  Am I going to get married one day and think, "this isn't how it was supposed to be."  I'm obviously going to live with this forever.

I constantly question why God put you in my life just to rip you away.  Why would he do that?  I'm sure there is some "bigger" picture, but I'm not seeing it.  Maybe he needed you, but I swear I needed you more.  I remember telling you the last time we talked how I wasn't strong.  Is this to prove something?  I don't understand.  Actually, I probably never will.  I will continue to question it.  Why me?  Why do I have to start over?  What do I do?

I read a blog today that really struck me.  Karie over at Wife of a Wounded Marine summed up this grieving thing pretty well in Grief=Bi Polar:

"You want all of these things that don't go together. Together none of it makes sense. You miss someone so much, and you want them back so bad, yet, you are falling for someone else. You have all these dreams that you are going for and that you want so bad, except if you could go back to the past and give this all up, you would."

Anytime I start to feel a little happy, I take a step back.  I remember you and what we were supposed to have.  It makes me feel like life with someone else won't be fair because I will always be longing to have you back.  Not to mention, I feel like I'm living my life in fear.  God took you away- what's to stop him from taking more?  I'm afraid to be happy and let control be with the higher power again.  I don't want to hurt anymore.  It's a constant pain dealing with this. 

How do you feel happy again?  How do you trust again?  Life has suddenly become a very scary thing for me.  I don't know where to go or what to do and I'm afraid to just let go and live it.  I know I should live life for you, but it's so hard without you.  I have to start over and change all of my plans.  I just wish I could have you back for 10 minutes so I knew what to do.  What you would want me to do.   I wish more than anything that  I had the answer to that question.  We had that conversation 1 time and I blocked it out because I couldn't believe it was discussed.  Now I wish I remembered, but it's all just a blur.  I don't want to disappoint you.  I just want to feel happy again.

P.S. for old times sake- why weren't you under my Christmas tree? ;)
I can't believe that was 5 years ago.. Doesn't seem like it though.  Oh and I survived yesterday.  I managed to sleep most of the day.  I ate Christmas dinner in my sweats, hoodie, and hair from the night before.  I spent some time with your family too.  I didn't act like it was Christmas and even though it was hard, I made it.  Just another bump in a very long road..

Friday, December 24, 2010

Modern Day Scrooge

For good reason that is.  This is awful.  I knew the holidays were going to be hard, but it's so much worse.  I keep thinking if you were still deployed you would be calling home (a little disappointed that you weren't here) and excited that you would be home soon.  Instead- no call home, no "knowing" you'll be home soon, no being thankful that we have each other.  Nothing.  I remembered when I thought you being deployed over the holidays was hard. HA! I had no idea how much worse it could really be.

I went to my first steeler game without you.  It wasn't as fun and definitely less beer :)
I glanced up to the big screen on a commerical break.  They were showing this woman in her house, all dressed up, decorated for Christmas, singing Christmas carols.  Pointless, or so it seemed.  Guess what?  A man in uniform comes walking in and hugs her. F.M.L.  That would happen to me.

Oh, and on the way home I got pulled over.  Here's how this conversation went;

Cop:  Hi mam, everything is audio and video recorded tonight.  I need your license, registration, and proof of insurance. (Then he says what I did)
Me: Okay, sorry, one second
Cop: Where are you coming from?
Me: The Steeler game
Cop: Oh, yeah?  What was the score?
Me: 27-3 (as I hand him my stuff)
Cop: Well then, I'll just give you a warning.

Score.  You would've been proud.  Beats the town clown that pulled me over before and I called you crying.  Good stuff babe.

So today I went to Giant Eagle getting a few last minute things.  I kept running into this same guy throughout the store.  Finally at the register he was behind me again and we started talking.  I told him about you.  Turns out he is a Marine Veteran that served in Vietnam.  He was telling me how sorry he was and about the war memorial in D.C.  I was intrigued by this man and its funny that I ran into him so many times.  As I walked away he told me sorry again and to have a Merry Christmas.

I got in my car and cried the whole way home.  I don't want to have a Merry Christmas.  You know me and that I am the Christmas guru.  I put up my tree super early, I bake tons and tons of cookies, I have my Christmas shopping down to a science, and I wrap everybody and their brothers gifts.

This year I didn't decorate.  I didn't bake a single thing,  I didn't go Christmas shopping until the last minute (and I cried and was so mean the entire time).  It's 1 pm on Christmas eve, and I haven't wrapped a single gift. 

Oh and ironically enough I turned on A League of Their Own, and it's the part where the woman gets notified that her husband died.  Crying all over again.  It's awful.  Soooo out of character for me, but I don't even care.  I just want to sleep it away.  No matter where I go or what I do, I don't stop thinking about you or missing you.  My heart breaks a little more each day and as I pass through another hurdle on this long journey.  I just want you back in my life.  I don't want to do this without you anymore. 

In any case, I hope you're watching close by and have a good Christmas in the clouds.  Stay close.

Merry Christmas, love <3

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The strength in me..

.. is you.

That's what I've come to realize lately.  That's how you live on in me, by getting me through each day.  I know that I wouldn't have been able to do the things I've done without you and that's how I know you're still here. 

I think you would be pretty proud of me right now.  For the first time in 3.5 months, I had a pretty good day yesterday.  Maybe a little happy?  I feel like I've lost the meaning of that word, but it was still a good day.  So far I have gotten A's in 3/6 classes.  I just might pull off a 4.0 for the semester.  How bout that?  I was doomed from the first week of class and still managed to do okay.

Homecoming is getting close.  A whole lot of bittersweet.  I am excited to see your friends and be close to them.  At the same time, its the harsh realization that you aren't stepping off of those buses with them.  I need to go.  I need to go and spend time with the people that you were the closest with.  It helps me to be with them and maybe it'll be like that for them too.  For a while I struggled with it because I didn't think I could do it.  The more I think about it, the more I realize you would want me to go.  You'll be there too giving me the strength to get through it.

The care package drive, this semester, homecoming, all of it.  I couldn't have/can't do any of it without you.  I find the comfort in that because you've been pushing me all along and I didn't even realize it.  As time goes on I realize that you continue to give me things in life even though you aren't physically here.  Your love and strength is going to get me through this life.  I'm not totally alone.  You left me with a lot of people watching out for me and to help me along when I need it.  I'm so thankful for that.

