Preparations

Our Battalion is getting ready for homecoming. I'm not going to tell you how close, but the time is near(ish) and this is just more unwelcomed reality smacking me in the face. I should be there. I should be at the Battalion decorating with my best friends. I should be working on Jonny's banner. I should be freaking out about cleaning my house so that he comes home to a nice clean space. I should be picking out homecoming outfits, planning for family to visit and planning our vacation. Our second honey moon we were going to take. Should, should, should. Am not. I am not making his banner, I am not getting ready. I am not going to hug my Marine when he gets off the bus. God, I was looking so forward to that, to that reunion. They say marrying military is like getting to fall in love all over again, a honeymoon every time he comes home. I'll never know. I'll never see him get off the bus. I hate this. It is so unfair and I don't understand. I ask myself why me so frequently. I don't want it to be someone else either, but WHY ME?! Why can't I welcome him home with my friends, hold him again. Even just once more. Just one more time with him... I hate this. I can't say enough how much I hate it. Nothing changes it though. Not how much I hate it, not the moments when I don't want to do it anymore, not the words people say (however kind and wonderful and appreciated they are), not me keeping on with life, not me moping, not anything. Nothing changes it. So I guess all I can really do is suck it up and keep on trucking. Sounds awful but it's all I've got. I've got to keep moving everyday because his little girl is here. I've got to keep moving everyday because I want to make him proud. I've got to keep moving everyday because he'd want me to live my life to the fullest. He would want me happy. He only ever wanted me happy. And as hard as it is, I'm determined to do that... I just hope that I can.

In other, happier, news, I've made a small life decision. I have decided to go back to school. I am going to pursue my Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling. I'm taking a licensure track so I can (hopefully) get licensed in the state of North Carolina and do what I've wanted to do for a long time - counsel the guys who come home and need it most, counsel the families who need it most. I want to help. I want to see others thrive and prosper and become better people. I want to let people know that together we can get through it. We will never forget and we will always hurt but we can live our lives. At least, that's what I'm hoping. I'm hoping we can live on, and hopefully, eventually, happily. Or at least some semblance of happiness. I don't know if I'll ever be truly happy the way I was. I will always feel something missing, there will always be a giant hole in my heart, but hopefully some kind of happiness is possible.

Well, this post is depressing enough so I'm gonna end it here...

52 comments

  1. Girl you are so strong. I'm still amazed about your strength and courage.

    I'm getting my master's degree in Mental Health Counseling too. Good luck with it! If you need anything, I'll be here to talk :)

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  2. I have just recently begun reading your blog and I can not be more touched. You're an amazingly strong woman and a wonderful mother to your ADORABLE daughter. I hope you find peace and some sort of happiness in all of this sorrow and despair. Just remember, every time you look into your little girl's eyes he is there too - in her. I wish you the best and hope that you're still able to pursue your dreams. Best of luck!!

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  3. You are such a wonderfully strong person, and it takes a lot to so openly share feelings in such a public forum. I read your blog all the time, and every time I am reminded of what true strength in the face of adversity is. Your blog is so inspiring, even for people like me who don't have military boyfriends/husbands/etc. It's so great that you are pursuing Mental Health Counseling - and planning on using it to help military folks! After a lot of thinking, I myself am planning switching out of English Lit into Psychology and Music order to eventually pursue my Master's in Music Therapy. I hope to either work with veterans or children. But anyway....I'm sure that by pursuing such a career will really give back to the military community, and be a great way to honor your husband's memory. I wish you all the best of luck! You're in my thoughts and prayers!

    XOXO,
    Sarah

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  4. Rachel PLEASE be a grief counseler to women who have lost their husbands, no one would know better and it would be so much easier for a woman to look another woman who has been in her shoes and come out the other side in the eyes and have her feelings validated! heck I think you should start your own office! Semper Fi

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  5. I am so very proud of you lady! Giving back, will feel so rewarding, and will help others. It will make you still feel close to everyone. That is so awesome!

