Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Things Often Left Unsaid

It's that time of year.  The time where I need to take some time to recognize the most important person to ever come into my life.  Two years ago, I lost my fiance, Will, in a skiing accident.  I don't talk about him a lot but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss him. I always hesitate to post about him - it's so unbelievably private and hard to share - but here goes.  

Tomorrow (Jan 22) is the actual date that he died but today is almost just as hard.  It's the last totally normal day that we had - filled with hair cuts, trips to the Post Office for wedding stamps, homemade dinner, and a bad made-for-tv movie.  Today is the day that I really miss him - tomorrow is a day I remember to be totally filled with chaos and shock.  Nothing about this week is easy - I don't think that it ever will be.  But I stay busy and smile and go about my regular life - all the things that he would want me to do.  Even when I'm older and hopefully have a family of my own - he will never cease to be a crucial part of my life and his death was one of the defining moments that made me who I am now.    

Will was my other half. He was that person who made my life complete and the last two years have been harder that I ever like to admit.  It's hard to explain, but you move forward knowing that someone can't come back - but yet you are still holding out hope that it could somehow happen.  

I remember him every single day and I know that I will for the rest of my life.  I'm a different person now than I was when I was with Will - neither is better, neither is worse - I'm just different.  It's impossible to go thru something like that and not come out differently. 

In November, Will was honored by the military by having a room at the European Command Center in Stuttgart, Germany dedicated to him.  During Will's time in Germany - he helped design and implement a communications suite.  It was a huge project and one that he was incredibly proud to be a part of.  I remember him talking about it almost daily during our long-distance phone calls and chat sessions.  He worked his tail off on that room and the military honored him by naming it after him.  

Will would be incredibly humbled and honored to have his name on a room that he worked so hard for.  It sounds so silly.  After all - it's just a room right?  No.  It's not just a room.  One of Will's best friends (who happens to be married to one of my best friends and is the reason that Will and I were together in the first place) sent me an email explaining to me just how big of a deal this is (and I hope he doesn't kill me for including it here): 
There are currently 10 Combatant Commands.  Each with a 4 Star General or Admiral in charge.  These commanders along with the service chiefs (top ranking officer of each service) run the DOD.  It doesn't get any higher than a Combatant Command unless you are at the Pentagon.   Will having a bronze plaque, dedication and room named after him is monumental.  To put things in perspective: I have served in the Navy for 18 years and have never known anyone to receive this honor and I have been fortunate to serve with a lot of great Americans that people refer to as Heroes.  There have been roughly 6,500 Service members who have lost their lives serving their country in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  I would guess less than a 100 have a bronze plaque with a room named after them.  Even less at a Combatant Command.  Think about this, 50 years from now meetings will be held in the William J. Barnette room.
I've always been proud of Will.  Ever since I met him over six years ago.  Everything he's done has made me proud to call him my boyfriend, my ex-boyfriend, my boyfriend, my ex-boyfriend (and so on and so forth for a solid two and a half years), and finally, my fiance.  We were together for just over four years at the time of his accident and no matter how mad at him I was - I was always proud of his dedication to his service to this country.  Because of this, we did most of our relationship apart - deployments, being stationed abroad - we did it all.  But because he loved this country so much and was so proud to be part of the military - I was proud of him.  And it was okay to be apart, because he was making a difference. 

I have never been more proud of him than I am now.  He has been gone for two years - but the things that people still say about him are incredible. He is making a difference, even in his passing - this room will be a crucial role in the military operations at that base from here forward and Will was an integral part in that.  
Will was the best person that I have ever known.  I remember telling someone that I knew I wanted to be with him because he made me want to be a better person. I feel that way even now - there is hardly anything that I do without thinking of him first.  I have lived my life since his death thinking about what would make him proud. He was one of the good ones - kind, compassionate, loving, smart, loyal, funny - everything that you want in a husband and a friend.  If anyone has ever deserved their name to be molded in bronze and installed on a wall at a DoD building - it's Will.


  1. That is so awesome, you should be proud, what an honor. I'm sure he would be proud of how you've been so strong moving on without him here, as hard as it is. Big hugs from NY.