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