Lessons of turning tragedy into triumph 

from a military widow

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I dreamt of Brian last night. For the first time in over 8 weeks I could see his face, I could hear his voice and I could feel his love. I dreamt that we were together in the same Emergency Room I last saw him in, but that instead of holding his cold hand and saying my final goodbyes, we were there together as he got diagnosed with incurable cancer. We held hands and wept together as we knew what that meant.. but we were still there in the moment together. Over the course of this dream we made it home, we talked through our plans and what we wanted for ourselves, each other, our kids and our families. We looked each other in the eyes and said “I love you,” we cried, we held hands, it felt so real being next to him again and having him look at me - feeling how much he loved me with every single glance.

Towards the end of this dream we headed back to the hospital knowing we were about to have to say our goodbye’s and final “I love you’s.” We went through a metal detector and the security guard commented on all the fresh limes I had in my bag - Brian’s favorite - and it made this dream feel that much real. We got to his room and checked in, the doctor came in and said “this is it” and we looked at each other and wept. Brian died in my arms in this dream, warm in a hospital bed after we’d had our time to say goodbye.


I woke up this morning feeling so sad, but was quick to realize it was only a dream.. until I remembered it wasn’t. My reality has been much worse than this dream. Brian really is gone but I wasn’t there with him to wrap my arms around him, to look in his eyes as he took his final breath, to make sure he felt nothing but love and affection so that he wasn’t scared or sad.

Brian and I have talked many times about the lives we’ve lived together over the past 5 and a half years and how we wouldn’t have change a single thing, except that we would have found our way back to each other sooner. We always said even if we died at 100 years old, 60 years together just wouldn’t be enough. The love we shared was truly once in a lifetime love and we spoke openly about how lucky we knew we were to have experienced it together. We took every opportunity to make sure each other knew how loved and appreciated the other was, we never went to sleep angry or upset and I’ve never had someone hold my hand and make me feel so confident and safe. I’d do anything for one more hug from him, one more smirk from his beautiful face, one more “I’m always coming home to you, Ash.”


I miss him.



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