Saturday, August 2, 2014

I Miss You. I Don’t Miss Me.

I was watching home videos with Kiley last week.  She likes to watch the ones of her as a baby with “Dada Todd”, as she calls him.  As we went through a few we came across one that had me in it.  Or at least it looked like me.  But the person I was watching on the screen was a version of me that no longer exists.  Her voice was different.  Her demeanor was different.  She was just a memory now.

It made me wonder whether I had ever truly been real.  Have you ever wanted to impress somebody or want acceptance that you’ve been willing to tweak your personality, interests, values, hobbies, and etcetera?  I have.  I always have.  Name a boyfriend growing up and I could name something I pretended to be interested in so they’d like me.  I did it every time.  Or I’d ignore some monumental difference between myself and said boyfriend if I thought that acknowledging it would mean a break up.  That’s some low self-esteem right there.  Well when Todd came around I’d like to think I was growing up…. but I hadn’t grown out of some of those habits. 

 I was home for the summer from college.  Todd Weaver was deployed to Iraq with his National Guard unit and he was home on leave.  And he called me.  Me!  Todd was the classic all American star athlete with looks that could get any girl.  I couldn’t believe he was giving me the time of day.  I don’t want to give anybody the impression I was some desperately lonely girl who would do anything to date him.  But I did think he was pretty cute…. And I just wasn’t his type.

Football games don’t interest me.  There I said it.  Not even a little bit. Todd was a die- hard Cowboys fan…. and I remember a lot of overly dramatic yelling at the TV, throwing his arms up in disbelief at whatever had just happened on the field.  It was yet another bad year for the Cowboys.  Oh poor Todd.  I tried to be into it for him.  Todd loved skiing... I dreaded it.  I did it because I loved him.  I did a lot of things because I loved him that didn’t necessarily come naturally for me.  But Todd had an idea of what kind of a life he wanted to lead and what kind of a wife he wanted by his side.  I wanted to be that wife. 

I feel a lot of guilt.  He could have found the girl that loves football and traditional family values.  But instead he found me.  I used to say what I though he’d want to hear, stifled some of my obnoxious behaviors, and tried to be the wife he dreamed of.  I remember thinking to myself early on in the last deployment “Am I going to be able to make this work?  He isn’t going to love the real Emma”.  Before I ever had the chance to find out if our relationship could stand the test of time…. time stopped. 

On September 9th 2010 he was killed in action in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  The Emma Weaver that Todd knew was gone from that moment on.  Okay that’s not accurate.  I remember sitting in the living room with my Army wives after the notification officers had left.  I got up to get nail polish remover.  Todd wasn’t a fan of brightly colored nails so while he was deployed I took the opportunity to paint them blue.  I just couldn’t go to Dover with blue nails!

During the year after Todd’s death I spent a lot of time alone.  Learning how to be me again.  I learned how to handle motherhood alone.  I learned how to take care of myself and Kiley and our home.  Help was there when I needed it but for the most part I purposely challenged myself to be more independent. 

A friend had stopped by to visit with us one evening and in our conversations it turned to the topic of my future in love.  I wasn’t interested at the time of even considering dating.  But for information sake I talked about what I would need from a man to accept in able to be in our lives.  I could only see myself in a relationship with somebody that A) knew Todd or B) was in the military.  In my mind the kind of person that knew my late husband or understood his sacrifice would have a more understanding heart.  You throw the word “war widow” around and it’s easy to see why it’s hard to start dating.  Widows don’t forget.  They don’t ever stop thinking about their husbands.  That being said I wasn’t holding my breath!  But during that conversation that night I knew that in whatever relationship may come in the future that I would have to approach it in a very different way than the old Emma would have.

I promised myself that I would go forward in love with an open heart.  I wouldn’t wear a mask of any kind.  I would be honest.  I would be up front about how I plan to always remember Todd and how he will always be a part of my family.  It was only fair to lay it all out there so the poor guy could go running in the opposite direction should he feel so inclined.  Well when Alex came into the picture I don’t think either of us really knew how we felt about each other.  He was a good listener, made me laugh, and loved playing with Kiley.  I couldn’t tell how he felt about me…. but he sure did spend a lot of time with us.  So I took the opportunity to talk about some of the topics that I assumed would have him putting on his running shoes and heading out the door.  But he didn’t run. 

