Not the first, not the last. I feel like poop. I am so incredibly sad today. I think back over my blog posts. I've had shocked, I've had angry, I've had decent... here's the sad. What's a widow without some sadness, right folks? Joking aside, I am in a gloomy, poopy place tonight. Let's see how many times I can say poop in one post (still think my writing's good? haha). And still, I joke...
Back to the point at hand... 2nd MEB had a memorial today. It honored the guys fallen from May 2009 to April 2010. It was awful. Ok, that's not fair. It was beautifully done. The speakers had great things to say, the turnout was amazing, and our guys were beautifully and dignifiably (is that a word?) honored. But it was hard. And it sucked. And it made reality hit... again... hard. I'm sad. I'm angry and I'm sad and I want my life back. I want my Stink back. I want to be preparing for homecoming with my friends, excited that this stupid deployment is almost over, instead of going to yet another memorial. And of course this isn't the last, there's going to be another after they get back as well. I'm not complaining, I think he should be honored and remembered, but they're so hard. We were going to do one in Maryland but I don't think I need that. These are enough.
Yet another 21 gun salute, yet another playing of Taps. Seeing the field crosses, hearing the last roll call. Hearing his name called as one of the fallen, one who won't be returning home. I'll remember that call... "Cpl Jonathan D Porto 14 March 2010" Ring of the bell. Hang the tags on the rifle. Please take it back. Don't call his name. That's not his name. He changed his name, he's somewhere else.
He is somewhere else... gone from this earth. And still people say he's here, but where is he now? When I'm slipping into sorrow, where is he? Where is the comfort and peace I felt that one night in the kitchen? Where is the whisper "Everything will be ok"? Maybe he's left... again... for good. I pray that's not the truth. I pray he's still lingering I'm just too... clouded to feel him. I pray... I pray... I prayed. I prayed for safety, I prayed for his return, I prayed that it wouldn't be him. Please don't let it be Jonny. My doorbell rang less than 5 hours later.
I yelled at my mom tonight. I don't yell at my mom. Ok, I have yelled at my mom, but it's not something I typically do. We're so close and she only wants to take my pain away. And maybe it wasn't yelling more like snapping but I feel poopy (4? 5?) because of it. I shouldn't take out how upset I am inside out on others that only want the best for me and only wish they could fix it. And I know she understands and I know she didn't take it (too) personally, but I still don't feel nice for doing it. I shouldn't be angry when I hear people talking about being excited for their husband's homecomings or promotions or anything military related. But I am. I'm angry and I'm sad. These were all things we were excited about and we've been stripped. Instead of preparing for homecoming I'm going to memorials. Instead of making welcome home signs I'm reading condolence cards. It's not fair. It's not fair to me, it's not fair to the hundreds, thousands, however many, women (and men and families) who have to do this. I just want my life back. I am sad and I am missing my Stinky Man.

At A Loss

I've been at a loss for words. This is especially not good because I have been invited to write a post for the Washington Post, but I just don't know what to say. Things have been ok. Sometimes I feel awful saying/thinking that and other times I feel good. I can't be sad all the time, even though I feel like I should, I know he wouldn't want it, but not feeling sad then leads me to feeling guilty. Ooooh the emotional roller coaster of a gold star wife.

Last week I engaged in a little Retail Therapy. I bought myself an iphone. I'd wanted one for sometime, Jonny too, but we never wanted to make the switch from Verizon to AT&T and weren't sure if we'd be able to text on the keyboard and yadda yadda yadda. But well, I really wanted one, my phone was acting like a total poop, and I justified it with the fact that Jonny wanted one so it was for him (in essence) and the fact is... I love it. Obviously the purchase of a new phone doesn't take away the pain or make me feel better or anything, but it is a nice little gadget and a welcome distraction. My mom and bestie Justin also visited this weekend and we had a very enjoyable weekend. Lots of good stories, good friends, good foods, and just hanging out. It was nice. I am heading back up home in early May, I'm oddly nervous about leaving NC. I haven't been to MD since before the accident and it wasn't where he was from or where we lived but for some reason thinking about leaving here just leaves me with a very uneasy feeling.

That's all I've really got, but I wanted to give ya'll something because I think a few of you were getting a little worried. Also, a note to those of you adding me on facebook, please include a message of how you know me (even if it's just from here) as I'm not too keen on adding people I don't have some sort of connection to, if you've already added me and I denied it that's why, not to be rude I just didn't realize I knew you!

