Monday, April 4, 2011

A Beautiful Nightmare

Here it is.. the final product. I still don't like it, but I really can't look at it anymore..

A Beautiful Nightmare

It was a beautiful morning, the sun was shining bright and I could feel its rays through the high window in my room.  I rolled around in my bed as I heard my cell phone ringing thinking it was my alarm.  Of course, another phone call and someone waking me up before my alarm.  Grumpy and tired I rolled over and picked up my phone.  I saw it wasn’t my boyfriend; it was his Dad, which was even more disappointing because if I’m getting up early it at least better be a call from Afghanistan.  I missed the call so I listened to the voicemail that said to call him back.  Something was off.  Something didn’t feel right.  I frantically hit send on my phone and it started ringing.  “Chrissy,” started off the worst conversation of my life.  I sat up in my bed, clearly something was wrong.  Maybe he was just hurt.  Maybe something happened to his mom. Maybe they needed something.  I yelled, “what is going on?”  More than once.  I wish I had never gotten a response.  His voice trembled as I heard, “Chrissy, Josh was killed this morning.”  Oh, no.
This was not going to happen to me.  No way.  It can’t be.  I kept telling him he was lying to me.  He wasn’t lying.  The casualty assistance officer was there (they were out of state so another officer notified them).  It was real.  A military spouses worst nightmare was about to become my life.  He hung up the phone and I sat in my room.  I couldn’t even cry.  Thoughts raced through my head, what do I do?  Is this really happening right now?  I took off out of my bed and down the stairs.  I, hysterically, went through the rooms yelling for my Nana.  She was putting my little cousins on the bus outside, but she heard me and came barging through the door asking what was wrong.  “Nana, they killed him.”
I hit the floor. 
And burst into tears…..  It was real.
As I sat there on the floor holding my Nana’s leg like I had nothing left she asked me over and over again if I was sure.  Was I sure?  Maybe it’s a mistake?  It could be.  Maybe I’m dreaming.  Nope.  I’m wide-awake.  Is this really happening to me?  Is this what this feels like? Because I didn’t see it happening this way.  I managed to text a few of my friends.  All they said was “Josh died.”  I couldn’t get anything more than that out at the moment.  In between my tears I looked up seeing my five-year-old cousin peering around the corner with fear in her eyes wondering what was going on.  What was going on?  Mass chaos.  That’s what.  My nana had left me on the floor as I heard her call my aunt, who was on her way to work, telling her to come back home.  My great grandparents (who are 90 and 86) came flying in the door.  I could see the heartbreak and pain in their eyes.  No one knew what to say.  I cried.  And cried.  And cried.  For so long my Pap has fixed all my life problems.  But today.. he was just as helpless as I was.  A few minutes later my aunt came running around the corner with tears in her eyes.  She crouched down beside me on the floor hugging me as I rocked back and fourth.  Somehow I made it to the couch.  I remember sitting there.  Word had spread like wild fire.  I had facebook notifications going to my phone because while he was gone that was his way of waking me up if he didn’t have a phone.  I sat there.  Holding my phone.  Not even able to keep up with the calls, text messages, facebook notifications.  New text.  Call. Facebook. Call. Text. Text. Voicemail. Facebook. Call. Text. STOP!
The pure panic and shock that I felt was felt by others as well.  I thought for sure my phone was going to blow up.  I couldn’t even keep up with all of the messages coming through.  Before I knew it flowers were showing up at the door.  Flowers?  Come on people I haven’t even processed what is happening and you already have flowers at the door?  My dad came with my brother.  Watching his sweet little girl completely devastated willing to do whatever it takes to make it better.  I grabbed my laptop.  I remember emailing Dr. Fello and Dr. Creany, my professors for my classes the morning, and my boss:

I just wanted to let you all know that I will not be present in class or work today.  I found out within the half hour that my boyfriend who was in Afghanistan was KIA.  If there is anything I need to do please let me know.

