It still boggles my mind that we call Guam home now. That tiny dot in the Pacific Ocean between Japan and Australia....that's our home for as long as the Navy lets us stay here! Alex, Kiley, and I's world adventure started two days after Christmas at The Williamsburg Inn where we quietly got married in front of our families. Alex returned to training and I began to slowly pack up our house, anxiously awaiting the duty station orders to follow. Guam.
A U.S. territory 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard time. A land of mountains, caves, waterfalls, jungles, and beaches. Beaches of coral sands that are gently washed by clear, turquoise waters. Sunny and hot, sunny and wet. Coconuts, plumeria, mangoes, and bananas. A place where the people are relaxed and laid back and always celebrating their culture. Stepping off that plane with my family and taking my first few steps in this paradise renewed my soul.
Guam's most attractive feature has not have been any of the physical beauties I've described. The opportunity for our family was what was most appealing. The chance to walk through a store and not be stopped by a stranger asking me, "How are you?" in that sad tone they save just for me. I know that coming back to Williamsburg was what I needed after losing Todd- but in doing so I was thrown back into the environment I grew up in- where everybody knew me- knew what had happened- and made it difficult to grow through my loss.
Guam has provided us the gift of a new chapter in our crazy lives. I needed to be bold enough to not just say I'm going to live my life like Todd- but to actually do it! But strings are attached....I refuse to live without him....and I don't. Todd's urn, flag, recognitions, and awards were the first things to be unpacked and settled in the new house. Our Gold Star hangs in the window. We even got the Gold Star vehicle license plates for Guam. Now it feels like home!
To our delight Kiley has adapted well to island life. Her little feet never have shoes on....we're lucky if she's wearing clothes to be honest. She loves to shout "Hafa Adai", a local greeting, whenever possible. She doesn't let the rain stop her from playing...she just gets wet. She likes to go out and collect the local fruits that are so abundant. She turned four years old on August 17th and started the big day off by asking me if she looked any taller. It is such a blessing to be able to provide her this unique childhood. And an even bigger blessing to share it with her baby brother or sister.
Alex and I found out we were expecting this past May, with the baby to be due at the end of January. The excitement of our new world and new path is only intensified as we think about what life will be like as a family of four. I'm 17 weeks pregnant and feeling those first, soft baby kicks in my growing belly as I type this. I'm sometimes overwhelmed by the many blessings we have been given through having to experience the tragedy of loss. I know we are in good hands and I trust our future will be proof of that.