You know, I had planned on writing something else entirely and yet I couldn’t. I just couldn’t bring myself to discuss anything else other than yesterday’s events and the chaos swirling inside my totally in need of a new hair cut head right now.
Yesterday was more than a surprise for millions of people. With the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and then Michael Jackson, watching it unfold in real time online with many of you, it was surreal. Even after I’d left the computer. Eaten dinner. Watered plants. Done the laundry. I came back, the news popped up again, and it came flooding back into reality for me. Two of my childhood icons were dead.
As if the news needed to get worse, it did. Amidst tears and anguish spread about the internet (along with some ugly thoughts from some who felt mourning for these two people was fruitless), among my military sisters and brothers on Twitter came word we lost a brother overseas, too.
…SGT. Joshua Soto…
…survived by a wife and child…
…third tour in Iraq…
My heart flipped up and out of my chest, flopped onto the counter, angry and raw, barely containing the sadness and shock coursing through it. It almost became too much to bear.
Farrah, Michael and Joshua were parents. I feel so deeply for their children, families and loved ones they’ve left behind. I fear death only because I fear leaving my babies and my husband, and very much vice versa – the idea of something happening to any of them scares me to absolute pieces. They are my lifeline, my soul, and I simply cannot imagine life without them. I can’t even breathe entertaining the thought.
And Joshua, to leave his family not once, not twice, but THREE times to serve his country. Dammit, why him?
In my attempts to process any of this, even the smallest of things seemed so monumental. I mean, think about it, will you? Michael woke up yesterday morning and breathed in as he always did. He ate breakfast probably like he does everyday. Met with the same smiles from his kids, looked out at the same sunshine he saw the day before. Whether there were or there weren’t any indications of his impending heart attack, it really makes me remember, you really never know.
Joshua had been to Iraq twice before. He was probably well-versed in performing his job. He set out on a mission without knowing it would be his last, assuming it would be like any other he’d ever been on. And it wasn’t.
This is a military spouse’s worst fear imaginable. I feel so deep in the depths of my core for his widow and child. The tears shed and anguish bled don’t end or help them in any way.
These thoughts followed me around like a shadow. It darked my thoughts as I fetched a sippy cup, or turned a corner picking up a wayward toy. What if that was the last time that particular event ever happened? How does anyone really know if it is or it isn’t?
My scare a month ago woke me up even then that, despite how healthy I try to be, that it is beyond my control. I couldn’t control what was happening, and when my time comes, I won’t be able to control it then, either. What’s going to happen is going to happen. And I will never know when that will be.
For today (and hopefully always), put your judgements aside of these people, the war, any indiscriminations they may have had in the past. Just feel the weight of your body hitting the ground, heel-to-toe. Feel each and every breath you inhale into your functioning lungs, expel that air, open your eyes to the beauty all around you. Paint it into your mind permanently, the images of your children running towards you for a hug. It could be your last hug. How will you know?
Hold them tighter, squeeze their baby bodies and drink in the scent of their hair. Step outside into the sun today to feel it blanket you like a hug. Play an extra game with the kids. Linger a little longer over dinner. Hold your embrace with your spouse an extra second. You won’t get it back, and you won’t ever know it’s your last until it’s too late.
You know, Ryan O’Neil wanted to marry Farrah before she died, and unfortunately, he’ll never get the chance to say those vows, despite their plan. Don’t waste these moments you are being given. Don’t put anything off. Ever.
BE AWARE. BE ALIVE.
Now is the only now you will ever have, and you don’t know how long it’ll be there for. Hold onto it – don’t let it go.
Pardon me while I go busy myself with never letting that face go.
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