    I'm sending you hugs...lots and lots of hugs! You know I'm here for you...well, I'll be laid out on my couch for a couple of weeks getting my fupa removed and my tube socks fixed.

    Anyways...love ya girlie girl!!!!!!

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  6. I think what you are doing is incredible!

    I hate that nothing can make this all better for you and that I don't have any magic words. But you are such an inspiration. Your life may have taken a turn you never wanted but you can help so many warriors and family members out there. Ariana is so lucky to have the amazing parents that she does :)

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  7. Rachel, You're a strong and determined woman! My heart hurts for you, and at the same time, I am amazed at your strength. Please know, you, Ari and Jonny are in our prayers daily!!!

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  8. I am no good with words, but all I want to say is Thank you. You are such a strong woman. I could never have the strength you do, to do what you do. I pray for you and your family.

    You inspire me to do more, I honestly can't thank you enough for how many times I have read some of your posts and how just ... well like I said I am no good words, but you are and you have helped me so much! thank you from one military wife to another, thank you

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  9. Per usual, you're fabulous and amazingly strong.

    I know you know that he's looking down on you and Ariana, and could not possibly be more proud of you.

    I think going back to school for that is such a.. selfless thing to do.

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  10. *hug* When the day comes that I'll finally meet you I'll give you a big hug. But until that day comes I'll just stay in a hugging position til you get here.
    You are inspiring and so wonderful :-). Can we please see baby pics of Ariana? I can't wait to see how big she's gotten.

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  11. You are right, it isn't fair. Not fair at all that you have had to go through any of this. I'm so sorry, I know that nothing I can say will make you feel better, but I am truly sorry that you have to go though this. You are a much stronger woman than I think I could ever be in this situation.

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  12. First of all, Semper Fi! I cry everytime I read your posts or any reference to you. It just breaks my heart. Honestly I believe that in helping others, your aches will slowly subside (not entirely but it will give you enough joy to help you thru it all). Your pain will lessen as you help others who are struggling, much like you're helping them now. You are an inspiration. You are continuing to make your husband and daughter so proud and all of our lives (your bloggy friends) are enriched because of you

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  13. I am a new reader to your blog. I can not say that I know what you are going through but I can only begin to imagine. However, my husband lost two very close friends this past October and I have briefly spoken with the wife of one & the mother of the other. It takes true STRENGTH to carry on the way you guys have. I'm sure you're little girl has been your main form of this strength that I speak of & a TRUE BLESSING from up above. I look forward to reading more posts from you. Hang in There! & keep on keeping on.

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  14. OK, no words today, just continuing to send prayers and well wishes your way from little ole me in sunny California.

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  15. I have been reading your blog for about a month. Sorry to just comment. I'm a friend of Maria O'Niel and in Oki. :) Anyways I just wanted to say I've been praying for you since the beginning and through reading your blog I have seen that you are an amazingly strong women!! Good luck with the schooling! I'm sure you will be an awesome counselor!!!

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  16. Hello,

    I have been thinking about you lots as I was viewing memorial day homecoming pics on another site. In fact, in honour of you I declined to look at any more once I had realised what it was and thought about how you would be feeling.
    I can understand you feeling so very cheated and robbed of your hopes and excitement. I guess with your psychology head you can realise that what you are experiencing, aside from your loss of your partner, is catastrophic change. Catastrophic change is obviously what it says on the tin.
    This book is used where I work http://www.amazon.co.uk/Full-Catastrophe-Living-Mindfulness-Meditation/dp/0749915854
    I don't know if it will help you at all, but you might want to look it up. It may also be useful for your forthcoming training. We can't put things right for you but I guess we can help to try to make it a bit better xx

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  17. I am a new reader to your blog and have been so touched by your strength and moved by your story. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    http://www.suchisthelifeofamilitarywife.blogspot.com/

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  18. This makes me tear up. There is nothing anyone can say to you that will take away that time. The unfortunate thing is time is the best shot at easing the pain. It is still fresh I am sure. But you are right, you do have a daughter who depends on you. And she will one day look back at how you handled yourself. That is so wonderful that you are going back to school. I made the decision last year to go back myself and I'm glad I'm doing something for me. Your life doesn't have to come to a stop, it just means it's going another direction. It sucks and it's hard to make that transition, and you should take your time, process everything, feel the sadness so you can press forward. Just live your life one day at a time. You are doing a wonderful job. I can tell you are a very strong person.