I love your friends.  Every single one of them.  I regret not getting to know them better before, but now I am getting the chance to and I realize more and more each day how great they are.  They know you and how much you love me.  Because of that, they will do anything for me.  If it wasn't for some of them I wouldn't have gotten this far.   It's all because of you.  Being closer to them makes me feel closer to you.  They remind me of you and it's a comfort to have that.  It really is a family and I wish more people knew how amazing it is.

It's going to be a long road, but I'm going to make it and you're going to be proud.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gettin kicked while you're already down

I am so sick of this.  No matter what- things keep getting worse.  I am tired of being miserable all the time.  I am tired of everyday being such a struggle.  I just want my life back; to be "normal" again.  It feels like everyone else in this world is happy but me.

For the first time in my life I don't give a crap about Christmas.  You know me, the OCD planner, I plan my Christmas shopping, bake up to my eyeballs, decorate my pink tree, and wrap just about everyone's gifts.  This year I don't care to do anything.  I started Christmas shopping and I just didn't want to.  I went into AE to find stuff for my brother and as I stood there I got tears in my eyes.  I've spent the last five years doing that for you.  If I would have known last year was our last Christmas I would have done things differently. 

I just want to be happy.  Just for a day.  I think I forgot what that feels like.  My heart is broken in so many places.  It can't be fixed.  It will never be totally be fixed.  I don't understand why I have to live like this.  How is it fair that I have to live in this hell every single day?  I'm tired of everyone telling me how long it's going to take for this to get better.  They have no idea how hard it is to just get through a day.  I shouldn't have to do this everyday.  I'm not sure why God thought that I could handle anymore in my life because  I just can't. 

The word I hate more than anything- time.

Living my own personal nightmare on a daily basis.  It's just freakin awesome.  I want out.  I don't want to do it anymore.  I'm going to waste how much more of my life because it's going to take "time."  I shouldn't have to do this.  I shouldn't have to wait for my life to get better. 

Over it. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Disgusted

Thanks to Associated Press writer/photographer I will forever have it plastered in my head what your last moments were like.  Brennan Linsley, I sure hope you're proud of yourself.  I'm glad you send "courtesy" letters to warn the family and tell them there was nothing they could do about it.  Did you ever stop to think what this would do?  Just so you know I've gotten no sleep and been ridiculously sick ALL day.  Thanks, I appreciate it.

You want reality?  You want America to know?  I'll tell you.  Walk in my shoes for one day and see how you like it.  Americans are aware of what is going on over there.  Many families are suffering this same pain every single day.  They never forget.  From the time you open your eyes until the time you close them again- you remember.  The constant pain and hurt of losing someone you love in a war.  Missing them.  Longing to have them back.  Crying, screaming, being angry.  All of it.  Do you have any idea what that's like?

Thank you for contributing to that hurt.  Now I will have that picture and that text in my mind forever.  I found out what his final moments were like with the rest of America.  I wasn't ready for that and I sure as hell didn't want to hear it from you.

Josh didn't die for someone to make a spectacle out of him or for you to make America "aware."  In all reality- most people still do not care.  It's his loved ones that you hurt.  The ones suffering through this everyday.  The ones struggling to get out of bed in the morning and make it through the day.  He was the hero.  For his last moments to be plastered all through the news in this country is just disturbing to me.  What kind of man sits there watching someone die and takes pictures?  It's sick. 

I knew the media had some serious downfalls since all of this happened, but this went thousands of yards past the line.  It is unreal to me.  It's insensitive and hurtful.  It has only been three months- 90 days.  No person deserve to see the person they love in those conditions.

Josh and LCpl Carver are heroes and they should never have been remembered in that manner.  They didn't deserve that.  The families didn't deserve that.

Next time you want reality- follow me for a while.  I'll show you what it's like to make a sacrifice for this country.   You make think you know, but you have no idea.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

3 months

I'm not really sure why, but this one has hit hard.  Last night when I finally realized what it was I lost it.  Sobbing to the point where I couldn't breathe and thought my head was going to explode.  It was awful.  I don't know why it got so bad but it felt like I got hit by a million pounds of bricks.

Not to mention it's another Thursday.  Nothing has gone right today and I just want to go back to bed.  I hate 2's and I hate Thursdays.   This isn't getting any easier.  I feel a little stronger as the days pass, but it's not any easier.  I miss you more each day and it's going to be an eternity before I see you again.

A whole 90 days since this happened and it still feels like it was last week.  I just think how close we would be to finishing this deployment.  With the holidays it would have flown by.  I really don't even care for Christmas this year.  I don't want anything, nor do I really want to give.  I'd rather be a scrooge and lay in bed all day.  Honestly, I might do that.  I don't want to be around people or for them to force me to put on a smile.  I just don't want to.

I miss you more and more each day.  I constantly question why this had to happen to us.  We were so happy and everything was falling into place.  I wouldn't want anyone to live this life, but out of alllllllllllll those guys, why did it have to be you?  I am going to ask myself that question for the rest of my life.

Not to mention it just dawned on me like 2 days ago that I'm technically "single."  I hate that.  It makes me sick to my stomach.  I'm not sure why, but it didn't register before.  After five years, I don't know how to be single.  I don't want to be single.  I don't want to be with someone else.  I want you and I can't have you.  I hate feeling like I'm going to have to settle in my life.  Feeling like I'm just going to do what I need to do to get by.  It's not fair.

I have such a longing to be happy.  I want someone to be there.  Someone to just give me a hug and say it is going to be okay.  I can't though because it's not you.  Not to mention if there ever is someone else I'm sure I'll be criticized to the moon and back.  I'm just so sick and tired of being miserable all the time.  I don't know how people can live this life forever, not to mention doing it alone.

I'm a strong believer in the fact that you will guide me in the right direction.  If I could, I would fast forward my life a few years.  Maybe I'll be happier, maybe I'll hurt a little less.  No matter where I go in life or what I do- I'll never stop loving you.  A day will never go by that I won't miss you.  I'll always wonder what could have been.  I'll always think about you and you'll live in my heart and memories forever.  It's not how I pictured our forever, but it will have to do.

I haven't told you lately, but I'm still so proud of you.  The CACO is bringing your bronze star next week.  It's bittersweet.  I'm so glad you're being recognized for what you did and that it truly matters.  At the same time, it's another stop by the reality train.  I'll always be proud of you- who you were and what you did.  It really is amazing and not many people can say that.

While you're at it- keep watching over Jenna.  Lee needs you right now.

