Monday, October 15, 2012

But.....

It's been over a year now, and sometimes it feels as though this second year hurts more than the first.
The haze is gone; I can now see through the once thick fog that clouded my mind.
People have disappeared out of my life, others just say the same things that I've heard over and over for the past year. I'm expected, and I expect from myself, to be working properly again. I should have my house together, I should be organized. But, I'm not. I overcommit myself and then stress out, because I think I'm ready.
But, I'm not. 

He should be home for a year on Wednesday. 
But, he's not.

I just want to be wrapped in his arms again, and listen to his heart beat as I lie next to his chest. I want to cry on his shoulders. I want to tell him my every thought, every feeling, and every fear.
But, I can't.

I'm asking those who are in my life to be a little more patient with me. You've all been amazing, but I need more time. I'm not there yet. I'm not together. I'm not ok.
But, I will be.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Let's Get Things Straight

Yes, I am a widow. Yes, I am lonely. Yes, I am ready to find someone. And yes, I'd like to find someone.

~ BUT ~

This does not make me vulnerable anymore. It does not make me desperate. It does not make me "easy" or "loose."

I have standards, I have morals, and I will NOT settle just because I'm alone. I'm traditional, I'm modest, I don't like today's world of dating. It doesn't make sense to me, at all. I will not date someone just for fun, I will only court someone because I believe they have the potential to be my husband and a father figure to my three sons. 

My husband was an amazing man, he was a man of God. That was one of the very first things that attracted me to him. His devotion and passion that he had for the work of God, and for others was incredible. It may take years to find a man with the same zeal, and that is also willing to accept the boys and me and our situation. But when/if it happens, it will make it so much sweeter that I decided to hold to my standards and convictions and wait (on a physical and emotional level) for that man.

In the meantime, only men that are serious about taking on our family and are interested on settling down (and not breaking my heart), are welcome to approach me. Otherwise, please do not waste either one of our time.

Proverbs 15:25 - The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Don't Look

My mind wandered today when I was bringing Tyson home from school.
So many memories flooded my exhausted brain all at one time. I thought about if we knew before he deployed, that my love was not going to come back home to me. I thought about the first time I saw him.... lifeless. I thought about song lyrics, and how I grieve.

I consider myself to be a "closet griever." To me, this means that on the outside I look fine and dandy, everything is just great, NO CRYING! But, when I'm alone or something triggers that emotion, it all comes pouring out. This doesn't happen much anymore, but the one time that it stands out most to me is when I remember August 8th, 2011. I was in Jacksonville, North Carolina. I was five months pregnant, with my two older sons. I had already seen my husbands "carrying case" come off of that plane, but I hadn't had to face the reality of looking at what were once the lips that kissed me, the hands that held me, and the eyes that beheld at me.

I specifically requested that no one enter the room while I viewed my husband alone. I knew I needed this. I had been able to cry, but not enough. I was angry, at him, and I had to cry to let out the anger, and the guilt for feeling that anger. I remember walking up to the funeral home with my sons, and one of the Marines said to me "You don't have to be the Marine today, Mary. You can be the wife and cry." I just smiled and said, "Ok, Gunny!" He looked at me and said "No, really." I walked into the funeral home and seeing two female Marines that I had once worked with, both had known Luke, and one was his escort from Dover. I immediately just wanted to be embraced by them, it was comforting to be with fellow Marines, and those that reminded me of our newlywed days. 

They told me that they were ready for me to view him, so I began to walk in there. One of the Marines tried to go in with me, and I asked him to please stay out, that I needed to be alone. 

The casket was open, and I walked over to a tissue box and grabbed a few, as I knew I'd need them. I prepared myself and then walked over to where he was. I didn't want to touch him, I couldn't remember him that way. I started to cry a little, but not too much at that point. I knew that he had had some damage on the left side of his body and I began to lean over to look at the left side of his face. I saw how swollen he was and I said aloud "Stop it, don't look, don't look, don't look." I stood straight up again and looked at him, and I lost it. While I don't remember doing this, I have been told by several people that were outside of that room that it sounded as though I were being killed. In a way I was, my heart was dying.