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  19. You are such an amazing woman! I think your future plans are awesome and I wish you the best of luck! I know you will do great things!

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  20. Mrs. P.,

    I do not have words to describe how I feel for you and your daughter. The pain you must carry each day is something I cannot begin to understand. What we read here is only the beginning, is my guess.

    All I can say is keep doing what you are doing - live your life to the fullest, for you, and for your little girl, and for him. There is no better way to honor his memory. You already know this, to your immense credit.

    Best wishes and much love from the Roggio family.

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  21. I have no advice. I have not been in your shoes, so I'm not even going to try. Just know that you're thought about by so many, and we all feel so bad for you right now. It's going to be so tough to see the guys return without him. I have heard that the guys who return without their buddies take it very hard, and will be there for you if you want them to be. They were brothers, and you, by extension, are a sister.

    (((hugs)))

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  22. Well said. I bet he is very proud of you right now.

    Good luck with school!

    We are still sending prayers your way. If you get a chance take a look at my Memorial Day blog -

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  23. You are such an amazing woman Rachael. Seriously, I can't even imagine how you are feeling/dealing with the battalion coming home. I encourage you to keep going and keep doing what you are doing. I admire your strength and you are a very honorable woman. Keep it up hun.

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  24. Semper Fi.

    You are so strong. Nobody deserves this.

    But good for you for wanting to go back to school! I'm going back in the fall to get my Masters in Social Work so I can do the same thing and rehabilitate our brave heroes...

    Cheers to you.

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  25. I am in awe every time I read your blog. You are so strong!!! I can't even begin to imagine how much pain you feel every day, yet you continue on with life for your daughter--you are an incredible woman! I think your career choice is one of the best decisions! You will be the PERFECT person for the job! I pray for you and hope that one day you will feel that happiness you wrote about.
    Love,
    Jen

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  26. you are an amazingly strong woman rachel!!!

    so proud of you for going back to school.

    your daughter is gonna be so, so proud of you too!!!

    bless you rachel.

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  27. You are amazing. I'm sure you've made him proud a million times over.

    You are going to be so, so good at your new job. Way to go for pursuing that goal.

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  28. You are amazing! I think it's awesome that you are going back to school.

    And you're right, there is no magic bullet that will make it "all better." I wish there was.

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  29. I'm pretty sure I tell you this all the time, but just in case you need to hear it again. You are inspirational!

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  30. Good for you for making such a big decision and a great one at that! I think you will be wonderful!

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  31. You are in my prayers, girl! Thanks for bearing your heart...

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  32. I can't imagine how hard it will be to see the other guys come home. I am so sorry. It's so sweet that you are pursuing a degree that will allow you to help other military families- I think it will be good for you and you will be great at it!

    You and Ariana are in my thoughts. I'm glad you have each other.

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  33. Since I started reading your blog I have stopped taking coming home to my boyfriend for granted. You are so inspiring and such a strong woman! I really look up to you and the woman and mom that you have became.

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  34. You are an amazing, strong, wonderful woman. I know you are doing what you need to for you and your gorgeous baby girl. I know it will be very hard at homecoming for you and you always are in my prayers. Good luck with school and I know you'll do well.

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  35. There are no words. It isn't fair at all. I've been reading for a little while now and you really are an inspiration. I think it's wonderful what you are pursuing for your master's degree--a very noble profession. Good luck!

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  36. I think that's an amazing thing to do. You sound perfect for the job. I hope all goes well with going back to school! As always...Praying for you!

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  37. I know i have said it before but thank you so much. your life both inspires and scares me. thank you for being so open to us

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  38. I know you don't know me but I want you to know that you are inspiring. And I think it's so awesome that you're going to go back to school so that you can provide the counseling. It's so needed in that area. In a HUGE way. I've thought about doing the same thing myself. I am so sorry for this pain you're facing but you are a beautiful example of grace and strength in the face of grief.