It didn’t take long for a very strong bond to form between us.  I kept my promises to myself, as we grew closer.  I let my weird sense of humor out without shame.  I don’t pretend to like terrible B movies of any kind.  I’m sorry Alex I just can’t watch them!  If I need to cry he holds my hand.  If there is an event for Gold Star families he will gladly go with me.  And as we approach the four-year anniversary of Todd’s death I know he will help me honor him.  He will be patient as I struggle through the hardest time of year for me. 

Sometimes I wonder where my old life would have taken me.  Would Todd have had any luck in his big parenting plans of using granola bars as a reward for Kiley?  I certainly didn’t.  When the paleo diet came into popularity I could see how that would have been something he would have been into.  Deeper than that I wonder whether I would have continued to be the old Emma or if I would have been strong enough to one day come clean about how much I had been editing myself.  Would he have accepted me with the same love he had for old Emma?  Would we have had another baby like we had talked about in our last emails?  There are so many questions…none of which I will ever have answers for.  It is with these questions that I have learned a hard lesson.  It took losing my husband, the father of our sweet daughter, and my world, as I knew it to make me see how important being “real” is.    

My life looks a lot different than where I was four years ago.  I think only my widow sisters will understand how much it hurts me to say I am happy again.  How could I not feel pain and guilt sometimes?  It’s a double-edged sword really.  Life:  it’s saddening because it’s not what I had planned for myself.  But it’s amazing at the same time.  I have an incredible family, on Earth and in Heaven!  Kiley will turn 5 years old this month and starts Kindergarten in the fall.  Shelton will be crawling any day now.  We’re happy and healthy and loving life.  I am truly sorry for not having been myself for so long.  It is a lesson that has not been lost on me.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Not This Time

I've been feeling king of "off" for the past few days and I couldn't quite verbalize what was wrong.  All I could figure was that Alex's upcoming trip back to the states was making me anxious.  I was going to miss him.  I was tackling taking care of both kids on my own.  And even though I just want to spend time with him before he goes I feel mildly stand-offish.  Couldn't really put my finger on why.  


Last night I was watching Alex play with Shelton.  He was raising Shelton up on his lap while sitting on the couch.  I was standing in such a way that all I could see was the back of his head against the couch and little Shelton's face staring at him.  And then I went back in time.  I've lived that moment once before.  Todd sat in that same place.  Kiley's little face beaming at him while he played with her.  Gently patting her on the back and resting her head on his shoulder.  I came back to the moment....waiting for Alex to rest the bay's head on his shoulder and pat him on the back.  He did.  I smiled.   

What I realized in that moment is my vulnerability.  When Todd deployed I had no fears that he wouldn't be coming back safe and sound.  All I had to do was wait.  I waited...but I was wrong.  In all that I have experienced and learned through loss I am still learning everyday.  In my logical mind I can convince myself that any fears I have can be put to rest.  Going back stateside for a few short weeks is very different than watching your soldier head to Afghanistan.  I know this!  My irrational mind sees notification officers at the door.  It sees black dresses, folded flags, and fatherless children  I'm usually a very confident woman who understands the ins and out of grief.  But today I've been challenged to again pull myself out of the CRAZY and remember that all I can do is live every moment for what it is.  A moment...and then it's gone.  Grab it.  Hold on tight.  Say goodbyes without fears :).


Friday, January 31, 2014

Shelton's Birth Story

I always heard that it is best to write down a birth story as soon as possible while the experience is fresh in your mind.  Well it's 6:00am and after a quick nursing session for the little one I can't quite fall asleep so now is as good a time as any.

