The Beginning and The End

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I wanted to share some of my writing with you as I work on my book. Mostly I am just writing my experience. I also journaled after Tyler passed away to help deal with my grief, both on paper and online. I am very glad that I did, as sometimes it is hard to remember some things and I can see exactly where as was at specific time intervals.

Every book has a beginning and mine starts with an incredibly painful ending. It is easy to overlook how much pain and darkness someone has had to wade through when you see them smiling and happy. It may look deceptively easy and maybe even result in  people thinking “so what’s the big deal?” (sadly). So, I feel it is important to share the darkness and pain, so that it is understood what it takes to get back to a place of happiness and hope. It sometimes takes a very dark walk to appreciate the light. I would love to hear feedback, please don’t be shy!

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Much of the first months after Tyler passed were a blur of emotion. Though we had his memorial within days of his death, he could not be buried in Arlington until much later. Any progress I may have made by the day of his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery was lost and I had to start all over.

Receiving the flag from his casket was extremely surreal, yet the pain was searing and heavy. I almost felt as if I couldn’t move. I didn’t want to leave after the ceremony; I didn’t know what to do. I could have stayed there all day if they would have let me. But instead, I was swept up in the forward motion of the people around me and the schedule of Arlington.

The days and nights in those months were incredibly difficult and painful. One night in particular, after everyone had left and I was at our home alone for the first time after he had passed away reality sunk in even deeper as I became acutely aware of my solitude. I had been waiting for him after he died, just as I had waited for him for over the years to return home from training trips and deployments. I started to realize that night when I kept thinking I should call him and then realize that he wasn’t going to answer ever again. Then the thoughts started flying through my mind, finally breaking through the fog, each one slamming into my heart and shattering it further.  He was never coming home again, I’d never see him again, never hear his voice again, all our plans meant nothing, they would never happen….our life and everything in it seemed to lose all meaning and just be floating in suspension.

That night I felt as if my chest was caving in and my heart was being ripped out of my chest. I screamed and cried. I didn’t know that kind of pain existed until then and it was terrifying. I felt completely alone, lost and wished that I could have died right along with him. Nothing made sense or held meaning. The only thing that would give me a trickle of guilt and purpose at first were my dogs, which still relied on me. They would lay on the bed next to me and I imagined they knew what happened and were sad too. Perhaps they were, or maybe they just sensed my sadness and stayed close to comfort me.

Blog/Journal Entry 11/15/10

I think all situations have their specific hardships, beyond the obvious one we all share (in widowhood). 
I remember staring out the window, wanting to go see him, so confused, my brain wouldn’t let me understand. Why couldn’t I go to the hospital? I needed to be there to make him feel better. But he was never in the hospital. He had already died, about 3 hours before I even knew about it and instantly. I didn’t see him for days. It drove me crazy the entire time, I remember just being in shock, staring and staring out the window, waiting for him to come home or for me to be able to go to him.

When we finally got to go to see him (at the funeral home) I had to sign paperwork, etc. first apparently. It was a lot of standing around, talking, and I was about to lose it and scream at everyone. He was just in the next room and obviously he was waiting for me. It was almost like as time was going on it was diminishing my chances of bringing him back. When I saw him and his casket I literally ran to it. And then instantly cried and cried. I couldn’t bring him back, I couldn’t help, but I did feel a little better that he wasn’t waiting anymore. I also thought that he didn’t look like himself and he would be irritated with how his hair looked. It made me smile for a nanosecond. I did feel much better to be with him, and if they would have let me I probably would have climbed right in and said “see ya, I am going wherever he is going”.

But I didn’t. I just left a note with everything I wanted him to know, in his hand.

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Never Give Up,

Chelsey

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