My Hero for always
I lost my husband 10 yrs ago in Afghanistan. I'll never forget that day as long as I live. It was a simple day. I did some shopping, ran some errands, and talked to my mom on the phone because she was always worried about me living alone while my husband was deployed. She'd asked about Nick and our two children (ages 5 months and 4 years). I was glad to tell her that I was waiting for Nick to call me later that night/early morning because he'd finally received a weekend off and it being the day before Valentines day, I could hear his voice for the most romantic day of the year.
I marked the day off on the calendar, hung up the phone, and started dinner. It was like every other night.... And then there was a knock on the door. My 5 month old daughter began to to cry so I lifted her up in my arms as I darted for the door.
I was a military kid my whole life and a military wife for five years. One thing I learned at an early age was when the door opens and two men in uniform stare at you with solemn expressions... I can't begin to express that feeling.
I wish I'd never opened that door. I stared at two men and my mind couldn't take the panic rising inside me. This was bad. My daughter- our daughter, was in my arms. She'd never met her father and I knew at that moment, she never would. My son was behind me, excited to see soldiers, soldiers like his daddy.
I shut down. I couldn't cry, I couldn't feel anything. If I did, I would drop my daughter. My son would ask me what was wrong. I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to let them in. Nick wasn't going to call me for Valentines Day. I'd kissed him lightly when he left for war and I hadn't laid eyes on him since. Now I never would.
Nick. My soldier, my hero. All he wanted was to come home to his family, get a home cooked meal, a hot shower, the simple things we take for granite everyday. These few things he wanted, he wouldn't get. And he'd deserved these things. He was a good man. An honorable soldier, husband, and father. He'd just turned 24 two weeks before. Now I had two men standing there telling me my husband wasn't coming home.
I made the arrangements. I was like stone that wouldn't crack. I wanted everything to be perfect because he deserved the best we as a nation could give him. Nick and I had never talked about the "what ifs" I refused to. But I tried to give him the best farewell possible.
I barely made it through "Taps" I was sure that would be the final thing to break me during his funeral. But I held strong. I couldn't break down, I wouldn't be able to stop crying and then my grief would take away from Nick.
I followed his casket in and out of the church, I stood in the cold (without feeling the weather) while they fired the guns. I held the flag as the crowd gradually left the cemetery. After all the "I'm sorry"s and "If there's anything I can do"s, everyone faded away and returned to their lives. And I was left staring at my husband's casket.
All our plans, all the things left unsaid. We used to say that when we were old, he'd go bald and I'd lose my figure and we'd sit on our porch, listening to Otis Redding's "Sittin on the Dock Of the Bay."
I still feel like I'm standing at that cemetery, staring at my husband's casket. And it's been 10 years. I never forget his smile, Nick's bright eyes. We were high school sweethearts. There are doors in my heart that I still can't open, for the sake of my children. I never dealt with Nick's death, and I've just about ruined both relationships I've had since then. So I focus on my kids, make sure they have everything they desire. I never take my moments with my family for granite. And I can't stress enough how important that is. One of us may leave this earth one day and the memories we make are all thats left for those left behind.