I allowed myself maybe five minutes, I pulled myself together, and requested that my sons come in there with me. You can find out how they reacted to seeing their daddy here.

While there are many other things on my mind today, this seems to have been on the forefront. I'm not exactly sure why, but I feel so much better now that I've hashed it all out again and have it off of my chest. As always, thank you for reading and being a listening eye.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Overwhelmed, Worn, Ragged, and Tired

I like to have a good perspective on things, to realize that we don't have it that bad. But sometimes I just need to vent, and I need to let other people know how I feel because I don't communicate well.

Some people think that when you hit the glorious year mark, you're suddenly fine. It's like a big party with a banner that reads "Congratulations! It's been one year and you're no longer grieving!" Your world has opened up, as it's no longer acceptable to have bad days, but it is suddenly socially acceptable to date (no, I am not dating yet!).
That certainly is not that case. If you think about it, the last year has been insane. While I've been working hard at making sure that I'm grieving properly, I've been somewhat preoccupied with several other things. And tonight I'm just worn.

I'm tired of the boys fighting.
I want Quentin to stop fighting sleep.
I want need to stop worrying about my children constantly.
I want my house to be clean all of the time.
I want certain people to be kind, and not ignore me or hurt my feelings because they can.
I want people to stop taking advantage of my vulnerability.
I don't want to be alone anymore.
I want my husband.

While I have my brief moments as described above, I have nothing but blessings pouring into my life. Three little blessings to be specific, here's an update on them:

Quentin has the two most adorable teeth EVER, and is almost crawling. Zach is now POTTY TRAINED! And Tyson has lost TWO teeth! The two older boys start school within the next few weeks, and they need haircuts, terribly.

Friday, July 20, 2012

And Just Smiled

Ugh.

I have not posted in quite awhile. I have several different reasons for that, one being that I'm just really busy, ya know, being a single mother of three and all. Another reason is that I'm not getting as much organizing done as I'd like, and I'm supposed to be posting my progress, but I just haven't been in the mood to organize. It's depressing. And last but not least, I'm just blah. I'm ready for August 1st to be here and gone, so I can get out of this weird mood.

There are so many thoughts that go through my mind throughout the day, and so many emotions that I've been feeling recently with the first anniversary of Luke's death quickly approaching. My mind goes back to that day, to that phone call when I still had hope that he was coming home to us. My mind goes to what it used to be like, trying to remember what it felt like when we embraced each other. I force my mind to not think about what would have been if he had come home, to where my sons would have their father. And now I'm facing the realization that I am not only forgetting things that I forgot when he was on deployment, but I'm forgetting things I could remember until recently, like the sound of his voice when he sang. Granted, thanks to technology, I am able to listen to his voicemails, but I loved it when he sang a certain song, and I want to hear it again. We played it at his funeral, and I'm pretty sure he sings it to Jesus now, which means I'll hear it again.

Yesterday I was doing the boys' hair before church. I called them into my bathroom, put some gel on my hand, rubbed in a little water and put the combination into their hair. They like to use their dad's hairbrush, so I had it in there and I picked it up to start brushing Zachary's hair.

I decided to smell it.

And it smelled JUST like him.

We all smelled it at least once, and just smiled.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Getting Organized

We've been living in our new home for several months now, and I am finally ready to get ORGANIZED!
After I moved into my home, I began looking online for resources on how to get organized or suggestions on how to sort through a loved ones belongings. Here's the problem, everything I found was regarding different situations where they would divide ALL of the belongings amongst family members. Obviously, I still need the majority of the things in the home, and I am by no means ready to part with any of his belongings. 
So, what about widows? What about us young widows with young children? My goal is not to create a shrine to my husband, but hold his memory dear for the boys to remember and learn about who he was.