It was only a matter of time before the news stations caught wind.  Knocking on the door, calling my cell phone, driving around town looking for answers.  Go away.  They want me to admit this is real already?  I don’t think so.  I don’t even know what’s going on to be honest.  The bottomless, nauseous, pit in my stomach is over whelming.  I logged on to facebook.  A chat box popped up.  It was one of Josh’s good friends who was serving in Afghanistan.  His brother had died the year before.  As comforting as it was to talk to him for a few minutes I remember thinking how bad I felt for him when it happened.  Now its me?  Now I understand what it was like for him?  Not to be a jerk, but it was better when it was someone else.  I didn’t want it to be me.  We had a life planned.  We were supposed to get married.  We were supposed to have a family.  This deployment was the last of the Marine Corps.  Why?!  Why me?!  It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.  I don’t want it to happen this way.
That’s it.
I’m going back to sleep.  I slammed my laptop shut.  I grabbed my fuzzy blanket and my care bear, who has never let me down my whole entire life.  I laid my head down on the pillow.  I remember feeling the throbbing and discomfort from the amount of tears I had cried that morning.  I closed my eyes.  I waited.  I cracked open an eye.  It was still happening.  I closed my eyes again.  Go to sleep, Chrissy.  Just go to sleep.  You’ll wake up and everything will be okay.
Before I knew it someone else was barging through the door.  I heard them talking to my aunt in the kitchen.  She came over and bent over by the couch.  I had to go to Josh’s parents.  The CACO (Casualty Assistance Officer) was going to be there shortly.  I argued about getting a shower.  I lost that battle as my aunt shoved me up the stairs.  I kept thinking really? Who gives a crap if I take a freakin shower right now?  Not me.  BUT I did it anyways to shut everybody up. 
I started getting myself together as I heard two of my friends at the door.  I talked to them for a few minutes but everyone was rushing me to get over there.  FINE.  You people need to relax I’ll get there when I get there.  I’m not the most prompt person when my whole life comes tumbling down.  I quietly got into the car.  I remember driving over and I swear every song that ever meant something came on the radio.  The tears strolled down my face as I passed through the roads I only ever took to see him.  I clung to the little stuffed pig in my lap.  It was his pig from when he had surgery as a tiny tot.  Mr. Piggy don’t fail me now.  Please make it better.  Right you psycho like a stuffed pig is going to fix your life right now.  Wishful thinking.
We pulled in. 
His uncle was the first to meet me wrapping his arms around me, calling me “bud” just like he always did.  Then his mom.  She grabbed me and I cried.  I watched the black explorer with US Government on the license plate pulled into the driveway.  Two men in their Alphas.  They shut the car doors and walked toward the house.  His mom put her arm around me and walked me inside.  I sat down in a chair closest to the two Marines clinging to the pig in my lap.  I looked around.. his parents, two brothers, sister, and one uncle sat quietly in the room.  The Staff Sergeant opened his black folder and started to talk.  It was real.  My body went into a fog.. setting itself on auto pilot.. and I was about to start the hardest and worst journey of my life..


  1. Hi Chrissy.

    My name is Laura and I read your posts every once in a while because I also have a boyfriend in the MC but who is trying to get out. A good friend of ours, and a "brother" to my boyfriend, was KIA in Afghanistan a day after Josh was killed (3 Sept); he was with 2/6. My boyfriend and I had gone home that weekend and we got the call from Ross' wife who was at her parents house at the time and thankfully we were only 5min away, as opposed to the two hours we would have been otherwise. It was truly a nightmare. I can't imagine how you feel beyond how it feels to loose a really good friend. Because of boyfriend was like his brother and that we have been dating for three years, I was present when the CACO was there and to welcome him home from Dover as well as for the funeral and the wake and essentially everything that the family is privy too and of course the dreaded memorial on Lejeune. I truly am sorry for your loss and all the time I think about if it had been my boyfriend. I have a hard enough time dealing with my grief and my boyfriends grief and I cannot even imagine how I could get through it if it had been my boyfriend instead. You know how it feels to lose the love of your life and I know how it feels to lose a friend and then to watch the grief of my boyfriend who lost his brother. Ross even put in his will that my boyfriend is to have custody of his little boy if anything ever happens to his wife. I feel so helpless all the time and I never feel like anyone understands, similar as you stated in one of your blogs, that no one understands. I know you will get through this one day at a time because you know that Josh is always by your side and always watching over you.

  2. I'm so proud of you. You finished it. I don't know whether to cry or be proud of this solemn and beautiful brokenhearted view of every girls worst nightmare. I had seen a far off picture of him being brought home but never this one. The grief and pride and strength. Amazing. All of you. He was a beautiful person and you both touched so many lives.

  3. I read your blog from time to time and I have to say I find it very touching. I have a lot of friends serving overseas, but I know that’s not the same as having a boyfriend, fiancĂ©, or husband there. You have an amazing strength to be able to share everything you have with the world. I found this quote the other day, and after reading your post I don’t think I could find a better person for it to fit with.
    “Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.”

  4. Chrissy,

    I was just introduced to your blog, and I have to be honest, out of everything I have ever read this really touched me. Your blog is truly amazing. I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Like mentioned above by others, your strength is inspiring. I commend, and thank you, for your will to write and share your story.

  5. You're paper is beautiful.. I can recall that first day when I heard about JOshua being killed and how much I wanted it to be a mistake... I kept calling my Aunt Missie trying to get answers. But reading the words of what you went through that first day, my heart ached for you. While all this was going on and when catching the first wind of what had happened, you were all I could think about. I just had so much sympathy for what you were having to go through. No one can ever even imagine something like that. I thank God every day that I wasn't a part of Brandon's life until after the Marines. Some days I think about how it would have been nice to experience that time with him, but at the same time.. I would have never been as strong as you <3 You are an amazing woman Chrissy, and you inspire so many people. He's so proud of you!! Who wouldn't be!

  6. Hey Chrissy, I've been reading your blog for a little over a month now, but it's taken me some time to backtrack. I read this one today, and I sobbed. My husband is a Marine, and him losing his life is my biggest fear. He plans to make a career out of the Marine Corps. He's been through two deployments, and I often wonder how many chances he'll get. My brother is also a Marine, carrying with him the same fear in my heart. Reading your posts have been encouraging, showing that it is possible to make it through something so hard.