Memorial Day

Here comes my second Memorial Day with much more meaning than what it used to be. I'm geared up for it because I am proud to honor those who have given their lives for this nation. Last year, I was in Florida celebrating Jonathan's life and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. This year, I will be in Washington, D.C. with fellow Gold Star families and I am very excited about it. Being around other widows and Gold Star family members always helps make me feel so much more normal and less crazy. While we may deal with our grief differently and our stories may be very unique, we are all walking such a similar journey and it is such a comfort to be with those who are walking a path with you. I'm going to the TAPS National Seminar and I am also excited for the breakout sessions that will help me to learn more about grief as well as meet people in a similar situation. I've heard talk that Westboro Baptist Church will be in Arlington and at the annual parade, and it's also on their website, so everyone please pray I don't go to jail (I kid, I kid). But seriously, I hope there will be lots of motorcycles and patriots to drown those crazies out. I just don't understand why they want to inflict more pain. We are all God's children. But enough about them, back to the focus.

This year in New Hampshire, as well, there will be a Memorial Day ceremony honoring Jonathan. It will be at the Sandown, NH Center Cemetery, across from the fire station, starting at 12 noon. If anyone who reads this is remotely close to Sandown and wants to go, that would be awesome. I won't be there because like I said I will be in DC this year, but if someone goes and would tell me how it was that would be so neat. They are sending me video footage as well, but it would be cool to know people are there honoring him!

My goal this Memorial Day weekend is the same as it was last year. That people will stop and take even just one minute to remember the meaning of memorial day. The reason why we have this awesome long weekend to BBQ and hang with family. No, it doesn't just mark the start of summer, it is to pay tribute and thank all of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation we live in. I urge each and every one of you to take a moment and look at your stars and stripes and thank a service member. I also urge you to thank God for the life you have and the freedom you have being an American. Sure, have fun with your family and friends, have a couple drinks - but while you're at it - have a drink or two for those who gave everything in the name of freedom!

And now, to rap up my Memorial Day post, because I failed at doing individual tributes to the 1/6 Marjah Marines like I had originally planned (I still have intentions to do so it's just taking much longer than I anticipated) I would like you to meet all of 1/6 Marjah Marines.

LCpl Zachary Smith, 19 Years old from Hornell, NY. KIA January 24, 2010

Sgt Daniel Angus, 28 years old from Thonotosassa, FL. KIA January 24, 2010

Cpl Jacob Turbett, 21 years old from Canton Township, MI (2nd CEB Attached to 1/6) KIA February 18, 2010

LCpl Kielin Dunn, 19 years old from Chesapeake, VA. KIA February 18, 2010

Cpl Jonathan Porto, 26 years old from St Petersburg, FL. KIA March 14, 2010

Cpt Brandon Barrett, 27 years old from Marion, IN. KIA May 5, 2010

Sgt Joshua Desforges, 23 years old from Ludow, MA. KIA May 12, 2010

Cpl Nicholas Parada-Rodriguez, 29 years old from Stafford, VA. KIA May 16, 2010

LCpl Phillip Clark, 19 years old from Gainesville, FL. KIA May 18, 2010

LCpl Anthony Dilisio, 20 years old from Macomb, MI. KIA May 30, 2010.

*A special thanks to Terri Sachs-Meyers for being so faithful and proud of the 1/6 and the beautiful photo edits*

I wish I had the space to post every hero I have ever met indirectly through their widow. I have met some of the most amazing men without even meeting them. I know they are so proud of their wives and how the gold star families carry themselves. I hope they all know how much their wives have touched me along this journey and I can't wait to meet them all when I get through the pearly gates.

Hello Friends!

I know, I know, I suck at blogging. I feel like every post begins that way lately. I will try to do better, I promise.

I guess the biggest update I have is my recent vacation. The boyfriend and I traveled to New Orleans last weekend, met his mom and her boyfriend. I'd never been to New Orleans and I've gotta say it was awesome and a place I will not soon forget. My mom came down and stayed with the baby girl while we went for the weekend. Let's see if I can recap most of the trip....

The food...
The food was soooo good. We ate at Jacque-Imo's the first night. I had porkchop stuffed with beef and shrimp sausage. It was absolutely delicious. I had some kind of corn on the side along with mashed sweet potatoes. It was definitely some... "excitement" in my mouth. Ha. Zach had fried rabbit, which I tried (always take a no-thank you bite, at least!) And it was actually really yummy, and his mom's bf, Eric, had grouper. Now I don't particularly like fish like that but it was also delicious. We had Escargot and Alligator Cheesecake as appetizers. I wasn't a fan of the cheesecake, flavor was interesting but I just couldn't handle the squishy texture. The escargot was fantastic though, YUM. Not only was the food delightful, the ambiance of the whole restaurant was so cool - definitely an awesome place for our first stop in New Orleans. There was phenomenal artwork everywhere, they used candles of saints to light the tables, and you walked through the kitchen to get to the dining area. I can't sum up in words how awesome this restaurant was!

We called it an early night and headed to the hotel after checking out some sweet old houses through the streets of New Orleans. The architecture and the history there are beautifully haunting. I couldn't stop clicking my camera because everything looked so... old and majestic.

Then we made it to the hotel and I am not even going to go into the hotel - it was gross, worst part of the trip. Let's just say do not stay at the Sun Suites in New Orleans. We made it through one night and early the next morning we checked into the Holiday Inn on West Bank that was neat because it was made like a tower. I think it was a sign because driving over the Mississippi on the bridge I saw that hotel and thought it would be neat to stay there, so it definitely wasn't a trip ruiner!