Finally, thanks to Pinterest, I stumbled upon a website! You can find her blog at "Modern Parents Messy Kids". I will be using this site as a guide to lead me through organizing my entire house.

This summer, it is my goal to get organized. I have to get organized, for my sanity.
As I go through this task, which will hopefully start in the next two weeks, I will take pictures of the before and after, and I will post tips or things that I may encounter. I know this will be exciting to cut a ton of stress out of my life by being organized again, but I also know that it will be emotional to go through and part with some things. 
Please join me in this if you need to get organized, or just learn more about how to get organized!
It's time.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Perspective

Perspective.....

I'll be honest and confess that sometimes I want to shake people when they complain about their circumstances and yell "Get some perspective!" in their face. Complaining about not seeing their husbands, having a rough day, "playing" single parent, and frustrating things that their husbands may do. I want to tell them that "playing" single parent and being a single parent are completely different, I've done both and caring for my three sons under the age of six, while grieving, is the HARDEST thing I have ever done in my life. I also want to tell them to treasure every breath, every moment that they have with their spouse, as it can be gone in a second. And if they're temporarily gone, stop throwing it in the faces of those of us who will NEVER have ours back.

But, then I realize just how selfish I am and that I need some perspective, and here is why:

  1. I don't know each individual circumstance, I don't know exactly why that person may be upset or what is going on behind the scenes.
  2. Not everyone handles things the same way, people grieve and cope with things in completely different ways. It's not my place to judge how they do so.
  3. There is always something to be thankful for. My boys and I are healthy, we have a beautiful home, a great vehicle, my kids are getting a Christian education, I have the best friends and family, I love my church, and much more!
  4. I think this one can apply to all of us and while it's so cliche, it's true. While my circumstances are not ideal, as many of yours are not as well, there is someone much worse off than me. When I start thinking or complaining about the next thing that's happened in my journey, I try to remember the widows of past wars. I try to think of that widow who is not only suffering through her own grief, but is also suffering from cancer. I try to think of my children, and the pain that they feel or will feel. I think about those in other countries that don't have the freedom that we have here.
There is so much that each and every one of us can be thankful for. It's all about perspective, not self. I want to apologize to those that I have gotten angry with when I feel they need some perspective, because I know that some may feel the same way about me. I'm not going to lie, I know I'll continue to get upset about it, and maybe even hide some people on Facebook to avoid having those feelings, but I hope that the next time that I want to get upset about it, that perspective slaps me across the face.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Launch Giveaway!

To celebrate the launch of my new domain, I will be doing another giveaway! Plus, it's nice to do something fun and happy, instead of focussing on the negative all of the time.

As most of you know, I am a HUGE advocate of supporting my fellow military wives and their businesses. For my last giveaway, one of my followers received a custom JKuddleBug nursing cover, which will be very handy for her soon, if you know what I mean!

This time I will be highlighting a friend of mine, Michelle, who has a Scentsy business! You can win any Mid-Size Warmer of your choice, along with one Scentsy Bar of your choice!

Great deal, huh? Here's what you have to do to win:
Please go to my Facebook page, and "Like" it. Once you've done that, you can either send me an email at foreverhis2011@ymail.com or you can simply comment on the photo on my Facebook page, and you will be entered for the contest.


The contest will end on Monday, May 28th (Memorial Day), at 9:00pm, EDT. I will randomly draw a name, and announce the winner that night!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day.

He gave me a card before we ever had children, because I was the future mother of his children. He gave me my first Coach purse on Mother's Day, and he also sent me to the spa one year. It was a day that he went all out for me because he knew how hard of a job it was (is) to take care of our little men. While very difficult at times, those three little men are what get me up every day and keep me going sometimes.