I miss you more than you'll ever know.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday One

It was terrible.  I knew it wouldn't be "normal," but it was harder than I thought it would be.  I had no desire to talk to anyone or anything that whole day.  Even the days prior to are hard.  I did a lot of crying and sleeping.  LOTS of retail therapy.  I know, you were probably throwing a fit the entire time but it made me feel better.

The thing is everyone wants to try to make it better.  Insisting you be around a ton of people and forcing a smile on your face.  I deal with it better when I'm alone.  All that ever happens when people poke at me is I get angry/upset and it makes the whole situation worse.  Not to mention it was thanksgiving.  What am I thankful for?  I know that I have things that I should have been thankful for, but I really didn't want to be.  Why should I?  It's almost like I'm expected to be thankful for a lot of things while my whole life is still a complete mess. I haven't picked up all my pieces and put them back together. 

Last Thanksgiving you were here with me.  I was so excited that week because I hate staying alone and I got you to myself for the most part.  I was thankful then for you and the direction my life was headed.  We fought that same weekend.  I wish now that we wouldn't have.  99% of the time I was the one instigating it, but I couldn't help it.  Sometimes I just wanted to fight with you and we never stayed mad at each other.   It was always something stupid and lasted just a few hours.  At the end of the day we still loved each other regardless.

It was hard.  Everyday is hard.   I don't even want to think about Christmas right now.  My favorite holiday of the whole year and I just want to skip over it.  One thing is for sure- I need to go away at one point or another over break.  I can't stay here anymore.  Being home with nothing but an urn and memories just kills me.  Last night I'm not real sure what happened, but it set me off into a long two hours of tears.  I should be happy right now.  We'd be 4.5 months done with this deployment, and with the holidays the last 2ish months would have flown by.  Everyone else is excited, who isn't they are 65% done, but not me.  I'm just a whole lifetime away from seeing you again. 

If there has been one good thing the past few days, it's getting messages from the guys still in Afghanistan.  They are starting to get their boxes and I've gotten a couple thank yous.  It makes me happy, like I'm still doing something that matters.  I've lost a sense of that since you've been gone and it helps to feel that at least for a little while.  I hoped they would appreciate it and it's nice knowing that they really do.   I also adopted a hero this past week.  I got mine in an email and it's a 1st Sergeant from 3/5.  I figure I'll get more boxes out to your friends as well as this new guy.  It's important to me to support them.  Not to mention it keeps me overly busy and I missed doing it.  It's crazy how you find a whole new appreciation and importance for things that you previously took for granted.

On to the next holiday without you.  Another first that I don't want to do and more days without you here.  There should be an easy button for this.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Parris Island

I went there today.  It was the first time since I was there with you.  A lot has changed there in the past three years and being there was a lot harder than I expected.

It brought back the memories of waiting for you on family day.  I was so nervous and anxious I just burst into tears when I found you.  Walking all over the place on that base, going in those nasty barracks with your overly intimidating drill instructors.  Watching the recruits practice for graduation I remembered sitting in those bleachers watching you and being ready to get you home as soon as it was over. 

As Barb and I drove around looking at everything I started to think.  I know, what else is new?

For the past four years I have done nothing but countdown until July 1, 2011- EAS date.  I so badly wanted the Marine Corps out of my life and to never look back.  Sick of the crap and just wanted to live freely without them.

Well.  That took a complete 180.

I realized a lot of things after your passing.  For one it's the family that Marines truly are.  As most people from home drifted quickly away- it was the Marine family that stuck around.  The ones who check on me, would do anything for me, and get me through the day.   I could call them at 2 am saying I needed them and I doubt they would hesitate to get on a plane headed for Pennsylvania.  Even those keeping in touch from trashcanistan.  They have families and friends to keep in touch with, but they still call and send messages to check on me promising they will visit as soon as they get home.  You don't find that often.  It's the bond you had with all of these guys.  You all took care of each other and those important people in your life.  They take care of me because of what I meant to you. 

I was too busy trying to ditch the MC that I didn't take the time to realize what it gave me.  I have met some of the most amazing people since you joined.  There is such a difference between civilians and Marines.   A sense of brotherhood, honor, and a commitment to each other.  The value of life and what is really important and living every second like it's your last.  As time goes on this becomes more and more obvious to me.  I actually love this lifestyle and the people that come along with it.

I would give anything to have that life back.  I miss it already.  I NEVER in a million years thought I would say that.  Never.

I am so grateful for the things I have learned and gained the past three years.  If you wouldn't have joined, I would have never met some of the most important people in my life.  I never knew how amazing these people were and I wish I would have taken the time to notice it sooner.  I should have just picked up and moved closer to you when I had the chance.  I think that was the only problem- the constant distance.  If I just could have been closer to you and the situation I would have understood it better.  I wish so badly now I would have done that when I had the chance.  However, I am glad that I finally realize it and how lucky I am. 

I am so proud of you and what you have done.  You were one of the few people in this country that stepped up and chose to become a Marine.  I could never do that and I will always look up to and respect you for it.  I know you loved your job and you were only giving it up for me.

If there is one thing I regret, that's it.  Being so focused on making you walk away from what you loved.  At the time I was too blindsided to realize all of the things it was giving us in return.  This is something that not many people get to experience in life and I am forever thankful that you gave me this life.

For a while I remember thinking you just left me here- with nothing.

That's not true.  You left me here with a family filled with the most amazing people I know and I could never thank you enough for that.  You weren't worried because you  knew I was going to be well taken care of for the rest of my life; you made sure of that.

Just another reminder of how much you loved me <3

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reality Train

Hit awfully hard last night.

I was at work and decided to check my facebook since I was bored.  My news feed had countless statuses up and they were all about one thing - flight windows for homecoming.

Holy knife in the stomach.

You aren't coming home.  It was like another hit and let me tell you it was a big one.  I was around people so all I could do was go into the bathroom and cry.  I had my mind set that I was going to homecoming, but after that I'm not so sure.  I'm pretty sure that was the biggest hit I've taken after the 72 hours that I don't want to remember.

I'm not sure if part of me holds on to the fact that maybe its not real or I just don't want to believe it, I'm not real sure.  I just want to be happy like everyone else and I can't.   Out of the hundreds of guys that deployed, only a handful aren't coming back.  You are one of them.  What kind of crap luck is that?

Not to mention the looming holidays.  I'm not sure how I feel about them either right now.  Regardless you wouldn't have been here, but to not have you at all makes it so much worse.  I find myself with such a longing to be happy these days.  Even if it was just for a little while.

