Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Let me go ahead and preface this by saying "I'm okay :)". Yes today is hard, so was yesterday and tomorrow will be too. But overall I make it through each day with my head up and my heart open.
As most of you know May 17th 2008 was the day I said "I do" to 1LT Todd Weaver. Life was just getting started and I was ready to be a proud Army wife. As we exchanged vows I couldn't hear the pastor (sorry Jon). I was so lost in bliss in those moments leading up to our first kiss as man and wife. I was excited for the new path set in front of me, the opportunities to meet new people, see new places, start the family I'd been dying for.
Was it always easy? NO. Was it always worth it? YES. July 5th, 2008 we made the move to Ft. Benning Georgia---a place that I still can't appreciate. We lived in a dungeon of an apartment where the paint was chipping off the walls and the appliances where older than I was. It was dark and muggy and the cockroaches were the size of small birds. It was a shock to say the least. There was some sulking and hoping that this new lifestyle wasn't always going to mean spending time alone in the apartment just waiting for him to get off work. Luckily I began to get involved with the Family Readiness Group and eventually met some other wives. And this is where some of the most important women in my life began to come into my life.
And life only got better from there. That fall I was beginning to needle Todd about trying for a baby- although he was determined to wait until he was finished with Ranger School. Well I poked and prodded and made some pretty convincing arguments and he eventually caved :). So December 5th, 2008 I found out I was pregnant and all hopes of a surprise announcement were shot the minute he walked through the door! It was written all over my face. Todd's reaction: shock and disbelief. Am I grateful that I nagged him to try early? Absolutely! For if I had let Todd have his way Kiley would have been 6 months old instead of 9 months when he left for Afghanistan. She was saying Dada before she ever said Mama and he always let me know that meant she liked him better! Did she understand who he was in her life? I don't really know. She was so young. But I can tell you this. She will know her Dada is always here, always protecting her, and is always in her heart.
May 17th - today- would be our 3rd anniversary. It's a day that reminds me of my commitment and the reasons I said "I do". The supporting role of any military spouse is one that should not be taken lightly. I can't say I always considered the possibility of losing Todd. I was still so new to the Army life that I worried about the little things....like on which side I was suppose to stand, how I was to address his superior officers, and whether or not I would ever have to be an FRG leader. So silly compared to what I know now. While the traditions and the polite observances are important- the most important aspect of being a military wife is treasuring every moment with your husband. Create memories. Take the time to know your husband's heart, his hopes, his fears, his ambitions for your family. Always be prepared to stand by him in hard times. It saddens me to no end when I hear about injured soldiers whose wives cannot handle taking care of them. The selfishness sickens me. I would gladly -with honor- care for Todd had he come home injured. There are some amazingly strong women that I've been blessed to know who have had to take on this role. I may be ranting some but knowing that my husband was taken home to Heaven makes it difficult for me to see these kinds of things happen to our brave soldiers.
I can't be bitter for the way Kiley and I's lives have changed, it's not my call in the end. It is a hard life now. Can I handle it? I certainly can. Would I have chose it? No. Philippians 4:11 teaches us to be content in all circumstances. That's heavy and I'm struggling, but I'm open to learning how Todd's ultimate sacrifice will shape my future as a mother, and a Christian. And on this day I am reflecting on how much I have changed with Todd's guidance and love. His gift to me for our 3rd anniversary is courage. Courage to tackle each day with the same spirit he would have.
And on May 21st you can find me at Arlington National Cemetery. This was the last day that Todd walked on American soil. He held Kiley and stepped away to spend some quiet moments with her. What he whispered to her I may never know. And as we left that day I thought to myself "it's only a year".
There will be many days with special significance that come up throughout the year. I wish Todd were here to celebrate this anniversary. I wish he was here for our birthdays and holidays. But we cannot pity ourselves for the hand we were dealt. We can only hope to live life fully and hope that we remain in good standing with the Lord so that when the time comes Todd will greet us all in Heaven. Thank you Baby for being such a motivator of men, family man, and good Christian!

16 comments:

  1. Your words are beautiful Emma! You are handling this with such grace while bringing honor to Todd and the Lord!
    You come into my mind often and I pray for you! I don't know what you are doing in those moments but I pray!
    Thank you for the reminder to love, cherish and be near our men. I need that reminder to care for Ben as my husband and not just a man I take care of!
    You are a blessing! Lots of love and peace for you!

