It is such a weird feeling. Because my life is pretty amazing. I have the love of a wonderful and supportive man named Kristopher. I have two beautiful little girls that I get to stay home with and watch grow and blossom. And I have a home that Kris and I created together, that is full of love and laughter. But when October 5th shows its ugly face, I revert back to the newlywed who learned that her Husband of four months was killed. And it is so incredibly confusing and difficult to exist as both people for those 24 hours. Because for the other 364 days of the year, I remember Dan in such a positive and joyful way. I daily think of the wonderful life that we had together. But I also take joy in the amazing and full life that I live today. I proudly display Dan's military awards and tributes in my home, as my little girls play on the floor right below them. Kris and I speak of Dan, and the memories that we had with him, and we smile. I can co-exist as a proud military widow, and the military girlfriend and Mother that I am. But for this one day, I struggle. Because I turn back into the grieving widow. The widow who replays the words "Dan died" over and over again as they came out of my Dad's mouth. I go back to a house that is flooded with people, yet feeling so incredibly lonely. I go back to sitting at my dining room table looking at casket options, and thinking that I must be in a nightmare. I go back to when I was handed a folded flag. I go back to a person who was broken. Lost. Unraveled.
So today I must co-exist. I must find a way to focus on my two amazing girls, while still giving this day its proper attention and purpose. I must find a way to let Kris know that he is such a strong and loving man that I can't imagine being without, while also paying tribute to the man that I vowed to spend the rest of my life with. I must find a way to do the laundry and run my daily errands, while fighting the urge to crawl in bed and sleep the day away. You see my dilemma?
The bottom line is, six years ago today, the world lost one hell of a Man. A funny and silly man. A strong and brave man. A man who loved his family with all of his heart. A man who was dedicated to serving God. A man who absolutely loved his job; despite all the dangers that go with it. And a Man who was a wonderful and attentive Husband to me.
Dan, you are missed by everyone who knew you. And what a blessing it is to know that you are in Heaven! Thank you for loving me. Thank you for choosing me to be your wife. Thank you for teaching me what it means to be selfless and brave. Rest in peace, Daniel James.