Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August 18th

I don't know why the past couple of weeks I have kept thinking about this date, August 18th, where I was last year and where exactly I'd be this year. I think it's because I found the CD that had "August 18, 2009" written on it. It is filled with the pictures that Beth did last summer of the kids and me. I guess when I came across it I started to think about where I was in my life last year on that day and how much life has changed.

Here's a huge look into my personal life and where this past year has brought me. As of August 7th last year we decided to get a divorce. I was finally done with the back and forth dance we had been playing and when you said divorce (over something so stupid) I said fine. I didn't fight. I was done. I get that you were in the middle of a war and couldn't deal with anything even the dumb little thing that sparked it all, but I was so ready to give up. I thought that was it, but a few weeks later you told me how half of your life was miserable and the other half was over and didn't matter without me. The conversations we had made me terrified that you would follow through with your threats to never come home from Afghanistan. I promised you anything and everything and told you how much I loved you and couldn't live without you. I never lied about how much I loved you, I still do, and always will. The love wasn't the problem-- it was everything else.

Well, anyway, back to August 18th. Beth came to my Mom's house and set things up to take the photos. Avery LOVED the camera and posed which was hilarious since she was 11 months old. Nathan was a different story. He did Not want to take pictures. Beth told him that it was a trick they were playing on me and he finally cooperated with taking them. They turned out so darn cute! I hadn't planned on being in the pictures, but I went ahead and did a few. I remember thinking that was how it would be from then on-- just me and the kids taking "family" pictures. It just didn't feel right. it was so sad. We had never had a family picture done of all 4 of us.

Then like I said, you took back wanting a divorce and we decided to work things out. It was a struggle for me from then on, not because I wasn't sure if I loved you (though sometimes I tried to convince myself that I didn't), but because I could feel something bad was coming and I just couldn't shake that feeling. I was trying to protect and prepare myself for whatever was coming, though nothing could have prepared me for this reality. You came home and you were so much different-- better, human again. Things changed and I don't want to go through it all right now, but it didn't turn out the way I thought, hoped, or planned. Life happened. It was somewhat unexpected. For others I'm sure it was completely unexpected, but they didn't live with you. They didn't know you on the level I did. Still, I always thought 'He won't ACTUALLY do it. He would Never go THAT far.' I didn't want to believe it, though I've always known that possibility with you.

So anyway, 3 months ago you died, 6 weeks ago yesterday we burried you. Everyone said that closure woudn't being until after your burial. I get that now. And now? Now life has just totally thrown me for another tail spin, but this time I don't feel trapped in the rip current. I feel like somehow I'm about to ride the wave (not quite there yet, though). Today our son and I had a great day together having some much needed and over due "You and Me Time" as we call it. We went to Chuch E Cheese, got lunch from Red Robin and brought it home to put his new lego set together. (Oh by the way, Thomas, we eat in the living room now-- yes OCD Katie totally allows that AND shoes on the carpet, too-- for now). We had such a good day, though he started to ask some hard questions that broke my heart to answer. I love that little boy more than Anything and it kills me to know that he has ever felt a moment of pain in his beautiful little life. I wish I could wrap him in my arms and sheild him from everything bad in this world. I wish that he truly knew just how much I love him and that was all he needed in life to take away his pain. Wouldn't that be nice?If love could totally erase pain. How much more wonderful of a world we would live in.

I just sit here tonight and think about how different my life has become in the past year. All the different people who are in it right now versus last year. The direction that I thought my life was taking on this day last year and how vastly wrong I was. I couldn't even begin to tell you where it is headed now. I have given up on trying to figure out my future, well ok to some extent. I mean I have plans, but I know that any moment can come along and totally blow those plans out of the water. So I'm just living. I am one of those people who needs to feel in control of their own life, but I'm kind of ok with not trying to control everything in my life (or at least I'm learning).

Right now I have several paths in front of me. Different adventures that I am embarking on. I am here waiting, really. I mean I see certain things that I want and directions that I'd like my life to take, but I'm not going out of my way to try to figure out what will or should happen. I just assume that it will all play out and I just need to be patient and see what God has in store for my life. I suppose I'm trying to approach life a little differently these days seeing as though it didn't always go so well the other way.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Eat Pray Love

I went to see "Eat Pray Love" last night and it has the wheels in my mind turning even more than before. Since you died, Tom, I have just wanted to pack up and move away, start over somewhere and not tell anyone where I am. Yup. That is what I want to do. Problem is the kids. I do not have the option to just run and hide from all of the world. It sucks! It's not even that I want to hide form the world, I just want to experience the world. I want to live it in a totally different way.

