About two weeks ago I made the trip down to Jacksonville to face the reality once again. All day Monday I was thinking as I drove. Thinking what I should be doing. What everyone else is doing except for the lucky 15 who got it taken away. That was probably the worst drive. I was ridiculously anxious and thoughts were just racing through my head.
Tuesday I went to lunch and the mall with Ashleigh. It helped so much. She had gone and she knew I could too I just needed the push. That was the biggest thing: making myself go. All day I was back and forth on what I should do. If I could do it. If I wanted to do it.
4 am I got in my car and drove on base. Walking into the gym it was obvious everyone knew who I was. I was really nervous and heartbroken as I watched everyone in their cute outfits filled with joy and excitement. It was just another day for me.
Around 8 am myself and another widow went to the armory. The CO asked us who we wanted. At first I could only spill out one name because I was so nervous I couldn't even think. A few minutes later I added a few more to the list and slowly they walked over, each giving me a hug. It was comforting to to say the least and when I left there I felt okay.
We made our way back to the reception area. When they started coming across in formation my heart broke all over again and I fell apart. They released them to their families and I watched as everyone took off into each others arms. I stood there. I just looked around thinking "that should be us." But it wasn't. At that moment I felt like I had been hit by the reality mac truck. That was it. It was done. I managed to find my way back through the crowds to Hart. He hugged me and I stood there and cried.
I walked to my car and I watched everyone, together, putting things in there cars and driving off. I got in mine and drove away alone. Am I glad I went? Yes. But it was painful and hard. I wish so badly things were still different and that I could maybe change what has happened. It was supposed to be us..
Photos by Jill Mills