Monday, May 30, 2011

“But grief is not the end of all... I see beyond the forest the moving banners of a hidden column. Our dead brothers still live for us, and bid us think of life, not death--of life to which in their youth they lend the passion and joy of the spring. As I listen, the great chorus of life and joy begins again, and amid the awful orchestra of seen and unseen powers and destinies of good and evil our trumpets sound once more a note of daring, hope, and will.” Oliver Holmes, Jr.

Memories have become harder and harder to keep pure of my own imagination but there is one untouched memory in particular that I woke up with today. It was of David and I on the phone while he was on the beginning of his first tour in Iraq in 2005. I was at my parents house, pacing the floors of my old room while trying to deal with the 10 second delay on the phone. We were talking and laughing about silly things when in a brief moment of silence David asked, “Babe? Do you think they’ll forget me?” My heart instantly fell to the floor. “Forget you? Who?” “I don’t know... Everyone. Do you think they’ll forget that I’m here?” “I don’t think that’s possible, David. They won’t forget you. I wouldn’t let them.” He was in Iraq. And his worry was about being forgotten.

Even though the sacrifice given by our young American heros will be forever engraved into my soul, I wish that every story behind the sacrifice can be etched into my heart but there are too many... Although, today is just like any other day for me and families like mine, it’s a day for everyone else a chance to help us. Help us celebrate lives of bravery, perseverance, honor and sacrifice. Today is about the life lived and the future sacrificed so that we may have the chance to honor a nation with our own legacy.

So, under the beaming sun and brilliant blue sky, amongst the cook outs, hikes and shopping sales... Help us not forget. Join us in remembering the way brave men lived their life. Selflessly.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I do.

“For it is only by my willingness to obey where I do not yet fully see, that I can be led into the unknown territory this is love living itself into action. Beyond the grave there is only conscious love; only conscious faith, only conscious hope. It is the realm of eternal verities. But if I can allow myself to be led, I know I will be brought to my heart’s true home, and even more, to the invincible certainty that this impossible wager is true: love IS stronger than death and we WILL find our lives by laying them down.”

Lately I’ve found myself trying harder and harder to define what used to be so natural to me. Our love. Sometimes the feeling of being “sidelined” from the life we should’ve lived out becomes a thick fog over what’s most valuable to me. Today, I force the fog to clear. And I refuse to view the sidelines. Today it is only love I see.

As I work to clear my point of view this morning... to just TRUST David... the definition of love is becoming more evident, more pronounced even as I sit here... and it has been right in front of me all along.

What is love?

Love has no shape. No gender. No color. No race.
It is open. It is only open. It’s vastness grown more within an open heart. It EVOKES a better self- an “increase in being.” For some reason David and I never had to be told to put the other first... It’s what we mutually desired... for the other’s needs to be met. He made. me better; “increased” who I was- who I am.

“I want it because I think it helps him; he wants it because he thinks it helps me. After a while who gives what or why doesn’t matter anymore; only the giving itself matters.”

It’s not the feeling of love that’s most vital... but... the inner shifting of who you are... of your very nature. It’s the acknowledge for the other the same significance we we tend to see and focus on only in our selves.And with the possibility of this kind of love being reciprocated- the mutual understanding of “give-and-take”... This love... This love is the ultimate union. It’s the kind of love that isn’t put out by death but set free by it. It’s the kind of love that breaths life into my soul.

So today, July 2, 2010 marks our 5th wedding anniversary. To be honest we didn’t need a wedding ceremony to proclaim our love as eternal... as ultimate. But I’d like to think of myself as extremely lucky though, to have had this day with him. I am humbled by this kind of honor. I will never take for granted the moments we were given. I know too many who were not given the chance to say “I do” before their family. Since marriage is defined as “a close and intimate union” it is to you, my dearest friends, I say Happy Marriage Anniversary... today I acknowledge the union this kind of love has lead us to.

“For if what we really did was to bring into being an abler soul between us, then we are both accountable to it, and I must obey and trust even where I don’t yet fully see. I do not have to repeat what he did here; instead, what I must accomplish is something he did not do here; I must do it for both of us. An it can only be done in the one dimension he now lacks and I still have: time.”

David: You are the best of me. I’m smiling from ear to ear right now thinking about July 2nd... It was a fun day, baby... Happy Anniversary, My Love... “I know... I feel it.”


Thursday, September 3, 2009

When Memories Fail Me

I remember crying silent but painful tears in the back seat of someones car... we were running an errand for the memorial service and barely above a whisper, I asked, "What if I forget..." they too began to weep with me. Finally, they cleared their throat to answer, "You'll always have your memories."