Semper FI,

Hello, I'm in Delaware

One month. I've officially been a widow (still hate that word) for one month. This week has been rough. The day before yesterday, some more of his stuff came home. The stuff that was on him when the accident happened (the only stuff I'd gotten before was "sentimental" stuff - tags/jewelry - but everything at this point is sentimental). The items included his cards (humvee license, coach's certificate, etc), money he had on him, little red light I bought for him before he left - literally a few hours before he left, some papers he had (one being a note I'd written him before he left, he had been carrying it with him, I didn't know that...), and... the memory card from the camera. I couldn't get the camera itself back because it'd been broken too badly to be scanned by the people who go through his stuff before I get it - JPED - but the card was in working condition and so I got it. Of course, I went through it. There were lots of pictures and it was nice seeing him as he was over there. It'd been so long since I'd seen him. We had webcammed a couple times before he got into the nitty-gritty of Afghanistan but it had been months since I'd seen him, so it was both good and heart breaking to look at these photos. It was good to see his face, to see he was still smiling over there, but heartbreaking for obvious reasons... and to know he will never be able to explain some of the photos to me. Like why there were tons of pictures of mud... Really Jonny, was the mud that astounding that you had to take 5 pictures of it?? Ha. Then, we got to the day... 14 March 2010. There were pictures from that day. My chest tightened as I looked through them but I forced myself to finish. Then the last picture. The last picture my babe has ever, will ever, take. Quite possibly the last thing he saw. A slight nervous breakdown occurred after and I decided I just don't want to do this anymore. I don't want to be a widow, I don't want to be receiving his stuff without him, I don't want to be sad, I don't want to. But, the fact of the matter is I don't have a choice. I have to. And I have to remember, I'm not doing it without him. He's right here with me every step of the way. Even when it doesn't feel like it, I don't doubt that he's somewhere close at hand, he can feel when I need him, and he's there. I have to say I have amazing friends (once again) who held me through this, who made me look up, made me look at my little girl and assured me that I can and that I am going to do this. It will never go away, it's not a matter of "getting through" it's a matter of surviving. Each day, every day. I can, and I am.

Earlier that day I received a text message from my mom that simply said "You got a package from Jonny today." Had I gotten that message a month ago, I would have been so excited, said FINALLY, and told her to send it. There would not have been any other feeling beside excitement. This time, though, my heart sunk. I'm still excited and happy to have it, but reading those words, knowing that it's not something he just sent, was hard. It's like my heart had a small leap at first... from Jonny? And then was like... Oh yeah... mail takes a while, from Jonny... before... I am still excited to get it here, but it's a different kind of excitement. I'm not sure if there's anything else in it, but I know the one thing in there is a cassette tape, we'd been sending each other tapes, he took his time filling one up and had told me a couple weeks before the accident that he had finally filled it up and would be putting it in the mail. This excitement is more a thirst to hear his voice than general excitement. And I'm scared. Not of the content, just of how my heart will be taking it. How am I going to hear, in his voice, promises of coming home? How am I going to listen to him so hopeful and healthy and alive without losing it? The one thing I've learned though, is that sometimes, it's ok to lose it. I don't have to be Mrs. Strength 100% of the time. It's ok if I am sad or angry or just having a day. Like today, just having a day.

If you are wondering, I am not in Delaware. The title actually refers to a song a friend from high school introduced me to. I'm going to take a moment now to post a few songs I've been listening to today. Whether they've helped or made me sadder, I'm not sure. What I do know is that some of them can say what I feel without me having to say it.

Dallas Green, Hello I'm in Delaware (this one hit close to home not only because of the lyrics but the title - Jonny flew in to Dover AFB in Delaware, so it was pretty profound to me)

Lady Antebellum, Never Alone (I can only imagine him saying many of these things to me)

Death Cab for Cutie, I Will Follow You Into The Dark (Heaven will be holding his hand once again)

Shelly Fabares, Jonny Angel (I've always been into Oldies, and after the funeral I had this stuck in my head. I know the song has nothing to do with funerals or Angels or anything like that, but it was stuck in my head. It came on 50s on 5 the other day when my friend and I were cleaning and she kinda froze and looked at me - she'd never heard it - and I was like ...Yup.)

Lady Gaga, Bad Romance (The last song we listened to on the way to deployment, broke up the sadness of what we were about to do, still breaks up the sadness for me)

Of course there are more songs that remind me of him, that I use to deal with things... etc. But these are just the songs for today. Also, I want to apologize for being crappy with writing comments, honestly I'm not reading much these days, it's hard for me, and as amazing as you all have been I'm sure you understand but I didn't want you to think I didn't love you all anymore!

Semper Fi,

And the Winner IS!!!!