I've discussed how hard it is to watch my children grieve. It's one of the hardest things I have ever done, and I imagine it will be one of the hardest things I will ever have to do. At times it is pure torture having to watch Tyson, especially, try to process what is happening. He is angry, and he is just plain sad. He had his school pictures taken recently. He decided to wear a camouflage shirt, take his "Daddy Doll", and a picture of him and Luke. I was talking to my mom after we were able to view the picture, and she mentioned that the spark that Tyson's big, beautiful eyes used to have is gone. It occasionally comes back, but not often anymore. I hate that such a young and tender heart has to feel so much pain. I would take it all away if I could. When I look into his eyes, I see sadness and agony, but I know it will get better in time. Then I thought that must be what my mom sees when she looks at me. Her only daughter, wandering through the same sadness and agony that I see in my children. I'm not the only one that has to watch their child grieve.

Being a mother is such an amazing experience. Carrying that child in your womb, while feeling their nudges and kicks, and then going through the beautifully natural process of giving birth in itself is amazing. But then to be trusted with these lives, and their souls can be daunting. To know that I am responsible and will one day be held accountable for the type of mother that I am makes me rethink a lot of the decisions I make in a day. Here are some things that I want to work on in order to become a better and more Christlike mother:
  • Listening- I've decided to try to be more conscious of listening to my boys when they speak. They may be young, but they have a lot to say.
  • Speaking - I've decided to try to say nicer things to the boys when they are fighting with each other, or disobeying. Speaking out of frustration will only fuel their anger and will cause them to continue to fight.
  • Hugging - I want to hug my boys more. Sometimes I get so caught up with the baby, trying to keep the house in some sort of order, and just the craziness, that I forget to just grab my boys, hug them, and tell them how special they are. I also want them to know how thankful I am for them.
  • Meal time - I've decided now that I'm starting to cool more meals on a consistent basis, I'd like to have dinner at the table every night together. I feel as though the boys and I are disconnected. This last year has kicked us all in the gut, and we need to refocus on being a family.
~

Totally off subject, but I've starting crafting again, here are some pictures of things that bring me pure joy.



Thursday, May 10, 2012

Domain Change

Hey everyone! I will be changing my domain soon, as I want to reflect where I am at as a blogger. I still have the desire to write about natural childbirth and mothering (which I need to do more of), but since I'm not pregnant anymore, I'd like to change my domain to reflect us starting our new life. With that being said, I would like to introduce my new Facebook page. Please go "Like" it, and watch there for the official domain change. Thanks for your continued love and support.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

This is not my best writing; it is not pretty or eloquent, but it's what's happening and how I'm feeling. Hope to read some comments!
I'm lonely, and it feels like it's been so long. He left last April, and once he left, there were few phone calls and emails. I grieved when he left, which I never did when he deployed. I knew it was part of the job and while I hated it when he was gone, I knew he'd be back. This time was different, I don't know if we had a "gut feeling" or what, but God allowed me to grieve a lot when he deployed. Sometimes I think He did that to help me adjust a little easier to being a widow, but I'll never know that for sure. It's getting a little easier these days now that I have more control over my emotions, and as time passes. I'm occupying my time with the boys and the house, and I'm even considering going back to school in the fall. There are some really good days, like yesterday. My mom took the older boys for the entire day. So, Quentin and I hung out together. I cleaned the house, did some important stuff, and enjoyed having the break. That evening, some of my Marine family and my biological family met up at Tyson's school for his school carnival. It was so much fun! There were so many people that it was a little overwhelming, but so worth it to see the kids have a good time and just share time with people that I love. There are some great days.
But then there are bad days; days when the paperwork is pouring in, the boys are fighting, and I start to freak out. A few weeks back I found out that someone decided to file taxes under my deceased husband's SSN. How dare they do that? Don't they know that my husband is a hero? I felt invaded, I was mad...... really mad. I had also lost (not due to death, but by choice) a friend that I truly care(d) about and miss, and the combination was overwhelming. Sometimes I feel like I will be able to start dating at the end of the summer, beginning of fall. And then I wonder how I could ever let my heart go to someone else.