I know this isn't going to get better over night.  However, how much can one person really take?  It's too much.  A lot of times I feel like I just can't do it anymore.  It drains you beyond belief- physically and emotionally.

I'm exhausted.  Tired of living this life.  Continually taking one hit after another.  Why is happiness so much to ask?  Even if I am happy again someday, it won't be the same and it most certainly won't make it any better.  It's not going to change the fact that I lost you.  It's like putting a band-aid over an open wound. 

Does it ever start to get better?  It's been 11 weeks to the day and it feels like an eternity.  I mean, the weeks seem to go by fairly fast, but then I look back on it and it feels like forever.  I just want to be okay.  Just for a few hours. 

I'm not patient- we both know that.  Really though, how long do they expect a person to live like this?  I have so much respect and admiration for the people who walk in these shoes with such grace and dignity.  It takes more strength and courage than most people could ever imagine. 

I will say that I am proud of myself.  Usually I don't do that but these circumstances are different.  I should get an award for getting out of bed in the morning because I have no desire to.  I would much rather stay in there away from the world and sleeping my life away.  That's the one good thing about sleep- you don't hurt when you're asleep.

Moral of today's story-
I got hit by the reality train yet again and homecoming is officially back up in the air.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Care Package Drive

Was amazing.

I'm not even sure if amazing does it justice.  In a little over 3 weeks I was able to collect thousands of dollars and countless donations to be sent over to your friends.  It really is amazing what people can pull together for.

Friday was like a marathon day.  I woke up at 11 and didn't stop after that.  I had two classes that afternoon.  Then me and Kourtney..

  • Picked up t-shirts
  • Picked up donations in the collection boxes
  • Went to the bank
  • Went to Staples to get paper
  • Football Game
  • Dinner
  • Shopping excursion at Wally
  • T-shirt organizing
  • Letter printing
  • Signs
  • Bed 5 am
  • Up 7 am
  • Loaded trucks until 8
  • Assembly until 3
  • 2.5 hour nap
  • Bank
  • Shipping t-shirts
  • Bed Midnight
  • Up 7 am
  • Post office 8 to 1130
  • Nap
  • Work til 10
Needless to say I am exhausted.  At the same time, I don't even care.  I'm so happy with what was accomplished this weekend.  As of this morning 265 boxes have a one way ticket to trashcanistan.

Loaded up at 815 am!



First 150 boxes ready to be filled



My side kick who I would've been lost without








830 am Post Office!  It's good to have connections :)


First half of the boxes:


Longest postage receipts ever:

 I'm so happy with what was accomplished in the last 72 hours.  I hope these boxes find the guys well so they know they are appreciated.  I won't forget any of them and I'm going to make damn sure no one forgets you either.

As happy as I am with this, it still makes me sad.  I wish you could be here to see all of this.  I just want you to be proud of me.  I can only hope you're looking down with a smile saying that's my girl.

I miss you more than you know..

Oh and for good measure.. here's the all nighter pictures:







Friday, November 12, 2010

Veterans Day

This was probably the most powerful one I have ever had.  The speech turned out amazing and I couldn't be happier.  I was so nervous that I was going to screw it up and I felt like it was my one shot.  I got such an overwhelming response though and it was amazing.



After giving my speech I returned to my seat and sat down.  As I turned around I noticed every single person in that auditorium stood up and clapped.  In that moment, I knew I did it.  You were there and it was perfect.  As I sat in my chair, tears in my eyes watching all of these people my heart swelled with that pride again.  I am so incredibly proud of you.  At the same time, I'm left completely heartbroken and it was another day without you.

A state senator was set to speak after me.  He walked over to my chair on stage, grabbed my hand, and told me how much of a brave and amazing young woman I was and he didn't know how he was going to follow that.  In that moment, I finally felt like people truly understand.  That I accomplished what I set out to do- I made people understand.  They got to know you, know us, and know what you gave up for this country.

As the assembly continued on it came time for the folding of the flag.  In that moment, the feelings I felt during the last moments of your funeral came flooding back.  I started getting tears in my eyes.  Here I was again receiving another folded up flag, listening to the playing of taps and amazing grace.  It came rushing back faster than I could even try to stop it.  Watching that casket close, hearing taps outside, the 21 gun salute, Chas kneeling down in front of me handing over that flag.



Why me?  Why does this have to be me?

After the ceremony, I received more hugs and condolences from other representatives.  They came up to me with tears in their eyes, giving me hugs, shaking my hand, and telling me how amazing my speech was.  I got approached by our old teachers telling me it was the best guest speaker they had ever heard.  Veterans and people of the community offering condolences.

To me- it was just reality.  There was nothing that was spectacular or different about my speech.  It was simply the harsh reality of my life.

Oh, and on a semi-funny note.  A recruiter definitely tried to pick me up yesterday.  His line? "Hey, nice dog tags."  Really dude?  A girl wearing dog tags is like a universal sign that she is taken.  Him and the Sgt above him (who I met before and we had a longggggg chat about Seaburn, your little weasel recruiter, but that's not important right now) made up for it by taking our picture by the marquee.  The Sgt also said "You ladies have the hardest job in the Marine Corps."  It's nice to know people recognize that.



I think I made you proud babe.  I tried and I was proud of myself for getting up in front of all of those people.  It is so important to me that people know our story.  That they know who you were and the sacrifice that you made.  

I'm not gonna lie though- I'm always going to have that want in my heart to be selfish and keep you here with me..

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday

I don't know what it is with that freaking day of the week.  Ever since Thursday, September 2nd, it's my bad day of the week.  Really I can get through pretty well until Thursday. 

I don't know if I'm at the point now where I project it to be a bad day or what.  It's been 9 weeks and I don't know about you, but it feels like forever.  As each week passes by it weighs heavier on my mind.  Without our plan I feel like I'm lacking a purpose in life.

I know this isn't going to get better over night.  I'm just really impatient and I want the hurt and the pain to just go away already.  Dealing with this on a daily basis is emotionally and physically draining.  Lately I just find myself completely exhausted.  It really makes me wonder how I'm going to keep doing this.

People say "it gets better with time."  I can't even count the amount of times I hear that in a day.  I know it does, but it's going to be such a long time.  Honestly at this point I could very well still be in the shock/denial phase. 

The unknown of the future is increasingly taking a toll on my everyday life.  I still think of all of our plans and it is eventually going to eat me up inside.  Time goes on, I'll continue on in this life, but it's never going away.  Never.