This pregnancy was not unlike my last.  I dealt with the same back pain that can only be described as if somebody had a grip around around my spine.  This one had the added bonus of sciatica as well.  Baby never made me sick the whole time which I am very thankful for.  I hadn't thought much about the fact that he had been lying in a breech position since most babies flip themselves to the head down position later in the third trimester.  Well that time came and went and Baby was still snug as a bug with his head resting against my ribs when we started to worry.  Our Obstetrician, who had been an amazing doctor so far, suggested an external cephalic version to help coax him into the right position.  The experience wasn't very pleasant but it wasn't painful since I chose to have an epidural during the procedure.  Two doctors used their hands to manipulate the baby from the outside trying to turn my baby over.  I felt like a ball of pizza dough getting kneaded.  Unfortunately it was unsuccessful and we had to make the hard decision to schedule a cesarean section for the safety of the baby.  

Our c-section was scheduled for Wednesday January 22nd (GU time) and we started getting everything ready for our hospital stay.  CAUTION TMI AHEAD : Monday morning I noticed I couldn't control what I thought was pee and that continued all day.  I questioned whether my water had broken because I never experienced it with Kiley's birth.  I thought it was like in the movies where it would be obvious if it had happened.  I went about my day without saying much about it to Alex other than I wasn't sure what was going on.  We went for a two mile walk that I would have happily kept going on (if you know me I would have walked my usual 5 miles) but my body was telling me it was time to go home.  Alex, Kiley, and I went out to dinner around 7:00pm.  I started feeling a little crampy while we were waiting to order.  When it happened again I thought I had slyly looked at my watch to begin timing it.  Apparently not.  Alex was on alert from that moment and I kept trying to brush it off like it was probably just braxton hicks contractions.  Truth be told I was hungry and I wanted to eat!  While we ate Alex called the hospital.  They asked us to come in since we weren't sure whether my water had broken based on what I was describing to them and they wanted to check me out.  We let our friend Sarah know that she'd be getting a 4 year old visitor that night even though I was hopeful that we'd be coming back for her in a few hours.  I was wrong.

At the hospital Baby was still in the breech position of course.  Snug as a bug still.  Contractions were consistent and getting more painful.  When the nurse checked me she said my water had broken so I wasn't going home....Baby was on his way!  All the staff got called in around 9:30pm to start prepping for the c-section and Alex got changed into scrubs.  He made them look really good!  I declined to ride down to the operating room in the bed and walked instead.  I knew I'd be spending a lot of time in that bed after the procedure so I wasn't eager to give up my freedom of movement just yet.  

The c-section itself wasn't that bad.  All the people prepping in the OR with tubes, gases, needles, and masks made me more anxious than anything else.  There was one male nurse that tried to make me comfortable by joking a lot but I just thought he was annoying.  The only thing I would have wanted would to have been able to lean on Alex while I got the spinal instead of the nurse.  He's much more calming.  Around 11:00pm I was ready to go and Alex could come in.  He sat by my head and the anesthesiologist stood behind him.  They distracted me from the tugging sensations I was feeling behind the blue sheet draped in front of me.  At 11:20pm and weighing in at 6lbs 6oz and 19.3 inches long our son Shelton was born feet first but perfectly healthy!  Alex got to cut the cord...and I got to have him laid on my chest where he began nursing after just a minute.  Holding him, watching him root around and finally find his target and be satisfied was amazing.  It was the perfect distraction away from the sewing me back up that I knew was going on behind the blue sheet.  

Shelton makes being a parent to a newborn pretty easy.  He only fusses when he's flat on his back, possibly getting a new diaper, and ready to eat.  He's pretty easy to read so far.  We get lots of sleep already and he nurses like a pro.  The hardest part for me is obviously healing.  I'm so active that I have a hard time taking it easy, although I'm giving it all my effort right now.  Kiley has been helpful, handing us wipes and diapers when it's time to change him.  Shelton gets lots of hugs and tickles from his big sister.  Having Alex home to help me has been amazing, although I know he's exhausted.  I love watching him with his son.  He takes the role of new dad and fully embraces it.  


When I have lived through such a dark and devastating tragedy of losing my first husband I am eternally grateful for his sacrifice and for the divine intervention that brought Alex into our lives.  For without Alex, Kiley, and now baby Shelton I just do not know what kind of a person I would be right now.  I'm happy.  I'm excited for the future.  I'm going to go snuggle my baby now :).


