The Sun is Shining

Ok maybe not so literally today. It's actually quite over-cast and was raining this morning and there is clearly more rain coming... buuut it was this weekend and it is today for me in my little cloud of the world. This post is probably going to be a lengthy one, so if you stick it out to the end, mad props to you.

I'm going to start with a slight weekend recap. I wanted to blog quite a few times this weekend but it was just so busy that I didn't really get a chance. After the last post, this one should be a bit more on a happy note and some of you might think I'm a little nuts how much my mood shifts but that's 1. Part of grieving and 2. Part of being a woman in general. So, just bare with me, mmk?
After the memorial, I hung out with Rachel (Jonny's mom) for a little bit at the house. We talked a lot and she had some really good insight and perspective that really helped me come to terms with things, including the "why's." No words, obviously, will take the pain and sadness away, nor will we, as humans, be able to answer those questions, but some of the things Rachel touched on really helped my heart. Especially with the reasons Jonny is not coming home. There may be a greater and more profound reason that he had to leave this Earth that we, as humans (again) can not yet know. Later that evening, we had dinner with Rachel and Brian (Jonny's step dad) as well as my friend/Marine wife (and practically sister) Aura. It was a nice relaxing dinner at Applebee's. I came home and had a bit of a breakdown on the way (hence the last post) and sat and talked to my husband for a little while. I pulled out of the breakdown and enjoyed Family Feud on facebook (I'm sooo addicted) and just relaxed.

Saturday Rachel and Brian came by the house and I took them on base. They wanted to pick up a few things for Brian's nephew that they were visiting on the way back to FL. I was pretty disappointed at the lack of "Gold Star" items at the exchange, though. No, I don't need to plaster everywhere that I'm a Gold Star, and luckily friends and family have been able to find me everything I've wanted as far as public displays go (flags, magnets, decals) somewhere, be it on the internet or at the Marine Corps Museum; I was just a little disappointed for people who come there after a memorial who can't really find much to honor their fallen Marine. I wonder if this is because it's one thing people don't want to think about, even while shopping at the exchange, or if it's simply economic - not as much demand for the Gold Star magnets as the Blue Star ones. Either way, I think our base needs to carry a little more items for those who want to honor someone who has fallen. Then we went to lunch at Andy's Cheesesteaks on base. I was a little frightened about this part. Jonny and I used to eat there all the time. We were both suckers for a good Philly (although he often was disappointed in the lack of CheezWiz - "the real Philly way") and we always took people who visited us there. It was ok though. It's just a place. A place we used to go, but alas only a place. And the subs are delicious so I made it ok ;-)

Sunday was May 2. May 2, 2010. One year from May 2, 2009. One year since we said "I do." I decided that we were going to celebrate the one year anniversary of our marriage in true Mr. and Mrs. P style. Beach day! A large group of friends came out to Onslow Beach and we spent the day layin' in the sun soaking up the rays (getting burnt in REALLY weird patterns) and enjoying each others' company. It was really nice. We loved the beach so much and I often feel happiest when the sand is beneath me and the water in front of me. Ari did well on the beach this time, it wasn't too windy like the last time we went and she spent a good amount of time snoozing. That evening, I had people over and we indulged in some adult beverages. I may have indulged a little more than normal, but it was my anniversary and I wanted to, so there. It was over all a very fun time, lots of laughs. Toward the end of the night I let the sadness in (by accident). I wasn't feeling well and just wanted to talk to Jonny because "He makes everything all better." Lucky for me, I've got amazing friends and they took care of it. Held me when I was sad and rubbed my hair (like your mom does when you don't feel good!) until I fell asleep, whispering to my hubsand on the way to dream land.

I spent much of the day thinking about the same day a year before - our wedding day - and our entire relationship in general. It was a nice day of reflection. On our wedding day, Jonathan was not nervous. I remember my mom telling me after how she asked him if he was nervous and he held out his hand - completely steady, no shaking - and he told her "I'm not nervous, momma, I'm ready. I know exactly what I'm doing." My dad, doing the dad thing, asked me repeatedly if I was sure I wanted to do this. I just remember smiling and telling him I was SO ready. The only thing I was nervous about was tripping down the aisle - I'm not so good at walking in heels and the straps wouldn't stay up. Thank God I bought white flip flops for the reception and could dance the night away comfortably. We had so much fun that day. I got to hang out with Jonny's family that I hadn't really gotten to know and we all got along so well. We laughed so much and Jonny was a sucker for the dips, and I ate them up. We smashed cake and of course he licked it off my face. We had a little after party and enjoyed "indulging in adult beverages" and after that he even invited people to come up and hang out in our room - on his wedding night! When I asked him later about that, he said, "Well I know you like spending time with your friends and just having fun and I just wanted you to be happy. And I really liked everyone and just wanted to keep hangin' out." That's the kind of couple we were - always having fun - laughing, dancing, singing, joking... Did we fight? Oh hell yeah, we did. We were intense, passionate people, and there were nights we would yell and scream at each other - but we loved even more intensely than we fought. We always made up within hours of the beginning of the argument - we knew each other so well we knew exactly which buttons to press and then when to stop pressing buttons and just be together. The love Jonny and I shared was like no other. While we could make each other mad at times it never got in the way of how much we loved. I'd still wake up in the morning to a note, a kiss. He'd still wake up in the morning his lunch ready, a note written. It didn't matter - nothing did as long as we were together. And even when we were apart.