Until the day that I die I'm going to remember this.  I'm going to wonder what could have been.  I'm going to ask why.  I'm going to be angry.  I'm going to cry.  I'm going to hurt.  I'm going to have that pain.  I'm going to miss you.

I'm going to live with all of the for the rest of my life.  It makes me so mad.  How is that fair?

Really though, what really breaks my heart is what you aren't going to get.  You won't get married, you won't have a family, you won't have the life you dreamed of.  It all got taken away from you before you had a chance to live it.  That's not fair. 

I'm never going to understand why God took you away.  Someone who had so much promise and a life to live.  A life with me.  I don't care if this is part of a bigger plan because I'm going to be angry about it for the rest of my life.  No matter what amazing thing may come out of this, I have to go on without you in my life. 

Another bad Thursday, another day without you. 

I'm tired of living this life.

Monday, November 1, 2010

10 years from now..

..where will you be?

This question was asked today.  I was in a class doing an assignment and this was part of it.

When the professor asked, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  For the first time in years I had absolutely no idea what to say.  I don't have a freaking clue.

I swear I have OCD when it comes to planning.  I mean, you know that.  I always had everything figured out perfectly.  We had our life figured out and that was perfect too.  Now I'm just not sure.  Where do I go?  What do I do?  Will I get married?  Will I have a family?  Is someone going to love me and take care of me?

I don't know.

I was so happy with you.  I'm not happy now and I want to be so badly.  I want the pain and hurt to just go away already.  We're pushing 9 weeks and it's not getting any better.  I can do a million things to try and forget about it for a little while, but it never works.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.. It's about learning to dance in the rain.."

I'm trying to do that.  I really am.  However, it's a lot harder than it sounds.  Trying to make a positive out of an extremely large negative. This care package drive is nothing short of amazing right now and I'm so excited to be doing it.

But no matter what I do, it's not changing what's going on in my life.  I want you here and I can't.  You know better than anyone that I don't like it when things don't go my way.  Extremely grouchy pickle right now.

So.  Ten years?  I don't know.  But could you figure it out for me because not having a plan is making me crazy.  Ask Lauren.  She just pointed out how much of a planner I am haha.  I'm glad you guys know me oh so well :)

Babe, fix it.  You were way better at fixing things than I am.

Don't judge

I have a feeling that my battle with people judging me is going to get a whole lot worse.

Here's my take on everything.  Until you walk in my shoes for one day, don't tell me what you think I should do or what you would do in my situation.  Believe you me it's nothing like what you "think."  Hell, I thought it would be something completely different than what it is.  There is no way to even try to imagine what this must be like because it's that terrible that it's unimaginable.

Not to mention a lot of people add me on Facebook and try talking to me just because they are trying to see what I'm doing.  I appreciate the support I get- but I know when people are out to get information.  I'm not stupid.

I don't need anyone to tell me how they think I should be living my life.  I lost my whole entire life.  After 5 years with someone they become a part of you.  I lost that.  I am happy about it?  Absolutely not.  I hate every single second.  But you know what?  I don't have any other choice but to live my life.  Josh WANTS me to live me life.  For as long as I can remember he wanted me to be happy.  He NEVER wanted me to be sad. NEVER.

It's not fair for me to live like this forever.  I'm 20 years old!  Will I move on eventually?  Probably.  BUT Josh will always be in my life and I will ALWAYS love him.  Always.  Whoever I may end up with eventually will have to accept that.  If they don't, then it won't work.  But why in the world should I be alone forever?

Really- I don't want to think about someone else for a long time.  However, I don't want to live the rest of my life being miserable.  This life is so incredibly draining and lonely.  How is that fair?  How is it fair that people expect me to live like this forever?

Why should I?

Then I come back to my same point- unless you've walked in my shoes or are another widow, you have no room to judge. 

Since I get so many "you're living my worst nightmare" you would think people would cut a little slack.  That's a big negative because usually that's the first to come back and judge.  Really though?  Thanks for reminding me that I'm living just about every military spouses, or even a spouse in general, worst nightmare.  I didn't realize that's what I was doing.

My real friends- they are there for me when I need them and they don't tell me how to live my life right now.  They know me, they know Josh.  They know how much we love each other.  They know what we wanted for each other.  They know he wants me to be happy.

I am a strong believer that he is going to guide me through this life.  He'll make sure I'm happy.  He'll make sure there is some one there for me to love me and take care of me.  He'll make sure that I'm not miserable forever.  He will.  I know he will because he loves me enough to make sure of it.  I was his first priority and I still am.  He WILL NOT let me roll over and die in this lifetime.  You better believe I would get struck down by lightning if I even tried. 

Say what you want, think what you want.  At the end of the day you have no idea what it's like.

I'm at least fortunate enough to have loved someone so much in my life and had that person love me back just as much, if not more.  I will have that to hold on to until the day that I die and no one can take that away from me.  Because of that, I'm going to get through this life and I'm going to live it for him. Just because we won't have these things together doesn't mean that I can't live and do it all for him.  I'm going to be happy again someday and he's going to be holding my hand the entire way.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Void

I hate the void that I constantly feel and try to fix. As time goes on I'm realizing more and more everyday that it's never going to be filled. It may get better, get easier to deal with, whatever. BUT I will always have the void.

I never in a million years thought I was going to be living this life. Did I know it was a possibility? Yes. But no one wants to think it will be them. People don't know what it is like to live with the constant struggle of going day after day without the most important person in your life.

Sure, one day I will probably being happy again. It still makes me so angry that I have to live with this for the rest of my life. That I have to live without you when we were counting on forever. I saw a Winnie the Pooh quote yesterday..

"If you live to be 100, I want to be 100 minus one day so I never have to live without you

That is how I always felt. I never ever wanted to live another day of my life without you. Well. So much for that because now I have to.

I constantly find myself longing for you and somehow trying to patch it up. Wear your clothes, cling to things that you gave me, listen to the songs that you liked, but it really doesn't do much good. I'm not even sure if I have fully realized that come February you aren't stepping off of that bus with everyone else.

I'm still debating on homecoming. Should I go or should I stay? For some reason I feel like I should be there- be there for you. At the same time, it is just going to be another smack of reality and I don't know if I can handle that.

I wish I could change things.. I really do. Now I can only hope that when its my turn you will be there waiting for me with open arms. It just makes me sad that the day that it comes is still a whole lifetime away. And I miss you now.