~

When Luke was first killed, Zachary cried when Tyson and I cried, but I don't think he really understood it. At his daddy's funeral, I held him and he just kept rubbing my back as he was very unsure of what was going on. The truth is that he is starting to grieve, but he really doesn't understand enough to know what happened. He definitely remembers his daddy, which I think is even more confusing for him. Tyson can distinguish that his daddy is dead, Zachary thinks he is just gone and is not coming home. Today I had a pretty bad headache and I was lying on the couch resting with Zachary. I said that I wanted to just go to sleep, but we had a few hours before bed time, so I would just take it easy. Zach said "Don't go to sleep, when daddy gets hurt you have to drive and go get him." I just looked at him and asked him what he said, he said "Never mind." I told him to tell me and he said the same thing about picking daddy up, and then said "You stand me? Do you stand (understand) me, mommy?" I started to tear up and he said "Don't. Please don't. Just go to sleep."
The realization of our life is setting in for my sweet Zachary. He doesn't completely understand where daddy is, although if you ask him he will tell you that he is in heaven with Jesus. He's also talked about how there are two daddy's, a good one and a bad one. The best way that I understand it is the "bad daddy" is the one that was killed by the bad guys, that's why he associates him as being bad. The "good daddy" is the one that I'm supposed to go pick up and bring home. He doesn't understand. He also told me today that the Marines put holes in his daddy. I told him that the Marines are good, that mommy and daddy are Marines, and the bad guys put the holes in daddy with a bomb. He then told me that he was going to be a Marine and go to Afghanistan. My heart hearts so bad for him, I can hardly stand to see him in pain, but not knowing why.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Grasping

I reached for my phone, assuming it was Luke. It was around 5:30 in the morning, so who else would it be? I saw the area code "703" and I knew who it was. It was Headquarters Marine Corps, calling to tell me he was hurt. I thought I had prepared myself for this, but not for what was coming. I quickly (as fast as a 5 1/2 month pregnant lady on an air mattress with two kids can) got out of bed and went in the other room to quietly answer the phone. It was what I had suspected, a Gunnery Sergeant informed me that my beloved had been injured and told me the few details he had. I asked a few questions as I grasped my friends bed post, trying to stay standing.

I got off of the phone and my friend and her husband tried to reassure me. We sat on the couch for the next few hours. He promised he'd call if something happened and I always told him he may not be able to, what if he was in surgery and couldn't? But I longed for his voice, for that weird phone number to pop up on my phone. I had gone weeks without hearing from him, and it had only been 2 days since I last talked to him, but I had never desired a call so badly. I had the fear in the back of my mind that he wouldn't pull through, but I guess we just expect that as long as we don't get the knock on the door, then we're in the clear. It was almost a sigh of relief, that he'd be out of there and here, in my arms again. That certainly wasn't the case.

When I called the Gunny back a few hours later for an update and he asked for my address, I knew it. I knew he was gone, but I just hoped there was a mistake. He put me on hold and I just said "God, let it be a mistake!" It wasn't, and I again grasped onto the bed and cried "Oh, God, no!" as I was informed that my love was now standing before his Father.

This week has been rough. I'm doing some soul searching, and trying to let go of those strings, those connections that I am grasping onto in an effort to not let him go. But eventually, it will have to happen. I have to let some things go and move on. In my own time, of course.

This week, I threw away his shampoo and conditioner.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Raw Facts of Vulnerability

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, vulnerable is defined as "capable of being physically or emotionally wounded."

If there's one thing I've learned so far in my journey, it is that WIDOWS can be very vulnerable. In my case, I was pregnant when my husband was killed in Afghanistan. Women who are pregnant don't always feel the greatest, or have the highest confidence in themselves. My life had also been turned upside down, from having the love of my life to reassure me, to talk to, to share my every thought with, then he was suddenly gone. There was, and still is, a gaping hole, a massive void that is searching for something to replace it.