Sunday, September 8, 2013

With Every Breath

What trips us up the most in navigating grief is the "Why?"  That one question burrows itself into your mind and can multiply the pain your heart is already experiencing.  I've asked myself that same question more times than I can count.  The difference for me is that I don't find myself questioning why did Todd have to die.....but more so what his purpose in death means to myself and others.  What am I supposed to be learning, listening for, and taking away from the greatest tragedy I've faced in my life.  

1LT Todd Weaver lived his life with purpose- he was a natural leader, dependable, and courageous.  He completed life on this Earth on September 9th, 2010 with the same amount of purpose that he carried those twenty six years.  In his own words Todd says "Never forget that God knew what was best for us before we were even born.  Take comfort in that.  This happened for a reason.  Although you may not believe it now, you will one day".  And he was right for I do believe it now.  While it is not a destiny that I would have wished for him I understand that great sacrifices like his are strong enough to forever change those who hear his story.

Maybe it's not 100% accurate, maybe it is.....but this is the story that I know.  The one that gives me the peace in my heart that lets me sleep again.  It was the early dawn hours of Sept 9th in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  Todd's field artillery unit was targeting a small building that was suspected of terrorist activity.  The platoon was positioning themselves for the ready when Todd triggered a buried IED by a low mud wall.  He watched what followed from above after that moment.  Mission abort, an ambush, a battle ensues.  Todd's fellow soldiers never leave his side and bravely bring him back to the combat outpost while risking their lives and sustaining injuries along the way.  An investigation is standard procedure after a combat death and that is when it was discovered that the building they were targeting that morning was packed with enough explosives to kill half the platoon had they hit it.  

Hearing that story I no longer questioned "Why Todd?"  I accepted that God knew what he was doing in choosing him to make that sacrifice.  I think more than anything else my hopes are that the men with Todd that morning see how God was implementing his plan for their lives as well.  For whatever reason He needed Todd to put it all in motion.  I've been confronted more than once by some of Todd's battle buddies from his time in Iraq and Afghanistan where they say "I wish it could have been me, Emma" or "I'd switch places with him if I could".  I try to understand survivor guilt as best I can but I find it difficult to put myself in their shoes.  I want to embrace them, look straight into their eyes and have them feel the electric jolt of understanding that I've felt.  I wish I could say "You didn't die that day for a reason.  You haven't lived the life the Lord has planned for you.  You haven't earned the right to go home yet.  He still needs you."  I can only hope each life not lost that day is lived with that same Todd Weaver drive.  

Three years have gone by.  It's kind of like living in two different worlds though.  I've celebrated three of Kiley and I's birthdays, found love again, married a wonderful man, moved across the world, and am welcoming a son early next year.  But I can close my eyes and see the shadows at the door.  I can hear my mom screaming in the background of my phone call home that terrible morning.  I can smell the moon dust from his belongings sent home from Afghanistan.  I can feel the pain as freshly as if it were yesterday.  And I can do this every single day.  But instead I look at how much God has given us since then and try to be that much more thankful for my own life and what He has done with it so far. 

It is in these moments that I hope I can continue to actively honor and remember the hero that I love.  Until we meet again in Heaven I hope we all stop asking "Why?"....and start asking "How am I going to make the most of the gift of life I have so graciously been given?"  


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hafa Adai!

     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.


Friday, March 8, 2013

How Much I Keep Learning...

Two and a half years ago today marks the darkest day I've ever known.  The day where I was awoken by two dark silhouettes  that I could see through the decorative glass panel of my front door in Clarksville, Tennessee. I could have been dreaming....given the fact that the sun had not risen that was my immediate assumption.  But the silhouettes became much more real as I opened the door, confused and very much afraid for them to speak.  Trembling, I had to get Kiley.  She was crying from her crib.  

