Friday, July 23, 2010


Dear Tommy,
In a few hours it will be July 24th-- your birthday. You would have been 26, but I sit here right now and think about how you will forever remain 25. You will never get older and watch our children grow into teens and adults. You will never retire and travel around the world with me like we planned.

I sit here and think back to May 9th, Mother's Day. Jena came over tonight and we were talking about that night. I have said before and will say again just how grateful I am to her for giving me one last night with you. I paid close attention to the songs on the radio as we drove around together for the last time. I remembered them all because I knew that you wouldn't be with me much longer and I wanted to have memories of everything that I could hold onto from that last night. Some of them were just normal songs and some of them really struck me as significant. One of those was Jay-Z's version of "Forever Young" and I tired not to cry then and there thinking in that moment that you would always be Forever Young.

I am sobbing at the moment trying to push that pain away. I have found a way to do that lately, but thinking about you and your birthday right now is making it impossible. To think of that night and the following day rips at my soul. If I had done a little more, tried a little harder, if somehow I could change things even now, then you would be here with me tonight and we would be celebrating your birthday tomorrow. The kids aren't with me, but I will be sending you balloons and a note just like we did before and will do every time we want to talk to you. It's probably better without Nathan here tomorrow because I don't know if I could handle this first birthday day while watching your mini-me running around.

I think I'm going to stop by Arlington to see you on Sunday. I miss you so, so much. I love you, Tommy. No matter what my heart is always yours.

Happy Birthday My Love!

Your Wife,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


As per Mike's request... Paragraphs, lol ...

It's strange how some days you feel fine and other days, well... your heart just feels like it's ripping out of your chest all over again. Yesterday was one of those days. It started out great: went to the gym, did some more organizing around the house, relaxed a little, but then... I guess my good day came crashing down for a while.

First of all I started to Finally watch the rest of the Big Love episodes that have been sitting here for 2 months. I thought I could do it. I've been happy lately (yes I did use that word correctly-- happy), so I didn't think anything would bring me down, not even this (note: see blog titled "Big Love" for significance) But no, that was not the case. I got anxious and had to turn it off. I cried a little and then went to check my mail. What did I find? First was some more death certificates. Really? Do I need more of those? Well, Apparently. But that just made me lose it. I also had a card in the mail from my cousin. It was a really sweet card to show me her support and love. Her words were sincere. It made me cry even more. She was very encouraging. As I read it I actually believed I was the woman she described me to be. I hope I am that woman-- the "strong, beautiful, and courageous woman"... "despite the pain and grief." I am trying to be strong.

At first strong was the word that angered me the most, but now I try to embrace it. I have been through some hard things in life just as we all have. I have made it out and keep on pushing. Strong is a word that I try to live by-- that I am choosing to live by. But it still made me sad to think that I have to be strong because of the circumstances I am in. I am working on getting myself past this part and I am on my way. I am becoming a stronger person, but I am not there yet. I still get weak and weary almost daily.

After I read the card I turned on the TV and started watching Family Guy. Of all the shows in the world, I would think that this and That 70's Show would make me cry the most. But no, somehow it was comforting. I felt like Tom was there with me for a little while. He used to quote Family Guy AT LEAST twice a day. And if he ever quoted something I wasn't sure of, my first guess would be Family Guy and I was almost guaranteed to be right. The two episodes that were on were perfectly picked for me. I laughed and talked to Tom about it just as if he was here with me. It was in a way very unsettling, though. Here I am in the flesh and I'm holding a conversation with my husband whom I can't see or hear, but just feel his presence sometimes. (And let me note that "conversation" is probably the wrong term because it was obviously one sided). He made me smile for a little while. I really felt like we were there together; it was so nice.
...I got it Tom, I really got it. The message that you sent with the second episode, I know what you were trying to say. The song. I got it. Thank you, because it meant a lot to me...

Some days are harder than others, I am very well aware of this. I am having more better days than bad days lately and I am so thankful for that. I'll take what I can get while I can get it. Nothing is lasting in this life. Sometimes that is a sad thing, and other times its that hope that "this too shall pass" that gets us through. I am good with where my life is right now. I feel like I'm just living. I don't have to plan or worry or make huge decisions. I can enjoy myself and all that surrounds me.

