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RIP My Sweet Husband

 

 

Late that night, after the notification officer had picked her up from her knees and carried her into the house, the young newlywed wrote on her blog what she couldn’t yet convince herself was true.

RIP My Sweet Husband
I never thought this would happen to me.
I lost my husband, but Heaven gained a damn good Marine.
I am so proud of you Chad. I am truly at a loss for words.

Katie Wade was married at 18 and a war widow at 20.

Her blog, "Starting our New Lives Together: The Wades," created so she and her husband, Cpl. Chad Wade, could one day look back on their early years of marriage, turned into an outlet for her grief.

Since a roadside bomb in Afghanistan killed Chad on Dec. 1, Katie has shared with the world her trials of widowhood in a raw, confessional diary. She is one of many in this generation of war widows who have carved a slice of the Internet to vent as they cope with the loss of their husbands.

Word of mouth has brought hundreds to Katie’s blog.

“The blog helps me deal with everything,” Katie said in an interview. “When I write about how I’m feeling that day I don’t hold back.”

I want to stop everything and not care about any of it anymore. I feel like there’s no point. All I have ever wanted in my life has been taken away. I just want you back ... I don’t need anything else. I would live in a box with no money, food, nothing ... just as long as I could have you. Why couldn’t you have stayed? Why?

Newlyweds

Katie launched the blog in January 2010, eager to chronicle her new world as a wife.

She had recently graduated high school, married Chad two weeks after he got home from Iraq, and moved from their small hometown in Arkansas to Camp Pendleton, Calif.

The two met on MySpace. They attended the same high school, but Chad was three years older and they never crossed paths.

In her senior year when she saw his picture online, she thought: “That’s the kind of guy I need in my life.”

The pair talked long distance on the phone for months before meeting in Arkansas when he was home from Pendleton for pre-deployment leave. They spent two weeks together, and then they got engaged while he was in Iraq.

Once together out West, Katie blogged about their lives together: how much fun they had over the weekend, swooning declarations of love, her pride in learning to cook.

Chad will take his first bite and say, “Good dinner baby, thank you,” and then gives me a kiss. :) He does this every night.

She was giddy on their one-year anniversary in September, and she shared their yearning to start a family, right down to her trips to the Dollar Store for pregnancy tests.

Whatever comes at us, I can’t wait and look forward to spending the rest of our lives together.

She wrote of the anxious anticipation of Chad’s deployment to Afghanistan in October, and then the loneliness of his absence.

Watching Chad get on that bus and leave literally felt like getting my heart ripped out of my chest.

Six weeks later, when she wrote her rest-in-peace message for Chad, she didn’t know whether that would be her last post.

“I’ve gotten a lot of flack for blogging the day I found out,” Katie said. “I was still in shock. I had to keep saying it and saying it.”

Friends encouraged her to keep blogging.

Her posts in the first weeks after his death are naked emotion.

 Please please please...wake me up from this terrible dream. I’m begging you...baby please...call me and tell me this is a huge mistake. Make this unbearable pain go away. Make these tears stop...please. I’d do anything...

Her blog puts on full display the whiplash between anguish and the first twinges of strength.

I never thought I’d get past the knock on my door...but here I am, 10 days later. I’m just taking it one day at a time.

Grief on display

For Katie Wade’s generation, accustomed to featuring their lives online, it’s natural to let the world in on their pain.

Facebook, email and instant message are often how military wives communicate most with deployed husbands, so blogging their grief is “an easy transition,” according to Taryn Davis, a 25-year-old military widow and founder of the American Widow Project, which has a website where military widows share their stories.

“They don’t have to immediately face people,” she said. “They can share in this world they’re already acclimated to.”

Ami Neiberger-Miller, spokeswoman for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, or TAPS, whose brother was killed in Iraq, said survivors feel compelled to share their stories.

“There’s an isolation among military families,” she said. “We want people to know our stories, that there are people dying in these wars and there are families left behind.”

Katie said she wants her blog out there “to keep up the memory of Chad and what he sacrificed. And to remind people what he did and what we had.”

She admits that she feels vulnerable sometimes having her emotions laid bare for all to see.

“I don’t like people seeing me weak,” she said. “When I’m writing my sad ones, I’m in a really low place. I write those because I have to do it. It’s my last resort.”