Every single day since September 9th, 2010 has been a battle.  A battle against grief, a battle against coping, a battle against fear, a battle against trust, a battle against rejection, a battle against me keeping my shit together quite frankly!  Sorry.  Sometimes the soundtrack in my mind of "I think I can I think I can I think I can" quiets down just enough to remind me that my shield of "strength" isn't always as it appears.  

Quite often I'll hear people compliment me on this so called strength, my ability to inspire others, or my outlook on life after losing Todd.  And immediately following such a compliment or kind word the reaction in my head is always "WHY?"  I'm not doing anything.  I'm not trying to be anybody special.  I'm not trying to change the world or prove anything to anybody.  I'm just sitting here going "I think I can I think I can I think I can".  I'll tell you the mantra doesn't always work.  I was reminded of that today.

I had looked forward to visiting Todd at Arlington National Cemetery more than usual this morning.  I needed to see talk to be with him before we move away from the area.

I  hadn't gotten to visit since before Christmas, a time in which I took to talk about my upcoming wedding.  Kiley and I had set up his Christmas tree and I tried a little more to teach her about this sacred place.  Finding what I hoped were the right words and examples for a three year old to understand.  Teaching her about how to walk between the aisles and never across the headstones.  Praying she doesn't pick Todd's neighbors flowers or move their mementos.  Today would be harder....but I shocked myself once I got there and realized how much harder it really was.

We arrived during a sailor's service.  It was being held within close proximity to Todd's headstone so we decided to keep our distance until after the family had laid their loved one to rest.  Watching from afar was almost an out of body was overwhelming to say the least.  I knew that the woman clutching the folding flag couldn't feel the stinging cold wind that everybody else was feeling.  She couldn't see past the casket, she didn't even realize how many people were there to support her and to pay their respects to the young sailor.  I knew her numbness all too well.  This is when I couldn't keep it together anymore.  

The fact that I could collapse into the arms of the man who never lets me fall...being held up by his love and unwavering support solidified a belief in my heart.  That is my strength!  The embrace of my husband and daughter as I stand sobbing over the grave of the man I thought I'd grow old with renews me.  Teaches me what's important.  Value this life, acknowledge the path that has brought you this far- it may not have been how you wanted to get there but trust me - the route isn't really your call.  

Monday, June 18, 2012


I could be setting myself up for failure tonight as most of what has been weighing on my mind is difficult to discuss.  The repercussions could potentially intensify how alienated I already feel, but after some lengthy conversations with my personal advisor (Mom), she gently reminded me that if we don't talk about the hard stuff....we don't change the hard stuff.

Since last year's global backlash of sharing my husbands last letters to my daughter and I, I have been less apt to put myself in a situation where I could feel that much judgement.  After reading more hateful comments from people that just must have thought I hadn't suffered enough- they certainly gave me cause to hesitate.  I turned down a national television show knowing that as much positivity and hope I could give would never be worth repeating that experience.  But wouldn't you know it...I don't have to say much at all and judgement is a daily hardship for me.  Can we talk about this, please?  Because if I sit on it much longer I'm scared that I'll build up so much resentment to those I feel  abandoned by that when I'm finally pushed away that it could be too late.  This being Father's Day I was motivated to reach out and hopefully connect on this issue after this morning's sermon at my church.  I felt like in a room of over 1,000 people that our pastor was just sitting across from me at a coffee shop maybe, hearing my heart and everything I have been through and learned, and verbalizing it in a way that I never could.  That will stick with me forever.

Something to consider:  Being a widow, young or old, with kids or without, does not mean that they lost the ability to decide what is best for them or their family.  You trusted and loved them when they married the man they lost, please be there for them when they try to pick up the pieces of their lives when they need you the most.  Many people aren't aware of how much added burden is placed on somebody experiencing grief when opinions and expectations of everybody else are constantly on their mind.  I'm going to tell you something I haven't talked about before, and I wish I didn't feel like I had to now.