I am learning more and more about who I am again and what I want in life. I love when something jumps out and just gives me the wisdom I need to hear. It's happened twice today. The first was quote that one of Tom's friend's Mom posted on facebook that I re-posted myself. It said, “If the essence of my being has caused a smile to have appeared upon your face or a touch of joy within your heart. Then in living - I have made my mark.” T.Odem. I would like to believe that I have been that significant in other people's lives from time to time, leaving my mark in a positive way on the world.

The other piece of wisdom I got today was from Big Love... Yes today I can handle it with no tears, go figure. You really never know what or when something will set you off... Anyway, it's nothing too deep, but it kind of goes with a conversation I just recently had with someone who asked me what I want out of life. Well, Margene was talking to a woman and said, "Something like this doesn't happen very often. When you meet someone who makes you feel like a better person, someone who makes you realize that you can be more than who you are. If you ask me, that's love. Sometimes you have to fight for it." I agree that things like that don't happen often, but it's nice when they do. I know exactly what I want from life and this is one of the greater things I am hoping for one day. I'd love to say that I will find everything I want in life-- or maybe better yet, that it will somehow find me. I do not know what life has in store, but I am excited to see where I am in the next 6 months, in the next year. I feel like this "journey" I have been on is going to become an adventure. That in itself is exciting.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Better Place

I think God puts people in our lives for a reason. I always have. I think every opportunity to meet someone new or spend time with someone you already know is a chance to learn and grow. Sometimes we don't understand why we meet people and in reality, I don't think we are always supposed to. I think that when we have the privilege to see the results and effects that others have in our lives we are very blessed.
I have contemplated the lessons I have learned from people in my past on multiple occasions. Sometimes I revisit those thoughts and see if there is anything new I can take away from experiences based on where I am "now" in life.

Why am I talking about all this? Well, because I have met a lot of new people in the past two months that I would have never met if May 10th had turned out differently. I have had conversations with some of those new people who said that there are positive things to happen from every situation. I know a few other people have said it, also, but this was a totally unbiased opinion that wasn't directed At Me or Us or Our Life, but made in general.

Today I am happy to be alive. I haven't felt that way in 2 months, but I am. Last week after the burial I started slowly on this new path, but I feel that I am in full swing right now. I am glad that I am still here and I want to live and be happy and enjoy life. I can't control everything, right? But it's what I do with what I am given. The whole 90/10 rule and all. So, it's what I do with the rest that is going to matter as I start to move forward.

I love when I meet people and realize their significance in my life. They may not know it and our chance meetings may not have anything to do with them (or with me for that matter), but it's awesome to see it. It's awesome to see how God places certain people in our lives at just the right moments, whether it be for one conversation or many, there is a reason and a lesson to be learned. There are 2 people I have met recently who have given me some greatness within this darkness I have been living. They are 2 people who are very different and have played different roles in my life, but both significant in their own way. I feel awake and ready to face to the world. I don't want to hide away anymore. I want to embrace life and all the good it has to offer.

I am looking forward to my future right now. I am shocked that I have that feeling right now. I know it could all change and I will have my bad days, and weeks, but as I was reminded last night, happiness is contagious. I want to be happy, I want others around me to be happy. I want to have fun and enjoy life. It was asked of me yesterday at an appointment I had if I have ever been this free. I thought about it and said no. I am and it feels so good. I know that "freedom" is only temporary, as my responsibilities are still here waiting, but it's nice to have a much needed break. I am trying to look for the positives in life and I have found a few, even though I feel horribly guilty to even think that way, I do think of the good that is my life right now. I feel so blessed to be out of that horrid darkness I was in. I know it'll come back, but I'm good right now. Even after the upsetting (to say the least) incident in the truck yesterday, I am feeling good. I am trying to move forward. I know that it will be a long process and my love will always be there and the pain will always be there, but I need to be in a better place than I was just a few short weeks ago. I want to live life like it's an adventure. I talked with someone today who mentioned the song "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw. Most of the time we don't want to or don't' feel we are able to live that way, but that is exactly how I feel I want to live. I want to take those trips we talked about. I want to take the trips that "I" wanted to go on. I want to go places and do and see things that would be fulfilling to me.