Davis said that widows can feel more comfortable expressing themselves with a little distance.

“You can be more candid and honest than you can when standing face to face and sharing the most traumatic thing that happened to you,” she said.

Family and friends, although they mean well, often judge the survivor for how they’re grieving, Neiberger-Miller said.

Blogging is a mostly one-way communication that lets the widow say her piece.

“People do start sharing in that environment because they don’t feel heard anywhere else,” she said.

THIS is who I am. I might change tomorrow....hell, I wont be the same person in a year. But this is me and this is now. I’m sarcastic, goofy, big hearted, loving, and sometimes outspoken. I’m not trying to be anyone but myself...Who gets to decided how I live my life? I’M the one that has to live with myself everyday. Live with MY decisions.

A life to live

Approaching four months since Chad’s death, Katie is writing about her struggle to find herself again. She’s learning to wear the label of “war widow” and searching for her new normal.

I’m literally starting from scratch again. Its not like Chad and I were married for 20 years and had 3 kids and a life we lived together. We didn’t have enough time to start much of anything. I hate that I have to live my life without him.

“I’m trying to find myself not as Chad’s wife anymore,” Katie said. “That’s all I’ve been for the past 1½ years we were married. Everything was being his wife. Waiting for him. Being a part of the Marine Corps. I have to figure out how to be on my own.”

The sense of loss is particularly acute for military widows, according to Joanne Steen, author of “Military Widow: A Survivor’s Guide” and grief consultant for the military.

“When you lose a loved one in the line of duty, you lose your spouse, you lose an identity, a set of friends, a way of life, connection to a unit,” said Steen, a military widow herself. “You’re not part of the military anymore. Not in the same way.”

In her latest blog post from March 23, Katie wrote about how her was sorrow enveloping her lately and her anticipation of how those feelings of being alone will be amplified when Chad’s unit returns home in May.

 I know that there will be a lot more nights of crying alone, when husbands start coming home and people start going back to their lives. I am not mad that they will move on and go back to living their lives. I’m just mad I am no longer apart of that category.

Katie sometimes wonders how long she will keep blogging, but through the ups and the downs it gives her a sense of purpose, even as she struggles to map out her new life.

“It really helps me knowing I can make people appreciate their husbands, appreciate everything they’re surrounded by every day,” she said. “Nothing in life is promised.”

My husband might have passed away, but I plan on having a very full filling life ahead of me. Will I ever be completely content? No of course not. My best friend and soul mate slipped right out of my hands. I can promise you one thing though. I will live my life.

mccloskeym@stripes.osd.mil

by Maegen McCloskey

How to deal with Military Deployment . . . ideas

How to deal with Military Deployment

 

 

Operation Homefront www.OperationHomefront.net resource for families 

My Point Of View

As a person who has had her husband deployed for all of 2009 thus far, I can witness first hand how hard it is. You don't really realize just how tough it is until you experience it for yourself. I never imagined it would be this life changing!

I can only speak from a single woman's point of view on having a husband deployed to the Middle East. By single I mean having no kids, family or friends around. During 75% of this deployment it has just been me and my Maltese dog. Thanks to technology I've had my online friends and I can keep in touch with family and friends far away.

I know for me, my husband is my best friend and I am used to it just being me and him against the world. When he left, it was just me, alone against the world - at least that's how I felt. During this deployment, I've had feelings, emotions and sicknesses that I've NEVER had ever in my life. I've experienced everything from an anxiety attack (where I had to go to the ER) to feeling suicidal (on many occasions) to feeling sick (nausea, heartburn, headache, lightheaded) every single day to being anti-social (not wanting to talk to or be around anyone) and more! Deployment is no joke!

How You Will Feel

If you haven't experienced a deployment before, there are manynormal emotions that you will have throughout the separation. Although many people may try to make you feel bad or like something is wrong with you for feeling the way you do, don't take it personal! They have no idea what you're dealing with; they have no first-hand experience and so they speak out of ignorance. Anyone in their right mind who suddenly has their spouse taken away from them and sent to a high-risk danger zone, knowing they won't see them again for months is going to be flooded with emotions.

