There are very few quiet moments in my life. From the minute I wake up my battle begins: How fast can I get Kiley into a new diaper before Gin, our dog, goes into a whining fit while waiting to go out. And from there we tackle the day. The house is tidy and everything is in order- except wait- didn't I just put that placemat back on the table? Why is the cereal bowl on the floor? And where did the cereal go? Gin! Wherever we go the diaper bag must be fully stocked with things to entertain Kiley...and candy dots (the old fashioned kind on paper) when the entertainment fails. "Ma'am would you like me to help you with these bags to your car?" My answer is always "No, I've managed so far". When I'm at the gym I find myself imaging Todd in his last moments- fighting for Kiley, fighting for me, fighting because it's right- to the end. It's what motivates me to continue on and make him proud. If I'm ready to quit running, put down the trash because it's too heavy, scream because my patience has worn thin with Kiley's shenanigans, or whatever the case may be....I don't. I push myself through the task because I've justified that Todd could have done it and so can I. I owe it to him.
|Todd's smile all the way from Afghanistan August 2010|
|Cpt Jacob Ivey, Todd's best friend at Ft. Campbell, embraces Kiley during the Ceremony for the Fallen|
It's a very confusing place, my mind. I do understand that although I can do this on my own it's hard to convince my heart that I don't need to. I guess that's my way of not quitting on Todd. And during my last visit to Ft. Campbell I was talking this all out with my friend Amy. I can't remember her exact words but as I was telling her that Kiley and I could "rough it together" she responded with something to the effect of " Emma I know you can, but do you want to be like your grandmother?" That was a huge statement that put a dent in my whole line of thinking. Most people don't really know much about my grandmother except that she was pretty unpleasant. She was a single mom who raised my mother the only way she knew how. Alone. Way too much backstory there- the main point is that my mom's childhood was affected by the decisions her mother made. So knowing this, and having Amy bring it to my attention has changed some of my thinking. Yes I can do this- but I don't have to. I can take that offer to walk my groceries out to the car. I can take that friend up on the babysitting offer. I can walk if I'm getting winded. I don't have to push myself...not only too far...but too far away.
The part of my whole line of thinking that's the hardest to talk about is....this is hard for me to even write down right now... what if what I think is honoring Todd's memory...is sabotaging our future. Todd wrote to Kiley "God has a plan for you", which I know is true, and all I want is to protect her and take care of her to the best of my ability. I love Todd and I always will. My right here and my right now still feels like "we can rough it"...the emotional grip will not let go. These are the times where my mind is so tangled with thoughts and scenarios that I have to be proactive. I have to listen for God's plan. Where are we going God? Please give me the courage to let You lead us.
|Visiting Todd on Father's Day 2011|
September 9th will mark the 1 year anniversary since we lost Todd, my husband, my best friend, my hero. Even in those early weeks though I was somehow calm and peaceful. Not only with every prayer said for us, but with the letters from Todd. Not a moment goes by where I don't think of him. And on that day there will be sadness but I will also be smiling. For Todd continues to bring good things to our lives. Yes it has been the first year without him; but in that year we have gained so much. We have met the amazing soldiers who fought alongside him, helped other's in their own struggles with loss, started scholarships in his memory, created new friendships, spent more meaningful time with family, and embraced life. And every step of the way we have been supported by our community, family, friends and strangers alike to which we are so very thankful. My promise for this next year is to continue to keep listening and learning, and hopefully be as helpful as I can to others.
|The Patriot Guard Riders|