The next two nights were spent on Bourbon street. At one point I got Zach up on the piano at Howl at the Moon, the dueling piano bar, and they sang happy birthday to him. It was hilarious. We watched his mom's bf sing with his band RockBox at Fat Cats. They were SO good, and we had such a blast. We drank some neat Nawlin's concoctions like the Hand Grenade and the Hurricane, and Cherry Bombs that were actually Cherries soaked in Everclear (WOAH) and explored the street.

On Saturday night we took a ghost, voodoo, and vampire tour. It ended up being more of historical tour but I didn't mind it because it was really interesting, and seemed a lot more legit. I learned a lot and I'm really into history so I loved it. We also saw people saying the rapture was coming that night... apparently they didn't make it either (HA). I had a blast taking photos of the neat buildings in the french quarter and trying to capture orbs and ghosties.

On Sunday we were going to go check out the graveyards and some stuff we missed but Zach thought we were leaving a lot later than we actually were. Oops! We had to rush to the airport but we got to pass the graveyards on the way and they are really neat (definitely something I'm going to take more time with my next trip down). We almost missed our flight but finally got it all straightened out and after 2 layovers (yuck) ended up back home.... without our luggage (Zach warned me before the trip that he was really bad luck to travel with and I'll tell you what - he was not kidding!) Luckily our luggage came the next day so no harm done.

So that was a rap up of my trip. I had such a blast and I recommend everyone go check out New Orleans, I think it's got a little bit for everyone and the history is just extraordinary. I know there are a ton more tours I'm already looking forward to taking my next trip down!

Word Up

Where are my words? I feel like writing, I do I do but it's like I have no words to say right now. Weird. I've been in a funk this week. I hate when the funk hits, when it's like I don't want to do anything. Not even sad funk just the unmotivated funk. The leave me be to sleep all day funk. Of course, that's not an option. I've been a little sick too, I wonder if my immune system is out of wack... probably.

Let's see, what's happened since I was here last? I survived our anniversary yet again. Had some close friends over because there is nothing better in the world than great family and friends, and just chilled. I didn't end up making it to the beach because I was doing a little bit of media stuff that day after school concerning Osama Bin Laden's death and my reaction. I'm bummed about not getting to the beach but it was kind of neat that anyone cared what I had to say and I always love the opportunity to tell people about my husband. I am so proud of our troops, of America and of course, and most importantly to me, of my wonderful husband. I burst with pride whenever I think of him. Whenever I think of being a Marine Wife OR a Marine Widow.
If you cared to see the 2 news pieces I did, you can go here or here and I did a radio talk show here. Of course they are just my opinions and if you differ that's fine, just do so respectfully (if your comment is disrespectful or hurtful it will just be overlooked and discarded, you'll be wasting your time).
So yeah, that was interesting. It was also a realization that I really should activate my plan to get in healthier shape (HA!)

Besides that, not much else has been going on. Just school which I'm struggling to keep up with the hours. It's difficult having mandatory hours to make and the feeling that there is no time to miss. Especially when you get sick, have a kid that gets sick, or have an undying need to travel on random days. At least at a real job you can take vacation time when you need it and you only hurt yourself by not making dollars... sigh. I'm doing my best though, and I know I will graduate I have just got to buckle up and make up some hours. I'm stoked because right now we're learning color. I've learned how to cut and now I'm learning color so I'm feeling more confident by the moment that I'll be able to start doing people's hair soon! We'll be opening up the clinic floor (meaning if you're in the Jacksonville area you should come in and get your hair did!) soon, probably in June, July at the latest, and I am getting so excited about working on real live people. I'm also super excited to learn skin care, I think that's going to interest me more than I originally anticipated.

Oh some other cool news, the magazine I've been writing for, DStripped, has gone print! A few of my articles (including a couple on myself, most recently an article about love after loss) will be in the magazine. I'm really, really excited to be published in print. This is a super big deal for me and fulfilling one of my life-long dreams to be a published writer. If you really love me (or you really love DStripped... or both!) head over to the website and order your copy today (hint hint... haha just kidding).

Well I've got the house to myself tonight, the baby's already in bed so I think it's time I order some movies on demand, make myself a bowl of ice cream, and completely veg out. I'm certain this will help the non-motivation and the waist-line... NOT... oh and hey, looks like I found some words ;)

Just Because

Just because I've been happier these days, doesn't mean I'm not sad anymore. I miss him so much, so very very much. There are still moments that I don't think I can do it a second longer. I still have the times where I think I can not live here without him and I wonder how I keep drawing breath. I fight through those moments. I don't imagine they will ever go away. I don't think I really want them to. I don't want to hurt, but when I have those moments I also remember how much I love him. How deep our love was. And how ever lasting our love is and always will be. No matter what. Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary. It would have been 2 years this year. Two years since I said I Do to the love of my life. Until death do us part. I still think back on how we never thought that parting could be so soon. I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow. Most likely, I will go to the beach. That seems to be the standard when I need my Jonny time. There are times when I'm at the beach that I can feel him so close that I can close my eyes and reach out and touch him, right next to me. We didn't even get to celebrate one year together, and now I celebrate these anniversaries alone. But celebrate I will. Because I will love that man with every inch of my being until I die, no matter what.

I love you Jonny Porto, my love, my Stinky. I miss you more than I can put in to words. Thank you for choosing me to be your wife. Happy anniversary, almost, my angel.

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