The day before Todd deployed we were sitting upstairs in the office finishing my Battle Book.  For those of you who have never heard of a battle book it is a directory of every important piece of information that you could ever think of in order to take care of a military spouses daily routine in an emergency.  Like if during Todd's deployment I were to be hospitalized for whatever reason somebody could look at this book and know when to feed the dog, where we kept medicine, what Kiley's needs were, etc.  The more important part of that book goes through subjects we don't ever want to have to consider could be our reality.  But it is.  We talked about funeral wishes.  We talked about wearing uniform vs. civilian clothes.  We talked about what he would like to take to Heaven.  And as painful and upsetting as they were, if he didn't tell me and if the worst were to happen I may have questioned every decision that I did make wondering whether it was what he wanted.  Harder than any of that conversation was the part when he told me about wanting to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  He'd of course never mentioned that before and I didn't ask why.  That's what he wanted and I didn't need an explanation- if my husband has to come back to me under red, white, and blue he gets whatever he wants.  No questions.  But what I did want to know was whether that would mean that when my time came would I be able to rest there with him?  He just stopped writing, looked at me, and said "well I've always assumed you would remarry"....followed closely with "Kiley needs to have a Dad".  I can't imagine how difficult that thought had to have been for him.  It hurt me to hear it because it wasn't a reality I wanted to live.   His tone of voice said more than his statement did....  different than I would have expected.  He was serious and tender at the same time.  A lot of what Todd communicated in life never had to be said- and during this moment etched into my memory forever I felt his desire for my happiness come through in a way I'd never experienced before.  I've been trying to come up with a way to express the significance and depth of this conversation but I can't.  I can't because nobody else would understand, it was a bond that only we shared- so different than any other - friend or family alike.

Not having shared this intimate detail of our lives until now it has been hard to cope with the reactions of others from the moment I started dating Alex.  Having the peace that I do, knowing my husband's heart better than anybody, somehow got buried underneath the blanket of unspoken disapproval and abandonment I feel now.  I started to question whether what Kiley and I needed for our future could ever be embraced with love and understanding.  To be totally honest I don't feel like I'm even a factor in some people's minds anymore.  Emma Weaver was replaced with Todd's widow.  A bookmark in time....placed at Sept 9th, 2010.  Losing a spouse is so emotionally devastating but what makes it worse is that not only have you lost them- you've lost hope that you'll be supported, and you've lost your identity.  Take care of a widows heart.  We just ask for understanding when the time comes for us to move forward in our lives.  Maybe our decisions aren't the same as what you'd do/hope/expect.  But you haven't lived what we have....haven't lost what we have.  Your silence speaks volumes.  And this is the only way I can hope to reach an audience, maybe not mine, but somebody out there will hear this call...

This next part is where I'm going to call myself out and others too.  This is where what I have to say can potentially be the last bit of communication I ever get to have with some people.  All I can do is pray that by acknowledging my awareness of it and my desperate hope to connect my heart to yours that it won't be.

Lets talk about Facebook.  I take Todd's memory and all that I can teach and share with Kiley very seriously.  She needs to know what a great man she has for a father.  And at the same time I want to balance that remembrance with our present and our future.  Being able to express happiness again is amazing, something as simple as a status update or life event is me.  So like every other person out there that's what I do.  Except I started to take notice of who commented, liked, or messaged me. A trend was starting to appear.  Any time I talked about Todd or tagged a picture of him I was overwhelmed with positive feedback.  Battle buddies, co-workers, old friends, new friends, mentors, strangers, family, you name it.  It was encouraging.  Sadly though my audience that comments on anything having to do with the concept of "moving forward" is much smaller.  A more defined audience as well....women mostly, new friends, people who grew up being my friends and knowing me for me, soldiers for whom Todd would speak highly of and valued on a professional level, and those with children of their own.  While that was encouraging too- it hurt at the same time because I was acutely aware of the differences I was seeing.  I can only hope that although I'm letting you know how painful is has been to feel like not only have I lost Todd but I'm losing those ties to people he cherished on Earth....that you'll hear my heart now.  Todd doesn't get to grow old and reminisce about the old days, he doesn't get to go to reunions, he doesn't get to share his daughter with the world.  I do.  I would like to be able to do that for him if you'll have me.

Take care of a widows heart.  Please.