Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Year Six

October 5th is the day that I dread each and every year. October 5th is the day that I re-live the very worst day of my life. Today marks six years since Dan was killed in action while serving our country. And as this day approaches, the feelings and emotions re-surface as it was happening all over again. The pain, the sadness, the shock; it all comes flooding back. So to sum it up… today SUCKS.

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. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Living A Wonderfully, Imperfect Life

It has taken me quite some time to realize that the life I thought I was going to live, is not going to happen. Growing up, I pictured myself as being this perfect housewife. With a perfect home. Perfect children. Perfect everything. Obviously, this was very naive of me. And if the past seven years of my life have taught me anything at all, it is that I am imperfect. Flawed. Broken. And after a lot of time, thinking, and therapy; I have discovered that I am totally and completely okay with it. In fact, I kind of love it. Because I have realized that in my imperfection, I can still be a complete and whole person with a lot to offer this world. 

I have had to accept and adapt to a lot of things in my life. Living life without my Husband. Losing my health and my hair to an awful disease. Living with the constant fear of a relapse of that disease. These are all somewhat obvious things that I have had to come to terms with. But unfortunately, those huge events in my life caused somewhat of a domino effect on my psyche. And after I thought I had "accepted" these events and come out on the other side, I realized that I was left much more damaged than before. Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and an eating disorder are now all things that I battle on a daily basis. I am not proud of them. And some are more managable than others; but they are there. Everyday. And they will most likely be with me in some form or another for the rest of my life. So here I am; totally and completely imperfect. 

But the wonderful thing about my imperfect life, is that I am incredibly happy. It sounds like quite a contradiction, I know. When things started going south in my life, I put so much pressure on myself to heal and move on. I had this weird need to prove to everyone that I was "okay." And I think I faked it for a long time. But over that past two years or so, I have come to this wonderful place of self-acceptance. I have allowed myself a bit of grace, and realized that I don't have to be perfect. I don't even have to be "okay." My imperfections make me who I am. And I am a woman who is learning how to live life with anxiety and OCD. I am learning how to battle the demon of "body image" and the need to be thin enough. I am learning the coping skills to live life everyday and with a purpose. And what a relief it has been. 

My wonderful and beautiful reasons for coming to a place of self-acceptance and self-love are my two little girls. I know that had I not gotten pregnant with Evelynn, and started my amazing family with my boyfriend Kris, that I would still be faking it. I would still be lying to myself, and telling everyone that I am okay. And battling my issues secretly and not in a constructive manner. They truly are my miracles. They saved me. They saved me from imploding. They saved me from myself. They forced me to deal with all of my issues head on. I want to be a role-model for them. And I can do that; imperfect and broken. I can show them that you can find happiness after heartache. You can fight and battle through insane obstacles and survive. And that you don't have to be societies version of the "perfect woman" to have self-worth. I want to teach my girls to love themselves. To love their flaws. And to embrace their imperfections. If I can do that, then I have done my job. 

We all have our own flaws and imperfections. We are all battling with different demons. But the most important thing is to love yourself as is. We are never going to be perfect. And we can't please everyone. There is something so beautiful about living through our battles and letting them mold you into this new version of yourself. And I am finally happy with this Kristen. The broken and battered Kristen. The Kristen that I pray my girls can look up to and learn from.