Be prepared for these typical post-deployment feelings and emotions:

  • lonely
  • depressed
  • suicidal
  • hopeless
  • lack of energy
  • lack of motivation
  • sleep issues (trouble sleeping or sleeping too much)
  • random crying (crying for no reason just out of nowhere)
  • lack of concentration
  • impatience
  • anxious (anxiety attacks may occur)
  • panic (panic attacks may occur)
  • restless
  • eating issues (no appetite or eating too much)
  • careless (just not caring about anything at all)
  • angry (mad at the world)
  • hostility
  • solitary (just want to be left alone)
  • anti-social
  • unable to focus
  • stressed
  • worried
  • paranoid

I could go on but these, I think, are the most commons ones that I've felt and also heard from other spouses.

What To Expect

In the beginning of the deployment you will not get to talk to your spouse very much. This is normal since it takes a few weeks to a few months for them to get settled in. This is extremely tough to get used to and yes you will be stressedand worried out your mind about the safety of your spouse. Just hang in there.

Once they're settled you'll hear from them more but how much more all depends on where they are, how much free time they have and what privileges they have. There are both pay phones and computer labs over there that can be used. Some can even purchase the Internet for their rooms. So it's a good idea for them to have their own personal laptop.

Don't get your hopes up and don't expect to hear from your spouse everyday. Each time you get to talk to them, whether on the phone or on the Internet, is a privilege. There's nothing more exciting than hearing their voice or reading a message from them or seeing them on cam (if they have a webcam). Just remember that they are over there doing an important job and need to stay focused.

Note: Great ways to chat online - Yahoo Messenger, Skype, Windows Live Messenger, AOL Messenger, Meebo, Facebook Chat, MySpace Chat, Twitter, Chatango, email. For offline contact letters and care packages are great as well.

Don't expect to know anything that's going on over there and don't expect to know when they are coming back home! These subjects matters are very sensitive and because of "operation security" cannot be talked about on the phone or over the Internet. This ensures your spouse's safety. Do not try to force your spouse to talk about something. This is just disrespectful and could get them into a lot of trouble if they cave in.

You will not know when your spouse is coming home up until a few days(approximately 72 hours) beforehand. Once you do know, it's important that youDO NOT post this information on the Internet and please DO NOT post those ever-popular countdown timers on your social networking profiles such as MySpace. This information is top-secret and for your eyes only. If this information gets into the wrong hands it can jeopardize the safety of your spouse and may even push back the deployment. As much as you'll want to tell the world, you just can't!

Note: Your spouse will receive a lot more income while deployed due to additional income they receive plus the fact that their pay is not taxed while overseas. Don't go crazy though or you could regret it. Once they return home, their pay will be back to normal. So, it's a good idea to NOT create any additional expenses and put the additional income in a savings account.

My Baby Boy

 

My Maltese dog Valentino.

How To Keep Busy

I found that the best way to deal with this deployment and make it go by fast is to stay busy. I can't stress this enough. Even though it may be hard at first, once you're up for it get involved with something that interests you.

Pets

If you don't have any kids and don't already have a pet, I suggest you get one! It's no fun being totally alone and pets are great companions. Pets are very much like kids; they're very affectionate and faithful. My Maltese has really helped me get through this tough time. If it wasn't for him I know I would have went insane after the first few months. Take time to play with your pet everyday - it's so fun and rewarding.

Social Networks

If you're not making use of the Internet and all of its capabilities, then you should be. The Internet is a whole other world and the possibilities are endless. There are hundreds of social networks to join that can keep you busy - the top 3 (right now) being Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. These are not only a great way to meet new people but they're also great for keeping in touch with your family and friends from home (since most people are not stationed near home).

Blogging

Blogging is also another great tool of the Internet. Anyone can start a blog and it's free - try using WordPress, Blogger or LiveJournal. Once you get the hang of blogging, step your game up and start earning some money blogging! Blogging is easier and there's no rule to it (unless you're trying to take it to a professional level). Everyone has their own style and you can write about anything you want. Plus it's great for letting out some of those bottled emotions that you're holding in.