Ok, I have just sat here and ordered all the comments into one nice, neat (HA) hand-written list. Each comment was numbered and then we (my friend Aura and I) used a random number generator to choose who the lucky winner of this giveaway would be. The number was (drum roll please) 25 and that just so happened to be Angel Tinnel.

Congratulations Angel!

I was very excited when I saw who belonged to the number 25, as Angel is a fellow Marine Corps widow, and her story really hit home for me and gave me some insight for some important decisions I am going to need to make in the next few months. Everyone's stories were so great and I enjoyed reading all of them, my heart swelled with pride for our Military over and over again, and to know there are so many proud spouses, friends, family members, and service members willing to share their proudest moments with me and the rest of the interwebs was wonderful. And without further ado, Angel's story:

"The proudest military moment I can remember is when my husband's company
(1/2) came back from their deployment from Iraq in 2007. Even though my husband
would not be getting off of those buses I knew I needed to be there for the
closure. I knew many of the wives and they were all dressed up ready to see
their husbands for the first time in 9 months, and I was standing there,
clutching my husbands dog tags and wedding band, wishing that what had happened
8 weeks previous was some horrible joke and hoping that he would walk up and
grab me too...(my husband was a huge prankster like that)

Well we could
see the boys in formation walking to us and I tried to hold strong, and I did
for what felt like FOREVER, until they were all standing right in front of us,
and I could see all his buddies....and I just broke down, I couldn't hold the
tears in any longer....a few of the boys broke formation and came right to me,
before even seeing their family and friends that were waiting, and they just
held me, tears falling on their cami's from both me and them....I felt so proud
that these boys would come to hug me and tell me stories (one even a pack a of
cigarettes that he owed Jeremy) and such before going to see their own
family.....The Marine Corp is a brotherhood like no other, and I am thankful for
all the big brothers that it has given me...many of those boys check up on
me....and I on them....Semper Fi...

Angel Tinnel
Proud Wife of LCpl
Jeremy Tinnel KIA 01JULY07"

I am going to be periodically posting some more of my favorite stories throughout the blog as there were so many stories that I found that I want to share.

Also, Angel, you are now responsible for sending me a picture of your finished artwork to share with all my fantabulous bloggers.

That's all I have for now, there will be a more substantial post in the very near future but I just HAD to get this out there!

Semper Fi,

Hurry Up!

Don't miss out on the Giveaway! It ends tonight at 11:59 EST. I know there are a lot of procrastinators out there (me being one of them, I am SO kicking myself for missing the milblogging conference GRR), so don't miss out and go enter (take time during commercials during Army Wives which premiers TONIGHT if you must), it's a great giveaway, it's going to be a beautiful prize and I will be picking the winner tonight or tomorrow, so all you who did enter start brainstorming what you would choose for your print (No, I still haven't picked... decisions, decisions!) Also, for something light and wonderful, here is a picture of my gorgeous baby girl at her first Easter egg hunt (or Easter egg stare-down, more like it), and I'm there too, always a plus.

Once again a big thanks for all the supportive comments, you guys are the best!

Semper Fi,


The best (if there were a "best") and ugliest part of going through a tragedy is that you really see people's true colors. Some people can simply amaze you (like all of you bloggy friends and your amazing support, not to mention the majority of my Marine wives and sorority sisters and other friends, I can't believe how wonderful so many people have been to us through this) while others can shock you in not-so-happy ways. Some friends get really distant, some choose to let loose lips fly, and others are just not so nice in other ways. I think most of the negative comes out when people really don't know what to say (who does?), feel pressured to do something (you really don't have to, if you want to, I love it; but if you simply can't, I understand), or are simply grieving in their own ways as well. No matter the reasoning though, friends who don't stay faithful and supportive make the grieving process that much harder. Worrying about what other people are thinking or saying, trying to mend other people's pain, and fix broken friendships, added to being angry/sad/guilty/upset over the loss of my husband is too much at once. So, it's not taking priority anymore. I have spent the last couple days worrying about certain friends, but it's time to say enough is enough. I need to focus on me and my daughter and that's it (hell, I still haven't even cleaned my "tornado house" because I only have so much motivation a day). The mentality now to friends who are less than supportive, can't handle it, or just want to make my life harder is... "They'll come around. And if not, screw 'em." One thing that helped me reach this point, and stop stressing about girl-drama as much, was an article posted on the American Widow Project website, under the "First Year" category, entitled "Things You Should Know... to Survive." I am going to copy and paste it here, mainly for myself, since I have to scour the website every time I want to read it (several times a week) and now I'll know exactly where to go, but also if there's anyone out there coming across this blog in a similar situation and hasn't been to the American Widow Project, it may be of some use to them as well. So heeeere it is (and remember, I didn't write this).