One of my friends sent me this song last night and it is really similar to our situation and I do find some comfort in it.



Thursday, October 28, 2010

Here goes nothing


I hope this does you justice <3

Good afternoon, my name is Chrissy Young and I am a 2008 graduate of Penns Manor.  Today I’m here to talk to you about someone very close to my heart.  How many times have you read a story in the paper or saw a clip on the news involving an American military member who had been killed while serving his or her country? If you are anything like most other people, your immediate reaction was probably, "Oh my gosh, that is so horrible," or "how sad" or "I'm glad my family doesn't have to deal with anything like that."   While you may have the utmost respect and admiration for the members of our military, it is difficult for most of you to fully understand the danger they place themselves in each and every day to protect the lives we all live here in the United States of America.  
Anyone with a heart feels a certain degree of sadness when they hear about a service member losing their life in combat.  However, until it happens to someone close you, there is no way anyone can possibly understand how it affects so many lives.  I am here today to try to convey to all of you what type of a person it takes to put his or her life on hold and risk sacrificing their own life for millions of people -- people like you and me -- that they have never even met.  It takes a person of character, a person who knows what they have, is thankful for what they have, and is willing to give whatever it takes to preserve those freedoms for all of us. It takes a person with more courage than most people can even imagine. That is why I am here to tell you about Lance Corporal Joshua T. Twigg.
For the past 5 years of my life, I have been lucky enough to know Josh Twigg, a 2007 Penns Manor graduate, who was also my best friend and boyfriend.   I met Josh those 5 years ago at this very high school.  It was easy to see that we were both very different.  Josh was the funny outgoing guy who was usually doing something he wasn’t supposed to be doing and I was the straight A student who was quiet and well behaved. Throughout our high school years, Josh was known by many of his classmates and teachers as the fun, easygoing guy.  He played football for six years and he enjoyed every second of his time here at Penns Manor.  No matter what, he always had you laughing and put an instant smile on your face.  It wasn’t unheard of to see him in the hallway making jokes and usually misbehaving along the way.  We spent day after day in the lunchroom while his table repeatedly shot water bottle caps toward other tables, and one cap hit me right in the forehead during a lunch period.
Many times I walked past the office doors to see Josh sitting there waiting to visit the principal. At other times I would walk past Mr. D. Fulton’s history classroom to hear him take a deep breath and say “Mr. Twigg”.  I often found myself in Mr. R Fulton’s math class to hear him say to Josh’s class “What are you guys doing you’re going to be on the outside looking in.”  Regardless of doing things he probably shouldn’t have been- everyone was always laughing with him, teachers included. 
As a student here at Penns Manor, I attended Veterans Day assemblies, just like you.  I sat in this same auditorium, hearing guest speakers every single Veterans day.  Three years ago I was a senior and I stood on this same stage taking part in the Veterans Day assembly, but I never really understood the true meaning of this day.  I first began to fully understand Veterans Day three years ago.  Josh had recently graduated boot camp and was in Infantry school in North Carolina.  As I sat on this stage listening to reverend McCulley speak about his son who gave his life in Iraq, my eyes filled with tears.  Was this really happening to people?  As I cried to one of my friends shortly after the end of the ceremony, I remember thinking, “that won’t happen me.”  Here I am three short years later- and it is me.   I’m here to tell to you about my life with the military, the sacrifices of our military members, and what we can do to recognize and support them in the future; and I want to start by telling you our story.
As high school sweethearts starting into adult life we passed through a lot, but we were a team taking it all together.  Josh was a Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corps assigned to the 2nd Battalion 9th Marine Regiment out of Camp LeJeune North Carolina.  I stayed at home going to school at IUP while he lived 10 hours away doing his job as a Marine.  My life started on this crazy roller coaster on July 1 2007, the day Josh left for boot camp.  I remember dreading that day for months and it was the longest day ever.  As I stood in his kitchen around 5pm that day with tears in my eyes I thought, “4 years that’s all, and we can get through this.” 
Over the past 3 years we had many tearful “see you laters,” we survived a deployment to Iraq, countless field ops, living off of phone calls when we had the chance, 96 hour visits, and everything else accompanying the Marine lifestyle.  It isn’t just about the deployments because the whole lifestyle is hard.  For those of you who don’t know you can’t make any plans that are involving the Marine Corps.  I can’t tell you the countless times our plans were ruined when Josh would get stuck at work late or they decided it was necessary for him to have duty the weekend he was set to come home.  Before this last deployment I had officially decided the Marine Corps didn’t want to share Josh with me.
Josh deployed for the second time to Afghanistan on July 17 of this year and was set to return sometime in February 2011.  It is natural for anyone to be scared of deployments, but I was doing okay.  He was a good Marine and this was our last deployment, so the Marine Corps was going to be just the first chapter in our lives.  However, deployments are very hard on all parties involved.  Even though it is the service member that is deployed, you will often hear that it is always harder on the silent ranks of the Marine Corps, the spouses they leave behind.  We live in a world of the unknown. 
I spent several hours gripping my phone waiting on a call that “just might come,” sitting in front my computer screen hoping his name would pop up, writing countless letters and emails, sending care packages, and becoming the best of friends with girls I didn’t even know; but we had the common bond of our guys being on this deployment together.  We would be up until the wee hours of the morning talking about what we’re going to do after this deployment is over which waiting for those calls and instant messages.  At 5 am on September 1st my phone rang and as I rolled over to pick up my phone I saw “Josh Afghanistan” on my caller id.  My Nana would tell you about the mornings in our household and that I am a bear when I get woken up early.  However, this was one of Josh’s favorite pastimes to hear my grumpy self on the other end of the line because he woke me up. He and his friends often found it funny to wake me up and tell me stories because it usually takes me about 10 minutes to catch up with what’s going on.  As much as I hate getting up early, I never objected to phone calls coming from the sand box.  When I was finally awake, he had me laughing and we talked as we usually did.  He had a few more things to do that day so he told me he had to go, but he would call back as soon as he could.  Around 6 am, I gave my normal be careful speech and we exchanged our “I love you’s,” it was going to be a good day.
On the morning of September 2nd, just before 8 am, my phone rang again.  This time I quickly realized it wasn’t Josh, it was his Dad and I knew something was wrong.  I got the worst phone call one could ever imagine that morning.  I answered the phone only to hear him on the other end say, “Chrissy, Josh was killed this morning.”   My heart sank.  As I sat up in my bed I kept thinking No, no this is not happening to me right now, he promised he would be home.  It can’t be him there has to be a mistake.  This is his last deployment there is no way it could happen now.  As I hung up the phone I ran down the stairs screaming for my Nana.  I got to the bottom and in that instant it hit my like a train.  I fell to the floor and burst into tears.  This was a military spouse’s worst nightmare and I was about to start living it.
I know most of you have read the Revolutionary war novel, “My Brother Sam is Dead,” in Mrs. Zuchelli’s class or watched the history videos in Mr. Zayachak’s class; but it is difficult to fully understand the sacrifices our service men and women make.  From the beginning of this country, we have been patriotic and supportive of our troops.  On this Veterans Day, we should ask ourselves, has our patriotism drifted away? Do we just expect others to step forward and serve while the rest of us live comfortably at home?   Are we doing all that we can to support them?  I was guilty of not doing everything I could, but I have changed my ways and I want to encourage you to do the same.  I had to learn the hard way.  At 20 years old I have been deemed a “war widow” and I find myself picking up the pieces of what could have been.    
The Marines serving in Afghanistan are currently living without all of the comforts we take for granted such as cooked meals, electricity, running water, and a hundred other things we would never want to live without.  Now it our chance to step up and support the friends he left behind in Afghanistan.  Penns Manor is currently collecting items for care packages to be sent to Josh’s unit.  A collection barrel is currently in the lobby and I encourage each of you to contribute to this cause.  I can assure you a care package from home means more to these men than you will ever know.  Today is your chance to start making a difference.  This can easily be accomplished by making a donation or even by simply saying “thank you” to a military member or veteran for serving our great nation.    
Josh was so proud to be a Marine and serve his country.  One thing about Josh was he held me, his family, and his friends close to his heart.  He would have done anything in the world for us; but his love for us did not stop him from stepping up and serving his country.  Josh was the other half of our team and the most amazing person I know.  I can only hope to be half of the person he was in his lifetime.  It breaks my heart that I have to go on in this life without him by my side and to start over when all of our plans together are no longer possible.  One thing is for sure, he lived every second of his life to the fullest and for that he will always be remembered.  Josh made an impact on everyone who knew him.  His best friend in the Marine Corps, Pvt Jonathan Hart, summed Josh up in a few sentences, “Josh was a great leader and the best of friends.  He was a big guy, but I can assure you he had an even bigger heart.  He excelled above most as a Marine and people looked up to him.”  If one thing came from this it is the pride I feel in my heart and the family of Marines Josh left me with.  He made such a long last impression and his love for me was so well known, that guys I barely know have taken a huge role in my life and I have more big brother figures that I ever could have imaged.  I too am a part of the Marine Corps family and I am forever thankful that Josh gave me that.  A part of him will live on in me forever and he will never be forgotten.  It is our chance to step up for Josh and all the brave men and women serving in our military.    Thank you.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Empty Corner