Get Healthy & Fit

Start a workout routine and stick to it. If you do a little each week, by the time your spouse gets back you'll be looking extra good! Getting fit can give you a huge self-esteem boost and just make you feel better all around. Start eating healthy and stick to it. You'll be amazed at how great you'll feel and look just by adding more fruits, veggies and organic foods to your diet. A great site I use to keep track of my workouts, weight and nutrition is Daily Burn.

Get Out The House

This one is hard for me because I don't like going places alone and I'm shy. Though I will admit, since my husband has been deployed I've really been venturing out and going places by myself. Sometimes just getting out of the house, whether it be going for a walk or just going to Walmart, can be refreshing. Enjoy the nature that surrounds you and get some fresh air!

Volunteer

There are so many places that are constantly looking for volunteers such as shelters (for people and animals) and hospitals (for people and animals). If you live on an Army base, there are always events going on and volunteers are always needed. Check out your specific Military Family Program for more information on how you can help out! I don't know about other branches but for the Army it's theFRG.

Go Home / Visit Family

There's nothing better than being around familiar faces and people that love and care about you. If you're away from home (which most of us are) then maybe it's time to go visit. Getting away can be really nice and being with family can help ease a lot of those emotions you'll be going through. Plus I'm sure they'd love a visit from you to catch up! :)

Support Groups

Premade Care Packages

 

Military Care Package - Boredom Buster Care Package -Medium

Amazon Price: $39.99

 

Military Care Package - Treats for Troopers Snack Package -Large

Amazon Price: $39.92

 

Military Care Package - Tough Guy's Snack Care Package

Amazon Price: $48.99

 

Military Care Package to the Troops- "Carnivore"

Amazon Price: $89.99
List Price: $97.99

 

Treats for Troopers Snack Package -Large

Amazon Price: $39.92

 

Military Care Package- "Medley"

Amazon Price: $39.99
List Price: $44.99

Conclusion

Remember that it's not the end of the world. Stay optimistic and just remember that you will see your spouse again!

As an incentive, find something that you don't like about yourself and improve on it. Make a realistic goal to have it totally improved or fixed by the time your spouse gets home. My goal was to lose weight and so far I've lost about half of what I wanted to lose.

Remember to keep telling and showing your spouse how much you love and miss them. Send them love letters or messages. Send them care packages. There's always something that your spouse could use over there. To the right you can find premade care packages sold on Amazon!

Take lots of pictures! They may not be able to send you pictures all the time but they'll love to receive them from you. Send them songs that remind you of them. Trust me, even the little things will mean so much to them! Just continue to show your support and stay true! Before you know it, you'll be reunited and back to your regular life.

 

http://www.militarywidows.org/ 

 

Click the above website designed for military wives only. 

Rescue me . . .

Meet Him there . . .
"We buried our Marine son three years ago yesterday, Oct 15, 2006. Stephen had a cross on his left arm and USMC on his right. This was what was in heart...he freely gave his life for his country and fought for the Truth...his sure hope and faith rested in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. This song summarizes Stephen's life for me and I want it to do the same for me." Johnson's Mom

Military Wife . . .

Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives by Jocelyn Green

If your spouse or someone you know has been deployed recently, the stress of this situation will resonate with you. Jocelyn Green speaks directly to the wives of deployed seamen, marines, airmen, and soldiers, through the experiences of their spouses. This book is not "ten easy steps" for a painless life; instead, it is a collection of devotions that squarely addresses the challenges wives face when their husbands are away protecting freedom. Challenges like: how does a military wife maintain a strong sense of patriotism without allowing her country to become an idol? What good can possibly come from moving every two or three years? How can I be sure that God has a purpose for my life that's as strong as His purpose for my husband's? The foundation of this devotional is the unchanging character of God and the anchor of Jesus Christ, even amidst the shifting circumstances of a military family.

When families grieve . . .
Rescue our Troops Lord . . .
To all those who go to War . . .
God will bear your burdens . . .

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17.03 | 00:11

Praise God! He is so good to all of us!

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16.03 | 15:20

I needed to hear this today. Its been sooo very difficult for a long time honestly asked God if I was the toxic one and just didn't realize it so I could repent

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11.01 | 20:32

this is so beautiful and such a testimony to the Lord's healing power and sanctification through our suffering. Much of my walk with Christ is similar to yours.

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12.12 | 00:13

Shavua Tov

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