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  39. Got the word in this post, can't say how sorry I am scream at God if you want, scream at him if you must ... like your man He's got shoulders big enough and arms strong enough to carry you through.

    Good decision on going back to school ... not much else to say ... 'cept semper fi from an old army dog

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  40. As I just posted my blog...about getting ready for homecoming and then I came over to check on you...I have many tears and I just CAN NOT imagine!! You are such a strong young lady and I know that you will go farther than you ever thought! I love the fact that you will are thinking of paying it forward! May you ever be blessed! I continue to pray for you and your family...Blessings from Georgia!!

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  41. You're right. Life goes on, maybe a little bit sadder, but if you keep looking for things you can do and change, then you'll find some fulfillment and happiness.

    Though it doesn't help now, just remember during times when you're feeling really down and alone ...you make a difference.

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  42. Your post is not depressing. It's real. And honest. And the truth about how much this totally and utterly SUCKS. There is no other word but that. Sucks. Plain and simple.

    And your life decision?! MAJOR in my book. You will bring a lot to the table & provide a credible voice that people who need the help need to hear.

    The example you are setting for your daughter is a wonderful testament to the two people who made her--good job, Mommy.

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  43. Hang in there Rach. Thinking of you everyday.

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  44. You continue to amaze me! Your such an inspiration!

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  45. Rachel,

    You are an amazing young lady. So much was taken from you, yet you still have the resolute strength to give of yourself and strive to help others.

    The Mister can only be beaming with pride and your little one can only feel the love that brought her to this place.

    They say that the toughest MOS/NEC/AFSC is the military wife. If I were the one writing your fitness report, you would be top block across the board. Anyone who you call friend should be honored that you do.

    And all this from an Army CWO who used to be an enlisted sailor.....

    Hang tough. Semper Fi. Believe it or not, it will get better with time. It won't be the same, but it won't hurt so much....

    CWO4 P.

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  46. I have been reading your blog for a few months now and I have to say...you are classy, intelligent and a true role model for what us military wives should strive to be.

    I am currently getting my master's in Clinical Mental Health and KNOW you are going to kick some serious A$$ in any program like that. Truthfully, I'd hate to have you as my competition. Lol.

    You are going to be able to give so much to so many people. He is proud of you.

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  47. I hate that there is nothing you can do to make it better or to change :(
    But, YEY on going back to school!! you will be a great counselor! Very exciting Rachel!

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  48. I just started reading your blog and feel almost selfish of myself. I am a Navy Girlfriend of two years now. I truly have taken for being excited about my own second homecoming which is right around the corner, for granted.
    You are a hell of a woman, so strong to sit there and stare this in the face and take it head on. I can not imagine what you go through on a daily basis. It truly sounds like you had an amazing love, HAVE an amazing love for an amazing man. I admire you for the bravery you have, for the courage, and commitment, for the honor of your Marine.
    You and your daughter are in my thoughts and prayers and I hope you are able to find some happiness in the light of all this sorrow.

    -Anne, a proud USN girlfriend.

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  49. I can't even imagine what you are going through, so I won't pretend to. I read your blog today for the first time and I cried almost the entire way through it. You are the perfect person for counseling and I wish you the best of luck. Your an inspiration to many and I hope your long road ahead gets much, much easier. Because of your blog I decided to start working on my own. If, God forbid, anything happens to my husband on his deployment I'll have a way to look back at the days and recount the memories we made and shared together. I hope your blog does that for you. You and your family are heroes, just like your husband was, is, and forever will be.

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  50. I feel like I probably sound like a broken record by now but you are such an extraordinarily strong woman Rachel. You inspire me and I know I look up to alongside so many others. Constantly praying for you and thinking about you. You really are incredible.

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  51. Congratulations on going back to school.

    Girl if I could I'd take you out for coffee this very instant and let you vent. I can't even imagine what you're going through.

    Someday though... hopefully, he'll welcome you home instead.

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