Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And Then Some

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


  1. Anonymous8/31/2011

    You have taught me alot in this post...really, alot! I am in the same place but not! thank you for sharing your heart and letting me learn from you!
    God does have a plan for you and Kiley! Sometimes it is so hard to see (apply this to me too) but if we keep our eyes, hands and heart open He will show it to us!
    You are doing well and I am so proud of you! Sept 1 will be a day of honoring Todd with you and we will be honoring you too!

  2. I love reading every single thing you write. Have been reflecting on our long lunch Monday and these same things. You are amazing enough to withstand the test of time, yes, but all to gorgeous on the inside and out to walk this earth alone. So yes Sweetheart, take the offers of help as they are all gifts from God, letting you know you are not alone. The strangers might not actually be strangers, but rather people put on this earth you stand on at the exact moment on which you stand sent specifically as a gift. You and I were strangers not so long ago... and we both know what gifts we have become to one another. Love you and Kiley to pieces. <3

  3. Anonymous9/01/2011

    you word your emotions so beautifully, which is SO hard for me bc as a woman there are so many feelings, dissected feelings that are just so hard to explain not only in words but in MY head. You are so right about not "roughing it" bc you don't want to rough it out the rest of your lives together, how miserable would that be and of course Todd would be sad to know you weren't enjoying every day of your life that God has so graciously given to you and Kiley. There WILL be days that you will "rough it" or just times you will "rough it" bc you can't help but feel that loss of him. I know you hear "you are a strong woman" all the time, but thats bc YOU ARE!!! You saw that you you needed to change and told everyone about it (which is why you are helping others with their emotions and how to deal)and you are trying hard to do so. You are definitely someone to look up to Emma. God chose you. I will be thinking of Todd and you and yals family especially on September 9th/11th. You stay in my prayers. Hope to see you again at the Y :o) -Erin Manning Martin

  4. Hi from a fellow widster, I just stumbled across your blog.
    This post hits close to home for me. It took me a long time to realize that it was okay to accept the help that others were offering. I thought that I need to be strong in my journey forward, and that would do Dan's name justice. I thought that accepting help showed weakness, and I wasn't about to be weak. Slowly, I realized that I was burning myself out, and that is something Dan never would have been happy about. He always wanted the best for me, he always wanted me happy. I slowly let my guard down, and started to accept the offers, but it took time. I'll be thinking and praying for you and your family today. I hope that peace and love fill your heart.