Italy. That was the first place she went on her trip. It's the place I've been talking about going since the beginning. I am just consumed with the thought. I have contemplated going on my own, but since I don't know the language I have advised myself against it. So it's obviously not just like the movie, but I still just want to go so desperately. I can go somewhere else on my own where I can understand them. So, then it comes down to who will go with me and when. That is the next thing I am figuring out. A friend told me to wait until the spring and then they'd be able to go. But do I wait? Really, I'm not sure. I don't really want to wait that long for Italy and it's not a guarantee anyway. Part of me thinks 'Just Go, Katie! Just go on your own.' I am a big girl. I can handle it. But I do think it would be more exciting to go with another person. So...

Then where do I go now? I need to get away. Away from Jacksonville. Away from North Carolina. I need to go. Ok, I am feeling brave so I am going to share my secret here and make it so public that I can no longer hold this excuse to anyone. I don't want to be here, BUT I am so tired of people telling me to go back home to Delaware that I have used this house as my crutch for not leaving. Truth be told, I would have to rent it out and I have no desire to do that Or I could sell it and lose several thousands of dollars, which by-the-way I am Not Ok with. So, what are my options? I have too many to choose from right now, which means that I will just stay put for the time being until something tells me "it's time to move." I am ready for a sign, but I don't think there is one on its way just yet.

I told someone last night that my plan is to be here for 2 years because that is when the house won't cost me money and when I should be done my Master's and getting a job. I know that 2 years is a very long time and hopefully something will get me to where I need to be before that. But it's nice to have options and not have to decide right now. I can basically do anything I want really, which is funny since I talk all the time about how much I hate having to make decisions (then again I don't actually Have to, I just Can). I want out of this house though, for several reasons. I suppose that is why I just want to travel so much right now. Little trips, big trips, it doesn't matter.

Mike and I decided that we need to sit down and have a talk and I offered to drive up there just for that. I mean really, what is 8 hours right now? No big deal. I'll go for a day or 2. Not much else to do with my life right now? Well, after that little trip, then what? I want to do something and go somewhere Big! Even if it's Florida to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Haha Rachel!). You know I've never been to Florida. We were supposed to do that this summer (Thanks, Tom. Ha-ha?). I just feel like I need to be on the move for a while. I'd love to take Nathan and do something fun with him like that, but I don't think I have enough time to plan it before school starts. I am taking the kids to Midevil Times soon. Nathan still talks about going there (your Mom mentioned that, too). And yes, I said KIDS. I am super duper crazy, but I have no one to watch Avery and I told Nathan we'd go and really I think it's something he needs. He doesn't think we (him, Avery, and I) are a family without you and that breaks my heart. He doesn't think we can do all the fun things anymore, so I want to take him somewhere that we had good memories from and show him that we are a family and we can still have fun. I want to bring him somewhere that we have already been to create additional memories in a new way.

I want to do things with Nathan, but I want to do things on my own right now too. I have no idea what the next year will bring-- I don't even know what the next week will bring, but I don't want to pass anything up. If it matters, I must do it. And right now there are a lot of things that matter to me. Now, if I could just figure out which ones to do first, lol. Maybe I have so many things to do and places I want to visit because I can't get out of this town "forever" right now, but I really just need to escape. I think there is more to it, though.

I need to find me. I know that sounds selfish since I have 2 amazing kids, and I want and will be here for them the best I can, but if anyone knows what the past few years have been like for me, I think they'd understand that where I am at is not where I should be. I should've done things different, but here we are. I pretty much know who I am and what I want, I just have a little missing link on how to get there. That is the part I need to figure out before I can end this selfish phase I am in. I am enjoying the sense of freedom I have, but there really is some Thing that is missing still. And while I search for it I am going to live this life and enjoy all the good it brings to me. I have so much good to give back and want to share it all with everyone, I just am so thankful that right now I have some of it for myself.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rocking Chairs


Well tonight I spent some times sitting on our porch in the rocking chairs that I Finally bought the other day. That was one thing I said I Really wanted when we moved in here and you agreed. It was lonely a little and sad. I haven't been crying a whole lot lately, but I did while I was out there. I kept thinking about what it would be like to have you sitting there next to me. What would we talk about? Would you actually sit there and have a deep conversation about life, us, the kids, anything? Would you sit there and appreciate the stars with me? Would we just sit there in silence and enjoy each others company?