For as long as I can remember, I always had you in my corner. You let me cry, bitch, complain, vent, whatever it was to you all the time. Regardless of the situation you were always on my side no matter what.

I'm really starting to miss that more and more everyday. I hate that I can't call you and just tell you how I feel, and for you to tell me it would be okay or you would be the first to take care of it for me. Now I end up calling someone to tell them something and get a lecture or something I just don't want to hear.

I miss having you there to defend me. You always stood up for me no matter what. Lacking that comfort makes me feel overly vulnerable and I just want the "safe" feeling of being back in your arms. I felt like no one could ever hurt me when I was with you.

For so long we have been a team. I never had to go through anything alone and the fact that we took everything on together made it so much more bearable. This team is down to one player and I hate it. Things were so much better when we were facing the world together. I never had to worry about things because you were always right there in my corner.

We were such a good "team" that I'm not sure why God thought it would be a good idea to take us away from each other. People can tell me 50 times over that "Heaven needed a hero" or "Only the good die young," but damnit. I NEEDED you. I still need you. You were my hero. Really, I don't want to share.  I want to be selfish and keep you to myself.

I'm mad you got taken away from me entirely too soon because I need you to be here for me.  I'm sick of hearing "he's still here." Yeah, well.  Not the way I need you to be.  You were so many things for me and I can't get that back.  It makes me wonder if I will ever have that again.  I had so many things with you- we were a perfect match.  We were two different people but we complimented each other perfectly.

Who gets that twice in a lifetime?  You loved me, you took care of me, you would have done ANYTHING for me.  Why in the world did you get taken away?  What sense does it make to break something up that was so perfect?

You were my match and my other half.  I'm not real sure how to take on the world by myself.  Actually, I don't know how to do anything without you.  For 5 years you were the rock in my life, the one person I went to for everything, the one that never ever turned there back on me.  So why did you have to go?

I'll never know why, but one thing is for sure- I will live the rest of my wondering what the answer is to that question.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Impatient Planner

That would be me, but you already know that.

It's driving me nuts that I don't know where I'm going in life.  For the longest time we had a plan.

Plan being:
  • Finish deployment
  • Finish enlistment
  • Get engaged
  • Move home
  • Finish school/get job
  • Get married
  • Start a family
  • Build a house
  • Live happily ever after
Here's my plan now:
  • .
Yup, no clue.  I hate that my life is in a million pieces and I'm still not sure where to go or what to do.  That feeling is making me a crazy person. My life was so much easier when I had a plan.  I knew where I was going and what I wanted to do.  Now I'm sorta feeling like I don't have a purpose.  God only knows how long it will be until I find one again, IF I find one again.

Where's my plan in all of this?  I'm not seeing the bigger picture here or for what reason this had to happen.  I'm the type of person that wants to quickly pick up the pieces and put it all back together.  Hell, for the other crisis' in my life I did do that.  I just put on my smile and everything was okay.

I can't do that this time.  My life is in too many pieces to pick back up right now and in all reality I'm missing half of the puzzle.  I know you're always going to be with me, but not the way I want you to be.  When it comes down to it I know you won't let me live my life unhappy and miserable.  However, it is always going to be in the back of my mind.  What we could have had or what we were supposed to have.

I need my plan back.  For the past 5 years we had a plan and it was all working out perfectly until 7.5 weeks ago.  Why me?  Why now?  Thanks Mr. All High and Mighty for leading me on all of this time thinking it was going finally going to work.  This plan was getting to be set in stone.  Things picked out, moving forward, all to come to an abrupt end and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

I didn't choose any of this.  Why is it that we don't get a say in our fate?  Not fair.  The control freak in me wants to fix it and make it better asap.  I'm pretty sure I'm OCD when it comes to having a plan in life and they might need to put me in a crazy house soon.  Kourtney could probably attest to this more than anyone right now.