I find that statement less than accurate. Because, for me, it sort of feels like the past 20 months have been a downhill battle for my memory. I fight. I fight hard to remember... to recall things we did, things he said, how it felt... But no matter how hard I try, I feel as thought I'm losing just a little as each month passes. There's so much I can no longer recall... and even more that I don't even know that I've forgotten until the need to remember hits me like bricks.

September marks the final days I was able to spend with David before he deployed yet again. Last September I went crazy trying to remember what we did the day before I dropped him off... I went into panic mode. I looked through journals- nothing. I looked at old calenders- nothing. And I looked through bank statements. I tried so desperately to piece together our final hours. I couldn't believe I had let myself forget. I still can't completely recall how we spent that day... but I can clearly replay how we spent that night... in each other's arms.

This September... the desperation isn't there... today, my nails aren't scratching at the door of memories. I think this time around, my hope isn't in the memories itself but in the "knowing" that there are memories. I know we were together. I know he remembers :). This morning, I woke up replaying our last vacation with my family in my head... there was a gap in the memory... but instead of beating myself with a memory stick I decided that when my memory fails me I'll just bask in what I could remember.

"The existence of forgetting has never been proved: We only know that some things don't come to mind when we want them." ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our Mountain

I remember when I was able to trust with everything in me. Trust God. Have faith. I knew I was blessed... Our lives were difficult, yes, but it was good. When the rug was pulled from under me I wasn't sure if I was going to ever reach that place again. The place where faith was second nature and trusting was never a question.

David and I used to describe that kind of trust like jumping off our mountain. We took in the scenery at the top of it and were always ready to give it all we got to jump off. We jumped when we joined the Army. We jumped when he deployed. And we jumped when he was stop-lossed. But I took the elevator straight down and off of that mountain when he was killed. I felt like a joke had been played on me my whole life. Or maybe I had no idea what trust and faith really was...

This month I've found myself back on our mountain... and I was asked to jump. I realize more and more that Love is the product of faith and trust... and trusting didn't mean I couldn't be scared out of my mind. I know what the bottom of my mountain looks like... so this month I've been appreciating being at the top of it again... looking out... preparing to jump... Loving the trust and trusting in love.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Road Less Traveled

I had no clue what to blog about today. I've been processing many things the past few weeks... but no idea how to begin expressing any of it in words. This quote was read to me this morning... (thanks, WSM!) and I believe it helped me sum up my findings:

“All of life is a journey. Which paths we take, what we look back on, and what we look forward to is up to us. We determine our destination, what kind of road we will take to get there, and how happy we are when we get there.” -Unknown Author

When I married David I knew I had started the journey of my life. A journey in which each step taken would only deepen our love for each other and the life we had in front of us. But I was not prepared for the roads our journey included. It took people all of one day after I received the news about my husband to ask, "What are you gonna do now?? What's next?" Next?! I wanted to rip their eyes! ...But I asked myself the same question... and I remember the exact moment I answered it.

I was siting on the floor beside my bed... frozen. Someone had asked for a pair of socks, which were under the bed... I went to grab one when I froze in a train of thought and lost all awareness of my surroundings. I was completely engulfed. And all I could think of was what I was about to do.


In that very moment I knew I'd survive. I had to. For David. Not an ounce in me wanted to, but I knew I would. In that moment I chose my path. The words "the road less traveled" kept popping in my head. I didn't know how to do it, or if it had been done before, or what it would even look like... I knew I was going to sound crazy BUT I just had to do it... I would continue this journey, right beside David.

Looking back... I realize I didn't understand the magnitude of all that I was asking of myself. It was all so fresh and raw. But I wasn't blind for long. Now having a better understanding of the burdens my path can acquire, my choice hasn't changed. Still, I have the same tug in my heart. The pull towards life and hope... the pull towards David and a pull for exploring the unfamiliar path of a journey continued with someone who's left this world. Our journey. At first, I thought of this new life as a curse. Strength- as a curse. Survival- a cruel joke. But when I set my mind to see the beauty in our journey, I'm always in....... AWE. In awe of what is behind us and especially in awe of what's in front of us!

Sometimes... Dare I say, on a really good day, I'm excited for what's next! At some point, and I don't remember when exactly... I stopped loathing the future and can even make a plan for a few months in advance! Don't get me wrong- the thought of 10 years still has the ability to make my stomach turn but it doesn't make me angry anymore... I think it's because I can better grasp that all these paths will end at David. He is my inevitable. My goal. My eternity.

Like the quote, He is my destination.

I just have to keep looking at the beauty along the road. The road less traveled.


Thursday, August 13, 2009


David is my best friend. And I say is because he's still the one person that knows every thing about me- good and bad. He's still the one person I want to call when things go wrong, the one person I want to get advice from when I have decisions to make, and the one person I want a hug from when my heart is heavy.