I keep picturing you in Savannah sitting on the balcony at the B&B we stayed in. You had your plaid shirt on, feet up, and smoking a cigarette. I guess that is how I picture you here (and with a beer in your hand of course, lol). I keep wondering about all the what-ifs and should-be's. I wanted to look over next to me and see your face. I wanted to turn to you and ask you for your opinion. I need your advice on something (well, lots of things, but tonight specifically one thing). Probably on something that seems ridiculous in many ways, but none-the-less You are the one person whose opinion would matter most on this issue. I wish it was like you could still send me messages somehow and tell me what is going on, what I'm missing, what I should be doing, which direction I am supposed to go in, etc. I did ask for a sign and sorta got one, but I'm not convinced. Can I have another one, lol?

I looked over at your vehicles while I was sitting there and tonight it was hard to look at them. I've been so mad and frustrated with you. I want to know where the vehicle titles are so I can get things taken care of much easier. I spent the whole day trying to get things done and I am not much closer. I just want to call you and ask you where things are. I want to call you and just hear your voice. I want to talk to you and most importantly, I want to put my arms around you. I miss your hugs. Somehow I'd get lost in them and I could stay like that forever. I miss how safe I felt in your arms. How the rest of the world would disappear when we were together and it was just us.

I just really miss you tonight and want you with me. I wanted to sit out there on our porch, at our house, and know what that was like. There are so many things that 'I just wish I knew' what it would be like. Would the little moments in life turn out to be as great as I imagine them to be in my head or would they fall short? I guess it doesn't matter because I'll never know. But tonight... I just wish...

I love you and miss you!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

3 Months Out

Today marks 3 months. It was a Monday (yesterday was Monday) that you died, but it was May 10th and today is August 10th. It's strange to think about everything that has happened in the past 3 months. It's gone by fairly quickly. I used to sit there and torture myself reliving the moments that my CACO and the Chaplin showed up, but now I really try not to. I'm sure I'll be reliving it again today. I did a little yesterday, but I wouldn't let myself dwell on it. I haven't had a good cry in probably over a week. Maybe I'll allow that for myself today.

I have decided that I am going to pack up a lot of your stuff. I wanted to do that from the very beginning, but didn't do it for the kids (mostly Nathan). Since he's not here right now I think I'll go ahead and do it. For me it's easier to not look everywhere I turn and see memories of you.
I want to keep your memory alive for the kids-- especially Nathan. But with Avery, I hate to say this, I think it may be better for her not to focus on you. She is so young and doesn't understand. It's not that I don't want her to remember you, I really do, but she is so confused. I told her the other day that Nathan was going to be here next week and she said "And Daddy!" She talks about you not being home and that you are outside. I'm not sure why she keeps thinking you are outside, someone said it's because she saw you walk outside that day and you never came back, so that is where she thinks you are. She is always talking to you and dancing for you. The big picture of you from the MarSOC memorial is on the floor against the wall for her to see and she is always over there talking to and about Daddy. It's so bitter sweet, I just don't know what is best for her. I talk about you a lot with her, too and I just don't want her confused and always asking for you. It's not like I'm going to erase you from our house or our lives or our memories, I just don't think it's healthy to keep things like you are still here and coming home any day.

So back to it being 3 months today. I have come a long way in the past 3 months. I mean really, from wishing and praying for God to take my life to where I am today is a huge difference. To tell you the truth, I am surprised at how well I am doing. I didn't think I'd be in 'this' place for a much, much longer time. I still miss you all the time and wish you were here, but I have found happiness in several areas in my life. I've been thinking about what I was doing on June 10th and really I can't tell you. I remember thinking about how "I can't believe it's been 1 month already," but I don't remember the events of the day. I wish I could, but I don't remember a lot in the first 6 weeks. I probably only have about 10 distinctive memories. Month 2 is a different story. I remember that day pretty well. And today, well who knows what today will bring and if I'll remember it next month. (Side note: as I'm writing this Avery is again talking to your picture and blowing kisses).

