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.