Buzzzzz, buzzzzzz, my phone was vibrating and woke me out of a deep sleep. I didn’t recognize the number so, I ignored it. Buzzzz, buzzzz, it vibrated again so I answered. What I heard next, forever changed my life!!!
I was still shaky with sleep and my voice took a second to actually come out. “Hello” was all I could whisper. “My husband is dead”, was the response on the other end of my hello. There was no more sleepiness left in me. “What? Who is this?” I asked half knowing who it was and hoping to be wrong. ” did you hear me? This is your daughter. My husband passed away!”
The details of that conversation will be seared into my brain forever. My daughter, a newlywed, is now a widow at 26 years old. Her husband, 24 was dead. Her father and I in Miami and she was thousands of miles away in Afghanistan, serving our country with the US Army. Her husband, also a soldier, found dead in their backyard in North Carolina. My mind immediately races with a million thoughts. I was taken back to the past, a place that seemed like yesterday. her as a baby. the image of how I would hold her close and she would snuggle into my neck until she fell asleep. Being able to comfort her was all I wanted to do. I had no answers for her “why’s?” No explanation for the situation. All I knew was, her pain was cutting much deeper than any knife could and it seemed, I could physically feel what she was feeling. It had to be the spiritual connection between a mother and her child.
The Army did a great job of getting her on the first plane out of Afghanistan. However, while she was in the air, we were having church service and letting everyone know we would be gone for as long as Rahjanni needed us.There was absolutely no way that we would not be in North Carolina when she landed. I needed to be with her and she needed us.
The travel time to North Carolina felt so long. Eric and I were unable to get seats together and my emotions were on a roller-coaster. I decided to pay for Internet access in order to stay in contact with Rahjanni. Unfortunately, she got stuck in Germany while we were in flight and the only contact between us was through Facebook. I didn’t need to hear her voice audibly or see her face. I knew her face was covered in tears and her eyes were swollen from crying and lack of sleep. I kept seeing myself holding her close and reassuring her that she would come out of this a much stronger person.
Well, needless to say, it has been 3 months since Chris died. Things didn’t go exactly as I imagined them. Rahjanni, is unbelievably strong. Her faith in The Lord, was her strong tower. She didn’t lose control or sight of reality at any point. Like any woman who lost her husband, she had her moments of sobbing and questioning. However, she always pulled herself together. At times it even left me feeling unneeded. I wanted to be the coddling mother, but that wasn’t what she needed. I wanted to lay in bed with her and hold her close. That wasn’t what she needed. All she needed was our love and to know we were there for her.
She took some time off to grieve. Not as much time as some may have expected, but exactly what she needed. “I need normalcy in my life.” “I want to get back to work.” Is what she told us. There are those that would have taken months, even years of grieving and drowning in sorrow. Not Rahjanni. She made a conscious decision to move on with her life. “Chris, will be the best memory I’ll ever have.” She told me. And what a memory it will be! Not just her memory but our memory. The memories we established while he was alive as well as in his death. The lessons, the love, the laughs and the tears will forever be part of our lives.
Losing someone you love is never easy but, losing someone you love that is young and healthy, is so much harder. The details of his death left everyone with unanswered questions but, even in his death, we all knew that he loved Rahjanni and wanted the very best for her. Knowing that, has helped to comfort me. Rahjanni, will always have the love they shared between them to remember. Even when she falls in love again one day, his memory won’t fade away.
As for me, I can’t change what happen to Chris but I can be more appreciative and thankful for each day I have. I can love harder and give praise to The Lord daily for all my blessings. For everyday that I open my eyes and hear my husband’s and children’s voices, I am grateful. For every breath I take, every sunset I see, every fresh breeze I feel, every good and bad day…..I am grateful!