So, Joshua Thomas.  Help me out here.  I need you to tell/show me where to go and what to do.  I still need you and I'm always going to.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just when you think it can't get worse

I'm blog happy today just because it's been such a shit day.

I got your box back.  Talk about another reality check.

I really do not know how I'm going to keep doing this.  Being a "war widow" is the worst thing someone could ever go through.  Really right now?  I'm 20 years old!  As if my life hasn't been hard enough this happens to me.  I swear to God I have had the worst 20 years out of anyone I know.  Today I should be happy.. we would be half way done with this deployment and we'd be on our way to starting our Marine Corps free life.  Now when February rolls around.  Instead of getting you back and getting my "rock"  I get nothing.  Wtf is up with that? 

I just want you back in my life.  I lost such a huge part of me and I have no freaking clue how to live without it.  I watched the Steeler game and it hurts more and more every time when I can't give you my full report/analysis on the games.  I keep looking at my facebook and seeing your chat box in the right hand corner and I just keep thinking maybe it'll light up again.  I know it won't, but I refuse to close it.

I'm so angry that there are girls back here cheating on their husbands/boyfriends and not giving a crap about what happens.  But you better believe they're 100% alive and well.  Yeah, that's real fair.  Really God, get your priorities  straight.  Just wait Joshua when I'm on my way to the pearly gates I'm bitching thee entire way up (cause I know you probably miss that oh so much).  Me and God are gonna have a very looooooooooooooong chit chat when I get there.

To top it off I've inherited "widow brain" as it has been deemed by others.  I cannot remember anything these days and it becomes more and more obvious everyday.  You know how I am.. I color code my freaking organizer for each class!  But now, I can't remember a damn thing.  Ask the people I work with.  I screw stuff up all the time and it's really starting to make me mad.  Someone will talk to me and I forget instantly, I don't remember how to do things or go places.  Talk about annoying.

Well.  Me and my bitchy self need to do some homework that I will probably just look at.  I know, I know, "Christina Marie, what did I tell you?  Worry about school." I got it babe don't worry.

It was only just a dream

Two nights, two dreams. 

Upside? You're there and they feel so real.  Downside?  Its just a dream.  I was so disappointed when I woke up this morning.  Just another day in reality after spending another night with you.

I don't really remember the first dream from Friday night.  All I remember is laying with you and you squeezed my hand and opened your eyes.  I'm not real sure what happened after that.

But last night..

I came down off of the hill coming into Clymer because someone told me they saw you.  I went to pull into my driveway and there you were all bandaged up standing there waiting for me.  As I jumped into your arms and started to cry you just picked me up and held me.  You said, "I'll always love you baby I'm never going to leave you."

There were some things after that but they aren't relevant.  Regardless, the whole thing felt so damn real that I was not a happy camper when I woke up.

Now I'm just sad/hurt/angry and about 50 other emotions.  I just want you back.  I want my life back because I'm sick and tired of this one.  Last night as I listened to others talk about weddings and babies it hit me.  Two months ago I was a part of those conversations, and now I have nothing to say.  It makes me so mad that you got taken away from me and everything we wanted is no longer a possibility.

Instead of being excited because we're halfway done with this deployment like everyone else,  I'm a whole lifetime away from being with you again.

I would give anything and more to be with you again.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Llama and the Library

First and foremost- Welcome to my new blog!  The fabulous Mrs. Muffins did my blog design that I absolutely love.  It feels like home now.

Today wasn't too bad.  Much better than the two days prior that is for sure.  I hope you're impressed by my care package drive.  It's all for you babe.  It really is amazing how fast this has taken off and how willing people are to help.   In just 2 days we have already raised $700 and donations have been pouring in.  It makes me happy to know that we (more so you than me) made such an impact on people.  We were quite the team if I do say so myself.  I'll keep you updated on this as the time goes on :)

You're probably wondering why in the world my title of this blog is llama and the library.  Well.  Funny story.  As I was writing my speech today I was trying to put in as much happy/funny stuff as I could.  I don't want it to be depressing because that's not you.  You were always upbeat and positive so that is how I am going to treat this speech.

Anyways.

I was writing about the last time I talked to you when you called me at 5 am.  I added in how you always loved to wake me up because I was A. confused and B. grumpy.  I couldn't even count the times I would get woken up and we'd have this conversation "Awe, is the little pickle grumpy" as I smacked you and said "babe leave me alone I'm tired."  Although, you just couldn't resist and kept picking at me.  But all this waking me up stuff reminded me of one specific time when you were in North Carolina.

You woke me up in the middle of the night and I was beyond confused.  Usually I catch on but nope, not this time.  Actually, I didn't get it until the next morning.  So I roll over and grab my phone because its probably close to 230 am when the bar closed.  You along with your side kick Hart were on the other end of the line.  Some how or other (I'm still not sure how) but you freaking convinced me that I had to return a llama to the library.  Um, yeah.  And I believed you!  All I remember yelling was "babe I'm not going I'm too tired," but nope you kept insisting that I promised I would go.  Meany.

And this is kind of off topic but I just got this in a message and it did in fact bring a smile to my face.  I'm going to block out names though just in case it wasn't supposed to be known...

"I never met Twigg, so it may not be as exciting, but ****** has shared a few stories with me and one in particular stood out to me since his passing. Some time ago, the first story he shared with me about Twigg was that he was the one good friend he had who had a sincere relationship with his girlfriend. I don't have testimony straight from Josh, but the I hope hearing the secondhand story from ****** almost makes it 10 times more credible. Twigg made it known to all who cared to listen that he loved you so much, and he wasn't afraid to let it be known. Those boys are so scared to admit their vulnerable sides sometimes (especially love), and thats the FIRST thing i learned about him. (second being "he's a big mother fucker" hahaha)"

I love you.  So so much.  It's things like that that bring comfort to me these days.  No matter how many years from now I have to go on without you, I'm still going to love you every second of everyday.  That's the one thing death can't take away from me, no one can.  We had a bond strong enough to get us through anything and that includes this.

I don't know what the future holds for me anymore.  The one thing I do know- you will always love me and you're going to hold my hold the entire way.  I was reading text messages earlier and one that I saved says "I love you and I always will."  We're gonna get through this.  Just like we did with everything else.  I love you lots babe.