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I called his cell phone

I called his cell phone tonight to hear his voice. I could hear how happy he was, picture his beautiful smile and remember the way he articulated certain words. The way he said “Ambliance” instead of “Ambulance” and how I’d laugh at him every time- so much so that he just started doing it to make me give him that look, knowing it was coming. It made me think of how we would stay up all night on the phone when we first started dating and were navigating a long distance relationship. How we’d stay up literally all night long talking, laughing, daydreaming about the lives ahead of us, even though we had work in the morning and even though often times one of us would fall asleep before we could even say our goodbye’s. To get through those months of separation before I moved up to Gig Harbor he gave me his Ohio Submarine sweatshirt to wear to sleep so I’d feel close to him while at my apartment in Portland. I wore it to sleep every night we were separated back then and I’ve worn that sweatshirt to bed every night for the past 5 months. It makes me think of some of our happiest times together; surprise visits, trips to the coast, meeting in Chehalis, WA which was a 2 hour drive for each of us- as a halfway point between our two homes.. after working all day- just for the chance to give each other a hug and a kiss before heading back to work the next day. We always called this our secret rendezvous spot and we laughed about it for years every time we drove past that town on the I5 corridor. Even after chaotic lives, marriage and kids, Brian and I never lost our spark, our intense love, attraction and admiration for one another. Every day brought something new and exciting for us as individuals and as a couple/family. He was the perfect partner and I’m so thankful we took the time to express our love for one another every single day, both in person and across social media as I look back through our posts to one another.

It’s midnight on a Thursday night here in Boise. I’m exhausted but can’t sleep. My Fitbit tells me I average 2 hours and 36 minutes of sleep a night - not bad for the stress from the past nearly 5 months of my life, but certainly not enough to make me feel like I’m capable of tackling much in the form of solo parenting. I’m going through the motions of being a mom, but I’m missing out on the joys of having a newborn, of watching Izzy and Hudson develop into toddlers and young children. I know I’ll get back there at some point, but the reality of grief is that there is no timeline.

Izzy and I sat and looked at pictures of Brian on my laptop last week for nearly an hour. She kept asking to see photos of the two of them together and then would tell me where it was/what they were doing there. Later that night I came back down to my room to see her looking at the photos again but when I walked in she started crying. Like a full on meltdown sad cry. I asked her what was the matter and she said she didn’t want to tell me. I sat down next to her and asked again. She crawled in my lap and kept saying she didn’t want to tell me. I let her cry but continued to prod as to what was the matter. She finally told me “I miss dadda. I thought he was going to come to Boise but he’s not.” She said this a couple of times through her tears, saying she wanted him to come here and that she misses him. She said he cant come to Boise because he sank to the ocean and she was sad. I could see it was finally hitting her that he’s not coming back. Talk about a fucking brutal reality check for her and I both.

These kids need me now more than ever but in addition to grieving the loss of Brian I feel like I lost a part of myself that day. The good part. The part that laughed and smiled and enjoyed everything. The part that felt like I had everything figured out, like I was living this picture perfect life with the man of my dreams. Rationally I know I have so many things to be thankful for and happy about, things to still look forward to in the years to come, but sometimes that’s just not enough and even almost 5 months later, it’s hard to see past the sadness of this loss.

I miss Brian so damn much.



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Lessons of turning tragedy into triumph 

from a military widow

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