This week I really needed my best friend. I had things to do, decisions to make, flights to book, bills to pay, cars to fix... you know the drill. But all I reaaaaallly wanted was my other half; to hear David say that it all didn't matter. I wanted him to say he'll be home with a movie and a quart of ice cream and I wanted to see him smile. Sometimes I get so consumed by wanting that I can't feel his love.

Today, in the midst of all my wanting I forced myself to see all that I have of David and what I could look forward to. I have memories. I have letters. I have his love. I have God. David always said, "Its simple. Faith, Hope and Love." So today... I want hope. To get through... I have faith in the hope his love will bring.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

3 Amigos

After David died the quantity of my friends were seriously reduced. Most feared approaching me, most didn't know what to say when they did... Some pretended like his death never happened. It was a filtering process. At first, the filtering process surprised me. I didn't want to lose friends... especially those who knew David... but it was inevitable.

What I didn't know was that I would gain many more.

For the past week I've been with 2 special friends. We've gone shopping, went out to dinner, stayed up till all hours of the night and watched reality shows... We're all very different in many ways and alike in some. One likes the outdoors and country things... the other likes antiques and plaid... and I like the city and contemporary. All three of us come from very different back grounds... military, college, and missions. We all married the loves of our lives... all military wives. And all military widows. We met through the American Widow Project. We call ourselves... The 3 Amigos!

I never pictured myself in Florida with 2 other military widows but I'm so glad that I am. These women have given me so much... courage, support, and inspiration. I think we all know how important another widow is to our growth as a widow but I just had to say it one more time... I'm so grateful for the widows in my life.

Thank you, Amigos, I had an awesome week.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

110 Carriage Pl.

There's something daunting about entering the place where your life last thrived. I know for a while now that I had to make a trip to Clarksville, TN, where David and I were stationed,but I chose not to dwell on the idea. To be honest, we'd be happy in a cardboard box so long as both of us fit in it, but Clarksville was never our favorite place to be. Yet, it was our home, we built a life and had a routine... we were happy here. At one point, I vowed never to come back. But as fate has it, our tenants moved out and our house needed some fixing. So! Off to Clarksville...

I was doing good! ...Until I drove past Exit 4 on the highway... the beginning of Clarksville. The beginning of all the memories to come. My heart started raising and I had to catch my breath. Did I really want to do this?! ...Too late now, I guess. As the military base entered my view on the right a particular panic began in me and I knew if I didn't call someone I might just lose what strength I have left. I called my WSM. I needed another voice... someone to tell me I was crazy or I could do this. While on the phone I drove around aimlessly for a bit, collecting my mind and taking in all that was familiar. ...The walmart we always went to, his favorite taco stand, the post office, the park... I asked WSM to stay on the phone with me while I made my next stop... 110 Carriage Place... our home.

I sucked in a deep breath as I turned the corner past the street sign... our home in full view. "Memories are too painful for me," a woman once told me... I thought about this as I drove up to the house. I held the house key in my hand for a while... determined to go in... determined to make it through the next few minutes. I stood at the red door with the phone to my ear and the key in the door.

I couldn't do it. I couldn't open it.

I let the key go for a bit, then went to turn it... then let it go... I did this a few times. What if the place wasn't what I remembered? The tears began. The panic found me. I could do this...

I couldn't understand what WSM was saying but I did hear her say something about "good memories..." Yes. Good memories... I have good memories here. With that I opened the door. It was bright inside, open and airy just like I remember. The sunlight came flooding in from the all the windows in the same way it did the first time David and I saw the house. It's was made us fall in love with the place... it reminded us of California. It was perfect.

I walked straight to the spot I've daydreamed about most the past 18 months... an area on the floor not far from the door. I've longed to return to this simple spot on the carpet... the spot where we laid next to each other before I dropped him off the night he left to Iraq. The house was empty, all our furniture was in storage. We had no were to sit so we just sat by the door. It was in this spot where we spent our last moments in our home, in this spot I tried so hard to keep my brave face... in this spot where I cried... in this spot he kissed my tears. It was in this spot that he last held me... he held me the way I will never forget and always crave. One hand under the small of my back, the other under my head. Without thinking, I collapsed my body on the very spot and closed my eyes. I realized how much I love this place and just how good our memories are.

For the past three days I've been at 110 Carriage Place... a tiny house on a cul-de-sac, jam packed with good memories. Happy memories. Every wall, every room, ever cabinet- a memory. There is so much I didn't remember!! But I'm so glad I gave myself the chance to do just that... remember our best moments at 110 Carriage Place, because the woman was wrong.... because for me forgetting is way more painful then the quick sting of a memory.