I was thinking, as I was driving down to North Carolina from my visit in Maryland (about a week before the notification) that the majority of our relationship, we spent apart. Thanks to the Marine Corps (and I'm not complaining here, it's just a matter of fact), we only spent about 9 months of our one and a half year relationship physically together. Thanks to technology and an extremely strong bond though, we were never apart. We always knew when something was up. He would call or email from Afghanistan and I would tell him that I was just really in need of hearing from him and thank him and he would tell me that he had a feeling I needed him and did what he could to contact me as soon as he could. The day that he died, I didn't feel right. You will hear many military widows say this, and I believe it whole-heartedly. Now, at the time I didn't know something was up, I'd just been feeling off all day. My friends had asked if I wanted to go to the beach and I turned them down (!!!) because I just felt... icky. And the night I found out there was an accident I knew in my heart that something was just not right. I am thankful for this bond. I am thankful for having been loved and for loving a man who knew me, inside and out, even from thousands of miles away. I am thankful, that in my heart, this bond is still present. I will probably touch on these subjects again (and maybe again and again) because they are important and fall into many facets of our life together as well as my life now, but I have just been thinking about them so much especially with having just celebrated our anniversary.

Ok, now that I have recapped and touched on some thoughts surrounding my anniversary, a little business.

Anyone in the Tampa Bay area, St. Pete's H.O.T. (Helping Our Troops) is holding a fundraiser in honor of Jonny (going to Ariana's Trust Fund) memorial day weekend. It will be at Paddy Burkes in St. Pete on 29 May 2010 from 6-9 pm. I am trying to upload the flier but blogger isn't working with me so I'll get it up as soon as I figure out how. There will be all kinds of raffles and auctions and 1 free draft or rail drink for people with MilIDs and $1 Bud Select. Oh and I'll be there with Ari and my mom as well as Jonny's mom and I'm sure several other family members!! So if you're going to be in the Tampa Bay area for Memorial Day weekend, stop by and see us!!

Many thanks to all my bloggy friends and your wonderful comments, to Soldier's Angels OTK and St. Pete's H.O.T. for all their help and support, and everyone's well wishes and happy thoughts. Hope you all continue to have a wonderful week.

Semper Fi,

P.S.
In case you needed to be reminded of how freakin' cute our daughter is...

57 comments

  1. Your daughter is absolutely beautiful, as are you- what strong girls you are xoxo

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  2. This was a beautiful post and I am glad that you got to enjoy your anniversary with friends. And your baby girl is STINKIN cute. =] Keep your chin up.

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  3. I'm still thinking about you. I admire your strength and courage, because I know I wouldn't be able to do the same.

    I was feeling sad the whole post, and when I saw Ariana...it made me smile. She is sooo freakin adorable!

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  4. I read all the way through. I don't think I've gotten through one of your posts without tearing up! You should know...I cry maybe once a year. Some people call me heartless but the tears just never come! Anyway....(I think Ive told you this before) but we are stationed at MacDill in Tampa. I would love to attend! Looking forward to it! Thanks for the info!

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  5. I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face. What a beautiful, beautiful post. I continue to pray for you and your daughter. She is just too cute for words!

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  6. What a way to end the post! What a smile she has!
    So happy to hear your friends came to spend the day with you Sunday! I am so happy to hear about your good days, and of course I feel for you and pray for you on all the other days too! :)

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  7. P.S. Happy Anniversary!! ;-)

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  8. What a touching post. Keep on going Rachel, we're all rooting for ya. Hang in there... God is by your side...
    You and Jonny had a wonderful relationship.
    andddd... your daughter is A D O R A B L E. What a CUTE kid!!! :-)
    Big big big hugs,
    Chare

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  9. she is freaking cute! i'm glad that you celebrated your anniversary and your love with friends! <3

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  10. thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts..it sounds odd but you've been in thoughts since i came across your blog and i have been hoping that the sun would start to shine for you soon. i am glad you have a little bit of sunshine and hope that it countines.

