Days like today are days when I try not to think too much. For me today is Mike’s original favorite day of the year (because it is Veteran’s day), the day that we first planned on getting married (because Mike wanted his favorite day to be his EXTRA-favorite day), and a day that should in reality be everyday. I really was not going to write or say anything today. I was trying to just let it go by as a day so that I don’t cry too much. But Landon had other plans for me.
I could hear Landon talking, but I didn’t know where he was. In fact, I walked right past him and up the steps. I still couldn’t find him and when I came down the steps I saw him behind a box in the study sitting in front of the bookshelf. When I got closer to him I realized he was looking through the memory book of Michael that his ATBN/PSD friends made for us. I sat down next to him and he said, “My Daddy.” He pointed to pictures and said, “My Daddy and Mommy (or whoever he was with). We are still trying to get him to say Marines instead of Army, so every Marine he called “Army”. It is pretty funny. At the end of the book he stood up and looked at me and said, “My Daddy died.” Landon rarely speaks clearly, so it is sort of scary when he speaks clearly at all, but especially when he says things so ‘sure’. Landon is only 2 1/2 years old. He was only 10 weeks old when Mike died, but I believe that he honestly knows who Mike is and that he feels his absence. He doesn’t even really know what it means to die, but he knows something is missing from his life. Michael was the same age when Mike actually died, and he is just starting to understand it fully. It is heartbreaking as a mother to know that my children have felt and will continue to feel this tragic pain. I feel like I am an adult, it is terribly painful, but I can deal with it. They shouldn’t have to.
In saying that, we are blessed. We truly are. The kids have been blessed with another Dad who loves them more than the Earth is round, and I have been blessed with another best friend and love. I feel honored to have been Mike’s wife and the mother of his children. He entrusted himself to me. We had our ups and downs…lots of them…but he chose me not only because he loved me, but because he knew that I would support him through anything. Even if I didn’t like it. I get a chance again to be the one cheering on a Marine’s life and career. I have realized that I wouldn’t want it any other way. It is an honor to be loved by Frank. Military life is hard. It is difficult at times, things change in a flash. The only constant in military life is that things will never go as planned or on schedule, and that you have to be very patient every single day. I knew with Mike, as I know now, that there is always the chance that the training, the airplane jumps, and the deployments, may not end in my favor. I hope and I pray that they will. But, I know that there is always the possibility of the ‘knock at the door’. It scares the hell out of me. It scared the hell out of me before. But it is my job, as a Marine’s wife, to wave goodbye and wait for the hello. To hold things together here as best that I can, to complain when I need to, but to always offer my encouragement and support. I have so much pride in my heart for Mike and for Frank, they did/do what most will not or cannot do. I respect them not only as my other half and my husband, but as Marines. As a lover, and as a fighter for freedom. As a friend, and as an enemy to those who try to harm us.
So today, thank a Veteran. And do it tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. Never stop thanking them, because without them we would not be a nation.