Finding someone to replace part of that void is oftentimes way too easy. In all actuality, it's not "finding" that person, it's more like it just happens, it sneaks up on you. And before you know it, you've shared your soul with this person and realize that instead of focussing on your grief, you were focused on a distraction. Then you feel as though you've fell into a deep hole and can't get out. Everything is connected and the grief is unbearable at that point and you don't even know where to begin.

I caution all widows to be very careful, because while people may not understand our vulnerability, nor respect it, it is very real and happens without any realization of what's going on, until the emotional damage is done.

The fact is that I married my first love, and I want him back. Clinging to things that represent or are connected to him are not the answer. He wasn't perfect, neither was I, and our marriage wasn't perfect either; but we loved each other, and we were going to make it work no matter what challenge hit us next. I remember when I got the call that he had been injured; all I could think about was how we would get to where he was and get through this together, I would be there for him just like he was there for me when I went through what was the biggest challenge of my life at the time.

I love my husband with all of my heart, and I don't know what God has for my future. But I'm glad that I am aware of my vulnerability and I can move forward in my life and focus on the three amazing blessings that my husband and I made together.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Deodorant

Today, I taught Tyson how to give himself a shower. He did great and loved being a big boy. After his shower, I let him do something special.

He got to use his daddy's deodorant.

He put it on all by himself, with the biggest smile I've seen in awhile. It set the tone for his entire day. He put one of his favorite shirts on, I did his hair, and we were off to school.

Letting him wear Luke's deodorant was bittersweet. It was sweet because it made Tyson so happy to be able to do something that his daddy did. To hold something his daddy held. And he smelled like him. It was bitter because every turn I made to push the deodorant up was one push away from him, from preserving every item he ever touched or used. Facing the reality that one day, I will have to go through his things, and not keep every old battery that was tucked away somewhere, just because he simply touched it.

I never knew that putting deodorant on after a shower could bring on so many emotions. But once again, my Tyson has done it. I'm happy that every time I give him a hug today, I'll remember a piece of my love.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Heartbeat

I first want to say that I know some of my followers may not listen to music like this, so if it will offend you, then don't listen to it. I am posting this song because it says what I wish I had back.


After only four months of marriage, a friend of mine lost her husband. At the age of nineteen, she was a widow. That's such a creepy feeling, calling yourself a widow. It makes you feel old and worn, it instantly ages you, turns your life into something different. It's like you were given a new set of eyes to notice things that don't matter anymore. You almost have a need to tell everyone to treasure every breath, every heartbeat that their love has.

I remember this friend saying that she would listen to her husband's heartbeat while lying in bed. Once her husband had died and she arrived at the hospital, she laid her head on his chest one last time, desperately hoping to hear and feel his heart beat.

There was nothing.

After hearing her tell this story, I cherished every chance I had to hear my loves heartbeat. It was so strong, just like him. It was loud and full of life. I remember being next to him and putting my head on his chest, trying to remember every beat, memorizing the rhythm of his heart, hoping that I would never have to try and remember it.

It's hard to understand that the thing that was once a resonant pulse pumping life into his veins, is the same thing that eventually killed him.

I try my hardest to not think of that day, but sometimes my mind wanders without even realizing it until I feel like I've been kicked in the gut. As memories of his smile, touch, and voice are continuing to fade, I am desperately trying to grasp every single one of them.

Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine him wrapping his arms around me once again and feeling his heartbeat, knowing that it meant everything was fine. That it was all a nightmare that I've finally been able to wake myself up from.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Some Nights

Pictures.

Emails.

Voicemails.

His fleece.

Our sheets.

Love letters.

His scent.

Loneliness.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My First Giveaway!