Things You Should Know... to Survive
by American Widow Project
November 20, 2009

Learning to expect the unexpected will help you get through this most painful time in your life. Here are 10 things you need to know if you are to survive.

1. Expect people to say stupid things. “Don’t worry, you’re young, you’ll meet someone new.” No matter your age, this will sting like a hot iron on raw flesh. Your mind is on your husband and preserving His memory. The thought of another man in your life too soon after His death may cause you additional pain.

“I’m sorry for your loss.” If there is a “loss”? This makes you wonder where is found? For the new widow, there is no found.

“He would want you to find a new man.” Hmmm… On this one, this writer takes umbrage. Nobody can tell you what He wanted, except you, nor, should they.

“I understand. I’m divorced.” Not. Divorce is different than death. Though a divorced individual may wish her ex to not be here, it just isn’t the same thing. While divorce can be painful, and having experienced one personally, the death of a soul mate is different, as this writer will attest, there is no connection.

2. Expect to be asked out—by your husband’s best friend.

3. Expect to be asked, “Do you masturbate?” by your best friend.

4. Expect to break down in tears when you least expect it—at the sound of the doorbell, at the sound of the telephone, at the sight of a couple walking hand in hand. All too soon the reality of being without Him sets in and it will take time for you to let go of your past. But you will.

5. Expect to begin each day wondering how you made it though the day before. And end it thinking you just can’t do it any more.

6. Expect to feel weak, strong, suicidal, angry, happy, euphoric, glad, sad, guilty, alone, lonely, trapped, free, tired, bored, overworked, overwhelmed, silly, puzzled, like you don’t belong.

Why not? You have just experienced life at its worst. I’m here to tell you, everything will be okay. Think baby steps. Think, I can and think, I will.

7. Expect all your friends to run away. They’re frightened, too. And they just don’t know how to handle your grief. Seeing you dealing with the death of someone near and dear is just too close for comfort.

8. Expect all your friends to come back. Give them time. The real ones do.

9. Expect to find yourself standing in front of an open refrigerator at 3:00 in the morning studying the expiration date on a bottle of ketchup. Give yourself permission to process your grief any way you need to.

10. Expect to laugh when the dog pees on the living room rug, when the garage door falls off its hinges, when the refrigerator makes a puddle on the kitchen floor, and when the woman next door goes out on a date—with the woman down the street. Your life is forever changed and so is your outlook. In the big picture, these things become miniscule.

11. Expect to wish you were dead.

12. Expect to blame yourself for His death.

13. Expect to ask yourself questions that have no answers. What if? Why me? Why couldn’t I have died first?

14. Expect to make plans to run away.

15. Expect to cancel them, because you realize there is no place to run away to.

16. Expect to kiss a fool.

17. Expect to feel like you cheated. You didn’t.

18. Expect to wish for a giant eraser to erase away all the pain.

19. Expect the pain to never end. It won’t. But in time you will learn how to manage it. I promise.

20. Expect to smile when you feel like crying.

21. Expect to not sleep.

22. Expect to not focus.

23. Expect to not eat. In the beginning you won’t be able to enjoy food. But it is important to drink plenty of fluids. If nothing else, drink water to keep your kidneys flush.

24. Expect to eat too much.

25. Expect to not be in the mood for all the things you once were in the mood for. Imagine. This writer didn’t want to eat chocolate!

26. Expect the sun to come out tomorrow, the daffodils to sprout in spring, every bird on the planet to sing, every oak, elm, and cottonwood to shed its leaves in autumn, the moon to glow, the stars to twinkle, the earth to spin on its axis, and then to wonder why.

27. Expect no one to understand. Though they say, “I understand.” They can’t. They don’t. They never will. Not even another widow. Grief is personal. It’s just like a thumb print, no two alike. Expect to make mistakes.

28. Expect to forgive yourself.

Okay. That’s it. And now I know what you’re thinking – She’s listed more than ten things.

But to make it through your grief, it’s important to realize you are not alone. What you are feeling is normal. Being informed is being prepared. It will help you survive.

Expect the unexpected.

And, like the mighty oak caught in a fierce storm bending in the wind to keep from being uprooted, you will learn to accept your plight. You will learn to remain grounded, and eventually you will be able to turn your upside down world right side up again.
~Linda Della Donna @

Semper Fi,

Canvas Art: A Giveaway

Hello all, I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. Ours was ok, of course missed the Mr. intensely today, as not only was it a holiday but also the 3 week marker. We did carry on though, of course, and enjoyed the day as much as possible. Today, though, my dear blog friends. I'd like to first offer an exceptionally huge THANK YOU. Thank you all for your caring words, your thoughts, and your prayers. Thank you to every one who has taken the time to stop by and let me know you're thinking of us and for those who have blogged about us on your own pages. Thank you so very much for this incredible amount of support. I am so blown away by how much support we have gotten from all over the country. That being said, I'd like to take a moment to offer something back to you.

