Lessons of turning tragedy into triumph 

from a military widow

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Home Sweet Home

We bought a house.


I never in a million years thought I'd be returning to the town I grew up in. To visit friends, sure. To grab a coffee at my favorite spot as I drive on through, absolutely. To buy a house with 3 young kids in tow - 5 months after the love of my life passed away? No. Yet thats exactly what i've just done.


I like Vancouver - it's a cute town with a lot of potential for a great childhood. From here you have access to the ocean, the mountains, the desert, farmlands and big cities all within a few hours.. all things I appreciate and want my kinds to grow up knowing. I'm not sure about the rest of you who have grown up and left your hometown, but there is something inside of me that almost feels ashamed in myself that I had to come back to the place I grew up. It's where I feel safe and where I feel comfortable - yet there is no mystery, no great adventure of the unknown waiting for me there which is something I have craved my entire adult life. I have very little family left here but I do have great friends who I've known and kept in touch with for most of my life and I'm thankful for that sense of community - especially for my kids as we work on yet another big transition in our lives.


I know Vancouver, I have memories on almost every neighborhood in that town. I know what to expect from Vancouver, for myself and for my kids. I know the best neighborhoods to bring them Trick or Treating, I know where to pick blueberries in the Summer, I know to get to the river early on hot days because the parking lot fills up quickly. Knowing these things brings me comfort but also disappointment. I know this is what I need right now while I build my confidence back up, and I know I will find adventure and excitement once again at some point - but managing my own grief, that of my 4 year old and 2 year old kids while juggling a newborn is not an easy task and my goal for the foreseeable future is to make my life as easy as possible on myself.


Brian and I have always looked forward to travel, adventure and exploration and teaching our kids the very same. This world is only as big as you let it be and we had grand plans of living in as many places as the Navy would allow us until Brian retired and we could move to Ireland or South Africa and see what life had in store for us there. We always knew we wanted to make it back to the Pacific Northwest eventually - retiring at the Oregon Coast, close to where we fell in love with one another and where we were married. We had visions of buying an ocean front house in Newport or Manzanita, Oregon and sitting out front in our rocking chairs, holding hands and reliving the memories of our great adventures together as we grew old. When Brian died he took a part of me with him, a part I won't ever get back but that I hope to remember was once inside of me. I still have this draw to the PNW and still envision the ocean front house, but now the rocking chair next to me is empty and my hands are cold without his keeping them warm.


We have closed escrow on the house and will be moving out there in the next week or two. The kids are excited (they got to pick their own paint colors for their rooms) and have been promised lots of trips to the park down the street. My dog Chance could care less, but he's already lived in 5 states in the past 5 years we've had him so he's up for anything and I'm just anxious to start to feel settled and like I have a routine. I'm hopeful this will bring a sense of comfort and calmness as we navigate our new life.





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