I love creative people, and I love being creative!
Many of my fellow Marine wives have home-based businesses and I love supporting these wonderful ladies.
So, with that being said, I will be doing my very first giveaway! This week will be Jolene from JKuddleBug.
I love to have a bunch of different and coordinating items as a new mommy, and Jolene does wonderful customized baby products.
I have several nursing covers, and I love the one that I purchased from Jolene. So, this weeks giveaway will be a customized nursing cover from Jolene.
All you have to do is like her Facebook page (click here to like it), and comment on this post in order to enter your name into the drawing.
The giveaway will end this Monday, January 23rd, at 8:00pm.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Splitting Headaches and Puffy Eyes

Last night was a bad night.

I am going to quickly give into self-pity and then continue with my story, but here it is:
It's been a rough week, and sometimes I just want a break. It seems as though everything we (as a family) start, something bad or negative has to happen. There are days where I wake up and wish I had no emotion, no feeling whatsoever. There are so many emotions and thoughts going on that I wish I just didn't have to feel, at all. I have guilt, anger, sadness, regret, happiness.... you name it, I probably have it. When I get into these grooves, it's hard to get out and I feel like I have no control over my emotions, like I'm all over the place and making absolutely no sense. I certainly feel bad for the people who deal with me.

Ok, I'm done. That wasn't too bad, was it? Now, onto my point.

The weirdest things trigger grief; once it was seeing the soy milk at the grocery store and thinking that I needed to get some for Luke. Last night it was after I bought my new bedding set to match my bedroom, which means I'm moving on and removing the bedding that we received as a wedding gift. I had felt it coming on all day, but then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Thoughts of my husband being hurt, and in pain, were overwhelming.

After spending the evening thinking, crying, and asking questions, I went to my closet, smelled his deodorant, and fell asleep while holding the fleece that he used to wear all of the time. The one that he left for me when he deployed. The one that he gave me the last time I saw him, alive.

I went to bed with a splitting headache and woke up with one that was not much better. I also spent some extra time putting makeup on this morning before church, trying to hide the bags under my eyes from the amount of crying I did, and from the lack of sleep as well. My eyes were still puffy and red from when I went to bed after 1am this morning.

While there are days that are just plain hard, there is always something to be thankful for. Today I am thankful for my new church family and the blessing that they have been to me. I am thankful for friends, and I am very thankful for family. I am also thankful for my salvation; because of this, I know that one day I WILL see my love again.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Boys

When I look at my three beautiful boys, my heart aches.

My mind often goes back to the morning of August 1st. A few hours after I received the phone call to tell me that my husband had been injured, I cautiously approached Tyson (desperately trying to control my own emotions in an effort to help him), and told him that his daddy had been hurt. He cried, and we held each other. But as a four-year old with limited knowledge on the subject would do, he quickly became side tracked.

Then I was told that my husband, the father of my three children, and their daddy, was dead.
I won't go into the whole story of how I found out, but I was alone with four children when I was told. I immediately lost it and began sobbing. I could hardly stand up, wishing I could have had one last phone call where I would have told him how much he meant to me, to tell him that he was my rock, and that I needed him. Even though I didn't tell him those things then, I had told him in the past, and I only hope that he knew it.

After I heard the news, I immediately called two friends, two amazing friends who have been by my side through many rough days. After I called them and they were on their way, I kept as far away from the kids as I could. I didn't want them to see me this way, I didn't want to scare them. I had to tell Tyson, but I had to wait until I had control of myself. My friend got there quickly and she just held me, she couldn't understand me when I called her, but she knew what had happened. My other friend and her son arrived shortly thereafter and we all just sat there in shock.

Later that afternoon, after the calls had been made and paperwork had been done, I had to do the hardest thing I have done in my life so far. I had to tell my two little men, with their big brown eyes and innocent hearts, that their daddy had gone to heaven, for eternity.
I told them, and Tyson began to cry as he completely understood. Zachary started crying, but I think it was more because he was doing what he saw Tyson and me doing. While many would not believe it, Zachary is very sensitive and sweet (you just have to wait to find that out).

My friend and I, and our four kids went on base to distract the kids and me, and to get some items for the plane ride to Dover. I cried most of the way there, most of the time in the store, and most of the way back home.