I love you Tom, and I know you are always with me. I know that you are telling me to live and that is what I not only have to do, but what I want to do. I hope you stay with me as I begin this new adventure in life. I hope you are happy for me and that I make you proud. I hope that you are shining down on me and I will be thinking of you and carrying you with me every step of the way.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

No Section 60

Dear Tommy,
We laid your body to rest the other day. You are not where I wanted you. I suppose that is because you died here in the states and not in Iraq or Afghanistan. I guess that means that you don't rate to be in Section 60 with all of the other Fallen Heroes who died serving our country on foreign soil. They absolutely deserve to have a special section dedicated just to them. They deserve to be remembered for the sacrifice they and their families paid for this country of ours. I do not take any of that away from them. I think it's an honor to be at Arlington to begin with, and even more so there in Section 60.
But, Tom, those two wars Did take your life. No, not in the same way, and maybe the families of the men who died IN war would disagree with me and say that while you deserve to be in Arlington, you do not deserve to be there with their loved ones. I think you do! I know that suicide has such a stigma and you "chose" to die while they did not, but you didn't want to die. I know that. I know better than anyone how much you wanted to live. I know that you came home from Afghanistan wanting our lives to be happy. We were making lots of plans for this summer and for our future. People who really want to die do not make plans. But you were suffering for 3 years with the wounds that war caused. I know it's not the same to most people, but when you live it for 3 years and watch as the man you married and love slowly slips away, you know it, you understand that it WAS indeed war that took your husband. It WAS war that took you from us, Tommy. You wouldn't have been struggling for so long if you had never joined the Marine Corps or gone to war, but you did. That is what you wanted to do and while sometimes I hated it and wanted out of the military life, and while sometimes I didn't support your decision to re-enlist, I eventually did. I supported you and stood by you through some extremely hard times. I watched what war did to you and to our family. It wasn't pretty and I'm sorry, but I am pissed that you aren't in Section 60.
I told that to Bailey on the way to the airport yesterday and to paraphrase him, he said that you are in good company and that he would be fine being where you are, that it is an honor to be there at all and it doesn't matter where exactly you are. I feel better with him saying that, but not totally. Maybe not really at all. Maybe it wouldn't matter to you, Tommy, but it matters to me. I matters a great deal to me.
It was because of those 2 wars that you fought in that you took your own life and destroyed mine and our kids right along with it. I want people to walk past your grave and remember that you are a casualty of these wars. You gave your life for this country. It's because of your service that I am alone tonight, that our children are fatherless. I want people to know and honor you in the way you deserve. You were a wounded warrior just as much as someone who lost a limb. I know you didn't see it that way. That is why you turned down going to the Wounded Warrior Battalion when given the chance. I am mad and I feel I have every right to be. I am so tempted to pay and have you moved out of Arlington all together. I am sure that I will calm down enough not to go through with it, but that is how I feel. You gave your life for this country just as much as anyone else over there. I want that recognition and honor for you. If you had never joined the Marine Corps, if you had never gone to war, you would be here now. What is the difference? You were hit with multiple IED's in Iraq and thank God you lived through them, but you were still effected by them and everything else over there. You got a TBI from one of the IED's which played a major role in the change in you once you were home. It got to you. Maybe the war didn't kill you immediately, but it still killed you and Section 60 is where you belong.
With Love, Honor, and Respect,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Small World (Town)

Dear Tommy,

Ok, so of all the guys that came up to me tonight that asked me to dance and I said no to, one of them and I started a conversation. He said I looked lonely and you could tell that unlike the rest of the guys he was just asking to dance to have fun and be nice, not hit on me. So I started talking to him and about a minute into the conversation when I mentioned that you commited suicide, he asked where and I told him. He said he was there! We went outside while he smoked and I asked him what happened. I have thankfully been walked through your last hours, Tom, by those that were there earlier in the day (I am very thankfull that everyone was so willing to do that for me), but I wasn't walked through by those in your last minutes. This guy was nice, but wasn't RIGHT there. He did witness it, though and answered what he could. It was really nice to be able to have an actual picture of what happened. This town is so small and I have heard "through the grape vine" about what happened and have several different versions. This one was a first hand account and it was great to be able to have that perspective. I did have to leave very soon after that because I was ready to be alone and honestly, it totally sobered me up (not that I was that wasted to begin with). I wish I could talk to everyone there that day, but it is good just to hear some people's versions of "it." Thank you, Tommy, because I think I was meant to talk to him tonight. He was the only one I tried to strkie up a conversation with (because I knew he wasn't trying anything). I think you knew that and you knew that I've been Needing some of those answers.

I miss you and love you. Thank you for helping put my mind at rest in some small way. I still have questions, but that really helped.

Love always,