Well, I guess we'll see what today brings. I have to say that there is a bit of a heaviness today. I love you Tom. No matter what we went through, I can't help but love you forever. You were my first love, the father of our wonderful children, my husband. It's very odd to think about you being dead for 3 months and how I'll never see your beautiful face again. It's really sad and the tears have started. Rest in peace my love.

Your wife,

Monday, August 2, 2010

Just Processing Some Things

Dear Tommy,

I guess tonight I just want to share with you about the day I had. One of the guys from your unit came over for a little bit to do the whole "check in" on me thing, see how I was, and just catch up a little. It was a good conversation. I actually laughed quite a lot. It was good to talk about you with someone who knew you and worked with you. Avery really took to him. Not that I'm surprised since he was good with her. Nathan liked him a few years back when he met him, too. He remarked about how the last time we saw each other I was in a very differnt place in life and how surprised he was to see how well I'm doing at this stage in my life. I don't know if many people would call me a "positive person" (at least not about my own life), but he picked up on how positive I am right now. That meant a lot to me. I'm trying to put myself in a better place and I'm glad that it's working (to at least some degree).

After he left I went to check the mail. I had a card from someone I met at a new church I went to last week. It was very touching and just what I needed to hear right now. Part of it read: "If I have learned one thing in my life it's that God has a way of bringing people into relationships with one another during some of the most troubling and difficult times of our lives. Often these friendships are only for a season, and sometimes for only one reason. Often times they may lead to lasting friendships and relationships for a lifetime." I have been contemplating this a lot lately. I know you know that because I've talked to you about it.

There are just so many new people in my life right now. I know that some are here to stay and some are here for a short little while, but they are being deeply impactful none-the-less. I think everything happens for a reason. I have always had that mentality. Things don't always happen for the best, but something positive comes out of everything if you allow it and look for it. I would give anything to have you back, that is obvious, but I am just so thankful for the opportunites that have been presented to me. I do not want to miss out on anything that is put in front of me right now. I'm looking forward to starting my Master's and I'm looking forward to December for several reasons. I'm looking forward to making a difference and hopefully one day getting the chance to stand in front of Congress and address the concerns that need to be heard. I don't feel hopeless right now. I do have some reservations, though.

I have had several people say that I think I am ready for things that I really am not ready for. Maybe they are right. Maybe they are wrong. I am ready to take those chances, though and jump in with both feet and see where I land. That is where I am at tonight, looking at my future and evaluating the roads that lay ahead of me. That is the future I see for myself-- not one full of missed opportunities and regrets, but one where I can look back and say that even if things didn't go the way I planned, at least I have the satisfaction of knowing I tried. There are a couple of things I referring to specifically, which I know you know about. Tom, I wish I could get your honest opinion on these things such as which I should go for and which will only backfire. But then that takes the excitement out of figuring it out myself and learning the more profound life lessons. Either way I want the chance to live and see what happens. I want to take those off-the-wall chances that I would have never done before because I didn't truly understand just how short life is. I didn't know how many things one person could regret. I don't want anymore regrets.

The guy from your unit and I talked about that today. He said how he never passes on an opportunity (Ok, the context is totally not the same, but the principal is). I know I have held myself back in so many ways in the past and I am tired of doing it. When it came to differnt things in my past I was afraid to fail, so I wouldn't risk it. Why? Then I have to live looking back and wondering "What if...?" That is not the life I want for me and it's not the way I want to raise our children. I want them to learn that you can give all you have to anything or anyone and you may get nothing back. You may fall, get hurt-- physically or emotionally, fail, win, succeed and triumph, but it doesn't matter because the truth is that unless you make the attempt, unless you put yourself out there, unless you put in more than you think you have, you will never be totally satisfied with yourself. Others may view you one way, but what matters most is how you view yourself. If you know you can give more, but don't then I believe you can not totally accomplish anything.

There is nothing in this world to be afraid of as long I know that I did everything I could do and was always true to who I am. If I fail, I will still succeed in learning something great to have for my future.

Ok, so I'm not sure where all that just came from, but I just started to ramble (surprise, surprise) after the conversations I had today/ tonight. It's just me processing it all, but I believe every last bit of it and will claim it as my truth.