That night, Tyson could not sleep, neither could I. I tried to sleep on the couch, but I just laid there, thinking and crying. When I discovered that Tyson wasn't sleeping, I let him come lay on the couch with me. He still couldn't sleep, so he got on the ground and asked a few questions about why the bad guys killed his daddy, why he didn't shoot them with his gun, why he didn't take the gun in the shower with him. He was asking questions that no four-year should have to even think about. He finally fell asleep on the floor.

For the next few days, we tried to force food down Tyson's throat. We succeeded that next morning by getting him to eat a pop-tart, but not much else. He bounced back pretty quickly, and we couldn't help but laugh at him when we got to the USO in the Philadelphia airport on our way to Dover, when he ate 2 1/2 hot dogs (with mustard, of course) and drank a Coke on his own.

When we got to Dover and watched the dignified transfer, reality set in for my sweet boy. I was holding him when he began sobbing as he saw his daddy's "transfer case" being unloaded off of the plane. I gave him to my father-in-law, as I was 5 1/2 months pregnant and could not stand to hear, see, or feel my baby in such pain.

Many people underestimate children and just expect them to not understand what is going on. That certainly was/is not the case with Tyson. He asks a lot of questions and fully understands what happened to his dad. He has a lot of emotions about it, sometimes he is angry, sometimes he is sad, and sometimes he is happy because he knows that his daddy is in heaven, singing to Jesus the same songs he would sing to him on Saturday mornings.
I quickly realized that my child is simply amazing.

Before my husband's funeral, the family was able to have a few moments to view Luke. I went in first, alone, as I needed to see him and sob my heart out one last time to him. I didn't know it, but I cried so loud that they could hear me in the other room. After a few moments alone with my love, I pulled myself together and brought our children in with me, alone. I held Zachary in my arms and held Tyson's hand with my free hand, while Quentin was safe within me. I was prepared for Tyson to be confused by seeing his daddy, I also expected him to cry. But when the three of us walked over to the casket, I looked down at Tyson while preparing myself to have to bend down and hold him in my arms, but I found something different. I found those huge eyes looking at me, and those chubby cheeks bent upwards in a smile. He knew his daddy was ok, he was in fact much better off than we are, as he was in the presence of the Lord, and that made him happy. For the next 15-20 minutes that the family stayed at the funeral home, Tyson proceeded to touch his daddy, play with his uniform, rub his hair, and yes, he even stuck his finger in his ear (disgusting, I know).

That day I learned to never think that a child could not be capable of something ever again. I also learned that God can use children in special ways, as that little boy was one of the only things that got the entire family through the funeral. His understanding and peace were truly admirable, and I think we all can learn something from his sweet and pure heart.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Saturdays

One of the hardest days for military wives, while their husbands are gone, are Saturdays. While many other families are out enjoying their time together, they are often stuck at home feeling lonely, or they go out with friends (oftentimes feeling like a third wheel). Thankfully, during deployment you have a light at the end of the tunnel until you can spend those precious days as a family again. Whether it's sitting at home just playing with the kids, or if it's a road trip to somewhere fun, there is that day that you get to look forward to.

It's been one of those Saturdays for me. The one where I want nothing more than to have my husband here and to be a family. To watch him play with the boys again, for them to wash the cars together like they used to do, to imagine him holding Quentin, and us watching a movie together at the end of the night. But this time, there's no date that I can look forward to in my head, or a weekend countdown until he'll be home. He's gone, and that reality feels awful, and it feels lonely.

In an effort to be more positive and to not give in to self-pity, I must say that I am extremely thrilled and cannot wait for summer. By then, Quentin will be on a good schedule, and I envision the boys playing on their play set in the backyard, while I get ready for my family to come over for a BBQ, where we'll eat on my back porch. Now I just have to get a play set, a grill, and furniture for the deck. But it's fun to imagine, right?