This is a special Blast from the Past post. (For more info on these posts, see my first one.) I’ve been going in chronological order, and it so happens that the post I landed on today was written on the one-month anniversary of The Hub’s death. If you remember from this post, I wrote a letter to The Hubs on his one month anniversary and then didn’t write to him again for a long time. Until that post, actually. I had also avoided reading that first letter. Not sure why, just didn’t want to for some reason. Now, it’s this weeks BFTP. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to post it, since it is so personal. But after thinking about the amazing way my second letter to The Hubs touched people, I’ve decided to not only read it again, but share it. So, here it is. I am amazed to see how much I have grown since this was written, and yet also how many of these feelings still remain. Grief is a complex creature. (Sidenote, I did edit it to take out a few “too-specific” things, and to put my little nicknames in instead of real names.)
Post from October 12, 2009
It’s been a month today. I can’t believe it. How did the time go by sooo slowly when you were deployed, but now that you are truly gone it is flying by? Figures, huh. I can’t believe you’ve been gone a month. Well, you’ve been ‘gone’ for 7 months; one month of training, five months of deployment, and now one month of…I don’t think I can say it…death. How wrong is that, huh? As if it’s not bad enough that you had to leave this world, but you had to be away from your family for the 6 months preceding. You were supposed to be coming home this week. We are supposed to be so excited right now, counting down the hours and getting ready to be reunited. You are supposed to be bitching about …. the long flights ahead of you, I am supposed to be scrubbing the house clean, planning our outfits for the airport, and hanging up the ‘Welcome Home’ banner that I had printed for you that is sitting upstairs in the computer room. Instead, you’ve been gone for a month and I am sitting here without you, wondering how the hell I am supposed to continue on.
It’s been snowing for the past few days. When I woke up this morning, everything was, is, covered with white fluff outside. It reminds me of when I was pregnant, and all of our coffee runs to get me decaf lattes that I craved. I loved being snuggled up to you in the cold, our little one kicking me while the snow fell around us. Remember how we were hoping there would be at least a few more semi-warm weeks when you came home, so that we could grill during football games and you could take your motorcycle out before winter? Well, that was foiled! I had to go to Scheel’s the other day and get some warm stuff for Little Man since we didn’t have anything yet. It was so weird being in there. You love that damn place. The last time we were in there was the day before you left and we had to get some last minute things. You got another pair of those comfy pants and that orange Columbia shirt for the plane rides. I couldn’t even go into that section of the store. I couldn’t find a snow suit I liked for the little dood. I ended up getting Little Man a Columbia fleece, some mittens that look like bear paws, and a Bonner hat. You would love them all. He looks like your little mountain man.
I am so pissed off at the world, babe. It is just so unfair. How can you never be coming back to me?? To Little Man? Being back with him was the one ray of sunshine, the one glimmer of hope, that got you through the worst things you experienced over there. All you wanted was to be back with us. Why the hell were you denied that, were we denied that? …. We spent so much of our lives doing things for everyone else, working so hard to get to a place where we could just enjoy each other and our little family. We finally reached that, and it was snatched from us. It breaks my heart that you never got to see him again. Never got to see him off his monitors and meds. Never got to see him giggle or roll over or crawl or anything except for videos. It was so hard for you to leave him that cold morning in March. I saw the tears in your eyes as you kissed him on the forehead in his carseat. It was so hard to drive away from the airport that morning. If I had known it would be the last time we ever saw you, I would have stayed. I would have kissed you one more time. I would have insisted that you take H out of his carseat even though it was cold and you didn’t want to wake him. I would have held on to you a moment longer and breathed in a few more breaths. Hell, I would have thrown you back into the car and said ‘the hell with it, let’s run away.’
My mind keeps going back to that morning a month ago, the morning it happened, nighttime for me. I just knew something was off about that mission. As soon as you told me you had one, I felt weird. Scared. Remember I told you how worried I was? I even remember distinctly telling you to be extra careful, because everyone we knew who had been KIA happened the last month or so before they were due to come home. And you told me, ‘don’t worry babe, … i’ll be 10x more aware because I am close to going home.’ That made me feel a bit better, but I still felt weird. It’s almost like I knew. I am so glad that you were able to wake up early and call me before you left. We even got to talk for 20 mins. You got to hear Little Man in the background eating dinner and screeching like he is right now. Looking back now, that conversation was different. We spoke softer, deeper, we said more than we normally do. That was about …. only 4-5 hours before you were gone. That will always mean the world to me.
ThenIi get a little pissed when I think about how after I put Little Man to bed, I hopped on the computer and got that short little email from you. I was so freaking excited that it was cancelled. All of my worries vanished and I thought we were home free. We were so close to the end, and now it was cancelled, so you were going to be alright! Everything was going to be okay. Your email said to get on IM, and I was thrilled to see you on the messenger when I logged in. You vented about getting up early, talked motorcycles, etc….then you went off for a second. I was totally not expecting it when you came back on and said the mission was back on and you had to go. That was about …. only 2 hours or so before you were gone. I will always be grateful we got a few more moments to talk, and pissed that we were teased with the fact that you were almost safe. If I had known that IM conversation was our second chance at a last conversation, I would have said so much more than making fun of you for your motorcycle part research.
It just kills me that you were so far away from us in your last moments. It just doesn’t seem right that we weren’t the last things you saw before you left this world, that we weren’t the ones who got to share your days with you during your last six months. Instead you were in one of the most horrific situations you could be in. But you loved your work, and you loved what you were doing, and you loved your teammates and friends. He told me exactly how it happened, baby. I know you were in no pain. You were just …., …., protecting the guys on the ground. …. I’m so proud of you baby. You kept so many people safe, you really did save lives that day. I hope you know that. I’m just so glad you didn’t feel any pain. ….. ….. I know you left instantly, ….. I know you tried to come see us one last time. Why else did I keep waking up that night??? I didn’t sleep at all that evening/morning for you. I just kept waking, unsettled. The flag outside kept beating against the house, as if trying to get my attention. I know you came to see us before you left for good.
I am rambling now, I know. Just like I always do in my emails to you, haha! Brevity has never been my strong suit when communicating with you, simply because you are the only person I feel 100% comfortable opening up to. You always pretended my rambling drove you crazy, but I know deep down you liked that I could talk to you. What am I going to do now? The only person I could be myself with and open up to is not going to be here to listen to me. I can’t believe I’m not going to get an email or a phone call soon. Oh how I wish that could happen. But we won’t go into all that I wish could happen. Instead, this is where we are. It is what it is. Life is life, as you used to say. Now I just have to buck up and be that strong woman you always say I am. I’m going to try my hardest, babers. Even though I am a ‘sad panda,’ I have to make you proud. I have to be strong and continue our life the way that we worked to build it. I have to give Little Man all that you wanted to give him. And I have to try to be happy in the process, because I know that is so deeply what you want for me. I just don’t know how I am going to do that without you next to me. I have a lot of big decisions to make baby, the kind of decisions we talk out endlessly and make lists for and decide on together. I need your help to make the right choices. Please help me.
I’m gonna go, for now. There will be plenty more letters, I am sure. I have so many things to say to you, I don’t know if I will ever be able to say them all. I’m sure things will come out in random spurts, as usual! Until we talk again, I love you so much sweetheart. Little Man says, “I love you Daddy!” We miss you tons!
Erin and Little Man