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  11. Happy Anniversary - you were blessed with the love of a wonderful man. Even though he isn't with you I am glad you celebrated with other loved ones -
    Praying for you daily

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  12. Beautiful post.. Your daughter will be glad (and proud) to read this someday :)

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  13. She's a doll! Such a cutie...I can see both of you there.

    As I write this, I am tearing up again...an oddity for me as I am not really a sentimental person. But as always, your posts touch me.

    I completely understand the married telepathy some couples have...my husband and I do that especially while he's deployed.

    I don't really have any amazing words of wisdom to offer, just my best wishes for you and Ariana. And random hugs should you need one.

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  14. What a lovely blog. I was really really touched by the story of your bond. Also, I'm going to go talk to the manager of the PX. End of Story.

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  15. gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous child. She looks very like you in that picture :-) It is really great that you can write all this stuff, not for us really but for yourself and Ariana and your future which slowly and surely will make sense x

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  16. Your daughter really is adorable. I feel like you being another marine spouse I should tell you something profound and that will help you in your grieving. But I'm afraid you've heard most of it already, from people that you actually know. But I wanted you to know that I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    I hope you get some real sunshine soon, I'll try my best to send it south towards you.

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  17. Oh - she is cute!

    Post and let us know if there is a way to donate to Ariana's Trust Fund. we are not rich, but would love to send something :)

    still praying for you and your family - you do sound much better in this post.

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  18. You dont know me but I just wanted to say that you are very strong. I will continue to pray for you and your beautiful daughter!

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  19. She is too cute! And I totally made it to the end of the post! Glad to know the sun is shining for you:)

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  20. I am glad to see your having your ups in your grief process! Your in my thoughts and prayers and by the way you have an adorable daughter!

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  21. This was an amazing post to read, I am so glad you are surrounded by great family and friends! Your daughter is beautiful and I have no doubt she will know what an amazing man her father is and will carry on his legacy. I wish I was going to FL, have fun!

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  22. You beautiful lady. I was thinking about you this weekend. I'm so glad you were able to celebrate your love and life together with family and friends. And yes, your daughter is stinkin' cute! ;)

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  23. Ari is just TOO adorable!!

    I love reading your posts, and being we shop at the same exchange -- we noticed the lack of availablity of certain items of importance.

    Thank heavens for all your wonderful friends that helped you to enjoy your anniversary.

    I hope the event in Tampa Bay is sucessfull, and the weather cooperates for you to have many more beach days in your near future. :O)
    Take Care

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  24. The photo is the most darling picture of your sweet little girl. He will always live on in her AND you :)

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  25. great post :)

    And she is stinking adorable!!!!!

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  26. I made it to the end! I cried reading this beautiful post. Your strength to get up every day humbles me. Glad you found a great way to celebrate your anniversary...I'm sure Jonny was right there with you. And your daughter is absolutely adorable!

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  27. Wow, this blog was very touching. I am glad your friends and family made your weekend better piece by piece. Your a very strong individual. Oh, and ya'lls daughter is way cute : P

    -- The Civilian

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  28. Thanks so much for posting that. Your daughter IS quite cute! :)

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  29. I am a fellow military wife. I have been keeping up with your blog for a while. I just want to tell you there are people still out there praying for you and your beautiful daughter. Thank you for sharing in something I can't begin to understand.

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  30. Rachel, what a beautiful post. I'm SO glad you had friends to surround you for your anniversary, and got to celebrate your way.

    I think of you every day, and I'm so amazed by your strength. I have an email that I've started, and will one day actually finish to send you! Sending you lots of love and strength!

    Lisa

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  31. oh she is a ham! glad you had such a lovely anni. you are having positive thoughts....your in my thoughts and prayers goodluck with the fundraiser.

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  32. Your posts always tug on my heart strings...I continue to be in prayer for you and your family.

    And BTW~your little girl is PRECIOUS!!!!

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  33. That is sooooooooo weird you said that you were nervous about tripping on your wedding day. That's all I was nervous about too! It seems odd to me that people would be nervous about marrying their soul mate. It should be natural, and a much better alternative to not marrying your best friend.

    Its really brave of you to share so openly about such a very private matter, like all these inside looks at your grieving process. Girl, I totally believe God is using you already to help others in your place. Even though you haven't been walking down this road very long (maybe it seems long or short to you so far, I don't know) but sometimes part of the reason we go through things is to help others. Somewhere out there another Gold Star wife will feel a little bit of comfort knowing she isn't so alone. I think that's a wonderful gift that your blog can give someone.

