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.