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  2. With teary eyes & a heavy heart ,reading your beautiful words of reflection, I am even more impressed & amazed of your poise, strength, maturity & positive spirt. For a young woman your age, you have had to experience & endure "the ultimate sacrifice"also. I remember the happiness, joy & how much in love you both looked at your wedding. We are so thankful we were there. Keegan & Todd actually had a bet on whether Jeanne or I would start crying first. Actually I think we tied!!
    Emma, through your love,you taught Todd the true meaning of love & how to share & care. You brought out the best in him! You made Todd a better man & in return, he made you into a beautiful woman of courage & determination. Even though he is gone, a big part of Todd will live on, deep down in the core of your soul giving you strength,guidance,acceptance & courage to live life on life's terms. Todd will always be in our hearts & you & Kiley in our thoughts & prayers. Much Love & Laughter, The Clines

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  3. This is a beautiful post, Emma. You put into words a feeling that most can not express vocally. I know that Todd is very proud of you. God surely blesses you and Kiley on this lonely walk that you are taking. Thank you....

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  4. Hi Emma,

    I found a link to this post from Katie's FB page. I don't think you remember me, but I used to go to Jody's spin class also. I just wanted to say that this is such a beautiful post and I'm sorry for what you and your daughter have been through. It sounds like your husband was an amazing man and you're an amazing woman and mother for dealing with this the way that you are. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

    Lauren

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  5. I am a reader from Katie and Ben's blog :) this is such an amazing post and you are an incredible woman. it seems that you've handled this situation with the utmost grace and openness and strength. thank you for sharing, I have been blessed by hearing your story.

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  6. Wow. I am overwhelmed. The way you live your life to honor God and your husband is amazing and is evident in each post you write.

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  7. I just found your blog through Katie and Ben's and your story is SO touching!! My heart breaks for you!! I love that you posted the letters he wrote to you, they speak volumes!! Stay strong!

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  8. Just came across your blog, I thank you for sharing..your story...your letters...my heart goes to you and your little girl! You are such a strong woman!

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  9. im actually speechless. that was so incredibly sad, so incredibly moving.. your love for him is amazing and im just stunned by how much you've gone through and how hopeful you are about the future. emma i hope you know what an amazing person you are and i know that God will be protecting you and comforting you each day. i just... i cannot imagine. wow.

    hugs and blessings
    denise
    xx

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  10. Emma,

    I was directed to your blog by 1LT Alex Pruden, a man I've been fortunate enough to call friend since grade school, and who - from what I understand - went through Ranger School with your husband. Understanding the measure of Alex's character and hearing what he had to say about Todd, I can achieve only a small understanding of what an extraordinary man your husband must be. This country has truly lost one of its finest, a loss which I'm sure seems insignificant compared to the loss felt by you and your daughter.

    I hope this weekend you find some comfort in knowing that there are many still out there who believe in the causes and ideals for which your husband so selflessly gave his life. You and your family are in my prayers.

    - Nathan

    "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

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  11. Anonymous5/31/2011

    Emma,

    My brother is 1LT Alex Pruden, who I know loved and admired your husband immensely. Your strength of spirit in the face of such a devastating loss is truly inspiring. Please know that I am lifting you up in prayer, wishing you joy and peace.

    Jaimie

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  12. You are beautiful. Todd is beautiful. Kiley is so so beautiful. Tonight, all three of you are the subject of my prayers. Thank you for continuing to share the BEAUTY of your family and thank you, Todd, for your service to this world. It is not forgotten.

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  13. Anonymous6/01/2011

    I wish you the best

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  14. Emma, Thank you for sharing. I met you at the Military Families United luncheon in Richmond. I've thought of you and prayed for you often since then, I found this blog today, and read this and the previous post through tears. I don't have the right words, so I won't try, just know that I will be praying for you and Kiley.

    -Stacey

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  15. I read your story from the Daily Mail, and may I just say thank you for sharing that wonderful story. I'm also a military wife (we have 3 kids) and my husband just received his orders to go to Afghanistan. This will be his 4th tour! I am looking up to you as an inspiration. Your strength, oh my gosh, is incredible! May God bless you. By the way, it's great that you have a blog. I started mine when my firstborn was an infant, and she'll be turning 7 this summer.

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  16. Emma,I read about your loss and it broke my heart and I cried for the sadness of what happened to your family. You write so well and your words give all of us a sense of the strength and love you and your family shared. Thank God there are people like you in the world to inspire the rest of us to keep our faith in God and to Love each other always. Hug

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