    And, you inspire me everyday :)

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  34. I need to see this little lady as soon as possible!!!!!

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  35. Happy Anniversary! How blessed you are to have the love you do with Jonny. Many go through their entire lives and never know what the two of you share.
    And yes...your baby girl is just too cute! The miracle of love you and Jonny will always have.
    Hugs to you on this day...and all the days to come!
    ~AM

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  36. What a great reflection of your marriage and relationship! You are incredibly strong and I'm sure many people look up to you for how well you have handled everything. Best wishes.

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  37. Looking into your daughter's eyes, I can see the love you and your husband shared just shining out of her.

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  38. i'm so glad they are helping you set up a trustfund for ariana...

    i'm new here but i've been following you for a while, i'm really sorry for your loose

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  39. Ariana is tooo stinkin' cute!
    I am so glad and thankful that you are and have been surrounded great friends that have helped to support you through your anniversary and also the last few months.
    You're in my thoughts and in many others'.

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  40. Also you're wedding pics are gorgeous.

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  41. I am a fellow Marine wife to a Marine currently in Afghanistan, and have been following your blog since your post "I will always be a Marine Wife." I cried my way through it, feeling pain for your pain, trying to think of something to say, and yet there really weren't words that sounded right. I just want you to know how incredibly strong you are, how adorable your daughter is (obviously you know this!), and that I wish, like you, that no one had to ever experience this. Also, my husband is one of the Marines that works with the MCCS organization, and I'm going to ask him to contact someone at Lejeune about the lack of Gold Star items. Hopefully this is something that will change! You are an amazing woman, and I hope that you find warmth and peace looking at that beautiful smile of your daughter's. She is thoroughly a piece of your husband that will be with you every single day!

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  42. Your daughter is just the most precious thing I have ever seen. I read this with tears in my eyes. You are so incredible! Love you from far away!

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  43. Happy (few days late) anniversary to you two :) what a great day to get married. My birthday!!

    I've heard of that feeling from others when loved ones or friends have died. I've known too many people "feel" it. But hearing the bond you and Jonny shared is just amazing, you two sound like a beautiful couple.

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  44. Happy Anniversary!!!!

    Your daughter is adorable! Great post, very touching, Your always in my thoughts and Prayers!

    ~Alicia

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  45. Well I cried through the whole darn post and then giggled when I saw your ridiculously cute daughter... kudos to you and Jonny on making a pretty baby ;) Also... Happy Anniversary! So happy to hear that you celebrated it well.

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  46. Happy anniversary :) I am so glad you have good friends there to help you through! You are stronger than you may think :D

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  47. Happy Anniversary a few days late! Your daughter is about the most beautiful little thing ever!!!

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  48. She's adorable! Happy anniversary.

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  49. I've never commented before, but wanted to take the time to comment. I keep up with your blog, and I think that you are an amazingly strong and beautiful woman. Your daughter is precious. My husband is a former Marine, now active duty Army, and is gearing up for his third deployment, the first to Afghanistan. I just wanted you to know that I admire your strength and courage in the face of the tragedy of losing your beloved. (((HUG)))

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  50. She is absolutely beautiful. I loved this post. It made me cry as usual but my heart was fluttering out of happiness that you have found a little happiness. Prayers as always.

    ♥ Mrs. S.

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  51. It is nice to hear that no matter what you celebrated your 1 yr with family and friends and of course with Jonny right by your side in spirit of course....your daughter by the way looks more and more beautiful with each picture I have seen...lots of love and prayers to you and Ari

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  52. Rachel, I live in Tampa and I hope to attend. Please let me know what is the address of the event. Your daughter is absolutely adorable, the wedding pictures are beautiful! This post made me smile. Your love is so strong and powerful!!! I'm glad I know you!

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  53. What a great post! I came across your blog recently and just wanted you to know that you and your sweet daughter have been in my thoughts and prayers ever since. What an amazing example of strength you are to us all.

    p.s. Happy Anniversary! (May 2 is my anniversary too)

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  54. What a beautiful post. Mr. P must be so proud of you. You made a beautiful bride and together you two made a beautiful baby.

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  55. I can't believe what an amazing and strong woman you are. Your love for Mr. P and that sweet little daughter you two made is overwhelming. You are truly an inspiration! Did I mention that your daughter is SO CUTE!? ;) Prayers your way, every day. <3

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  56. Your daughter is very cute, and I am glad you are doing okay. I am thankful for all that you gave up, and I hope you do okay in the future

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