Stephanie from Geezees Canvas Art has come to me with a wonderful opportunity for my readers. She would like to sponsor a giveaway for all you amazing bloggers who have been taking the time to send me notes of love, encouragement, and prayer.
Her art is incredibly beautiful. She is also offering one to me, which means I'm going to have to make more decisions and pick what I want on my canvas (yikes!). The winner will receive one 10x10 piece of canvas art which can feature words, photos, or both, an $89 value. Take a minute to go to her website and get some ideas for what you would want on your art if you were to win.

To enter the giveaway, all you must simply do is leave a comment telling me of a time when you were particularly proud of our military or a time in your life when the military positively effected you. This giveaway is open to all readers, not just milbloggers, but of course it's going to have some sort of military theme ;-) Make sure you leave an email address so I can reach you if you win, no email address will void your entry.

Also, for those of you who really want to win this, an extra 3 entries will be given to anyone who donates to the Run for Warriors event I am participating in (even a dollar donation, every dollar counts!). This applies for those of you who have already donated, you don't have to leave another donation. Obviously, this is not necessary to participate in the giveaway, just for extra entries. If you choose to do this, make sure you leave a seperate comment for each entry and include your name so I who you are on the donation page (it sends me an email of each person who donated, I know who you are!! haha).

Feel free to share about this giveaway on your pages and include all your friends
This giveaway will be closed on Sunday 11 April 2010 at 11:59pm EST, that gives you one whole week to think of your story! I am excited to hear all these stories, good luck to all who enter!

Semper Fi,

What To Say

Sometimes, I blog in my head. Seriously... the way my mind works, a lot of the time I'm thinking the way I'd write it out. I've been head-blogging an update for the past few days. That I've been doing alright. I've been carrying on. It isn't easy, not in the slightest, but I do the only thing I can do and I carry on. I've got lows. I've got some very low lows. But I've been lucky enough to have some... decents too. I call them decents because they aren't really highs but I can find time to laugh and be semi-normal.
Sometimes when this happens I feel awful. How can I be normal when I'm mourning? How can I laugh when laughter will never escape those lips I loved so much again? I am told this is all part of grief, that I shouldn't feel guilty, that I need to carry on with my life, and that it is what Jonny would want. That last part, I know is true. He made me promise before deployment "No Moping!" and I am trying so very, very hard to keep my promise. It ain't easy, but dammit, Jonny Porto, I'm trying.
Tonight, however, I'm just pissed. Anger is an emotion that is always at the back of mind. Angry at the situation, at the choices made... it's expected, it's also part of grief, apparently. But tonight my anger is geared a little different than it is normally. I am angry that this continues to happen to other families. I am angry that I keep learning of another husband, daddy, brother, son, or even wife, mommy, sister... has fallen.
I am not here to make a political standpoint. I consider myself a fairly-well-educated woman, however I do not know enough about politics to speak on it, and I feel if you aren't well educated in a certain area you should not try to debate that subject. That being said, please don't flood me with comments about why we need to be there when I say I want our boys (and girls) OUT of there! I do not want to read about another person, young or old, giving their life in this war. I do not want to hear about more families being torn apart. I do not want any more new widows joining this family that none us of choose to be a part of. I do not want to continue to worry about my friend's husbands, my husband's brothers, my own friends who remain in country. I am just so full of anger toward this whole war. And then, I am back to my everyday anger, I am angry that he is not here any more to tell me it'll be ok. The one person who made things right... gone. Why do there have to keep being more? When is enough, enough?

That being said, it's 0239 and I should be in bed. I'm having trouble sleeping after learning of more fallen Marines, so I'm blogging. I'm supposed to be sleeping because I am going to go running in the morning (yeah, not something I typically do). I am running, though, to honor my husband. To honor all Marines who have given their lives or parts of their lives. I am running a 5k (gasp) for Hope for the Warriors. Since I don't know when I'll be blogging next, I'll take this opportunity to post as well about the Run for the Warriors 5K that my friends and I are taking part in on 15 May 2010. Please take a moment to check out my Hope for the Warriors page and if you are feeling generous, add a donation. I figure if all the people who now follow this blog, plus the people who don't follow and just stop by, donate just ONE DOLLAR, I'd have collected quite a chunk of change to contribute to Hope for the Warriors. Take a second to thank a Warrior who has given his or her life, limb, or general well-being for your freedom.

Semper Fi,

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