Saturday, January 15, 2011


On Thursday I made the 12 hour drive to Savannah and another 3.5 yesterday to Atlanta.  I wish it wasn't for this reason, but I attended the funeral of Ryan Giese.  It was a beautiful ceremony and it really hit home.  My heart breaks for his wife, Brittany, and his family.  As I watched all of this again I felt those memories and pain; it came flooding back to me.  The viewing, procession, funeral, cemetery, all of it.  The people close to me know that I don't remember much about those 72 hours, but what I did remember was hitting hard the last two days.  I wanted to go there and be strong- epic fail.  Between my own whack emotions and what I felt for that family it was close to disaster.  Lucky for me though I have a strong support system and they got me through it. 

Today during the procession I looked at the cars, the people pulled over in their cars or standing on the streets, the cops holding traffic, and it gave me goosebumps.  I remember that same feeling from 4 months ago.  That crazy sense of pride that you feel even when you're surrounded in so much pain.  It's something that is almost indescribable, but every other widow knows exactly what I'm talking about.  As tragic as they are, military funerals are absolutely beautiful.  I just wish that more people didn't have to live through this pain everyday.  Hearing the 21 gun salute and taps and watching them hand over those folded up flags was like a knife in my stomach.   By that point, I wasn't sure I could take anymore.  When you're going through something so awful, it kills you to watch it happening to someone else knowing there is nothing that you can do to make it any better for them. 

While I was there I met some people.  This line is a common one I get these days, "I don't know how you do it."  My response?  "Because I don't have a choice."  I have to live this life whether I like it or not.  I can't change it.  However, I have two options.  1.  Be a hermit hating life, alone, and miserable.  2. Live life the way Josh would want me to, learning to live and love again.  At first I was all about number one.  I quickly realized there is no freaking way that I am doing that forever.  I don't want to do that either.  I have such a longing to be happy again.  I truly believe that Josh will make sure that I am happy and that someone will love me and take care of me and not push Josh out of my life.  I will never replace him or forget him or move on without looking back, but things will be different.  Baby steps, Chrissy, baby steps.

Lastly- my support system.  My Marine family.  I have someone there for me 24/7 no matter what.  I can text them to complain/cry/bitch/laugh etc. or when I need some good entertainment (they are pretty good at that).  The last 48 hours they stayed by my side, hugged me when I needed it, and gave me a shoulder to cry on.  I let these people into my life so quickly and have gotten amazingly close to them.  I will say it a million times over how thankful I am for them.  Even though losing Josh was awful, this is one little glimpse of hope.  When Josh left this earth, I lost my rock.  The one person that got me through everything.  Lucky for me a couple people stepped into that role and I can never thank them enough for doing that.  They are pulling me through the hardest time in my life.  I know for a fact part of the reason I am doing better each day is because of them.  It really is an amazing thing and I wish I could find the words to describe it better.  Remember that void I talked about?  It's slowly being filled by these people.  I also wish that more people could experience this.  It's a crazy thing that you could never understand unless you were a part of it.  The way everyone comes together is really something.   We went out last night and it was a lot of fun.  I could listen to their ridiculous drunk stories all night.  Although, letting a drunk marine convince the designated drivers to take them to a strip club recommended by the waiter as landmark in Atlanta was not a smart idea.  Just sayin' :)

Moral of the story- a lot of previous emotions came back into my life the past two days.  I miss him so much and my heart still hurts.  I felt that pain again and I kept seeing images from September.  At the same time, I'm slowly taking little steps forward and I have some amazing people by my side getting me through it.  How is Josh still with me?  He gave me these people to fill that space and make sure that I'm okay.  It's a crazy thing..


  1. I'm SO happy he gave you those people to help you. And I really do believe he's still with you and always will be.

    My heart hurts for you every day, hun. I know I'm not in your situation and I hope to never be, but I do think and pray for you every day. Love you lots... thought of you today when passing the hotel you stayed at last time I saw you. Almost started crying but I think it might have freaked Matt out. Point being, you're always in my thoughts. Bad situation, but I'm excited to see you next month!

  2. Praying and keeping you in my thoughts all the time!!!

  3. Chrissy,

    I am Ryan's oldest sister, Alison. You are right about everything being a fog while you are going through it - viewing, funeral, procession, burial, etc... Even though I didn't get a chance to talk to you, I just wanted you to know it meant a lot to all of us that you came to support Ryan and his family - especially Brittany. I am sure she will need you to lean on in the coming months.

    God bless and comfort you,
    Alison Leopard