Monday, October 29, 2012

Harassing Hurricane Sandy Surgery

I was given an opportunity to write about my experience and have it published in a magazine. (I'll give more details at a later time) I was told to write about my experiences as a Marine wife and my emotions about Garrett's injury and I never realized just how hard it is to write about yourself. Garrett is such a huge part of who I am it's hard to separate his experience and his emotions from my own. It was truly a dream come true though and I'm praying that some day it may open some doors for me. I always dreamed about some day becoming a journalist, so maybe this experience will take me somewhere.

Writing it brought up some pretty rough memories for me though. One particular memory that I will never be able to get of my mind is the way Garrett looked the first time I saw him after his injury. He was still surrounded by the crew that brought him in on the medevac from Germany and it seemed like there were 20 different people working on every inch of him. He was grey. So grey. His skin, his eyes, his lips. He had no color. I didn't have the strength to say anything to him so I just touched his shoulder and he grabbed my hand. It wasn't even 5 seconds later I was pushed out of the room so they could stabilize him and whatever else they needed to do. Just another memory that haunts me...

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I've been trying to write this blog for what seems like hours. I've hit somewhat of a writers block and what is weighing heaviest on my mind is too close to my heart to share with a world full of critics. So I'll just keep it to myself and over think and over analyze every small detail.

When I started this blog I challenged myself to open up and be honest, and if I had been honest with myself I would have realized how much of a challenge that would be for me. In my quest to be transparent, I've learned something key about who I am, about what makes me, me. 

So here it is... 

I find it terrifying for people to see my imperfections. 

I don't think I need to be perfect, because God knows I'm not, but I don't want people to see that I don't have it all together. Life threw me and Garrett a huge, fast curve ball, a ball that at times I have no idea what to do with. I'm happy, I'm sad, I'm mad, I'm confused, I laugh, I cry, and I hide it from everyone. 

So bare with me as I learn more about myself and become a better "blogger." Writing is always something I've been private about so it goes against every grain of who I am to share so much with so many people. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Homesick Ramblings

After a month and a half away from Bethesda, we are finally settling back in to a routine here. 
I know one thing is for sure, I was NOT ready to come back. Between beautiful Hawaii and all the fun we had there, and North Carolina and the much needed family time, it feels awfully lonely here, and I'm awfully homesick. 

So much has happened since my last blog that its hard to know where to start. 

Hawaii was so much fun, and its hard to believe that we may never get to go back. We don't just have friends there, they are our family. Garrett has been with those guys almost everyday for the past three and half years and to think that we may never see some of them again breaks my heart. 

We had some pretty amazing experiences during our time there last month. Since February, Garrett has been saying that it was his goal to be able to see his guys get off the plane, and weather or not that meant he was in his chair or standing up, he was going to be there. Well, I got to watch him accomplish that goal. It was every bit as emotional as I thought it would be. Garrett had an opportunity to participate in a battle streamer rededication ceremony, as well. It was the first time that all three battalions from Third Marine Regiment have all been together in quite some time. The guys of India Company put together a "moto" run in Garrett's honor on one of the last days we were in Hawaii. They ran 46 miles relay style to represent the 46 miles from the position Garrett was in charge of to the spot were he got injured. His lieutenant (Luke Forelle) ran all 46 miles, winning a ton of brownie points in my book. Garrett has always spoke very highly of him, and I can understand why. A picture of the run has actually been spreading like wild fire, and got voted "Corps Top Shot." Here is the link to the picture

We did get a chance to relax in Hawaii...which is exactly what the doctor ordered. We didn't have to be any where at any certain time and we had no one to report to. It was nice to sleep in and just do what we wanted when we felt like it. We haven't had any time or opportunity to do that in the four years we have been together, so we soaked it up and enjoyed every minute. 
Last week, I finally got an answer to something I have been praying for since the moment I feel in love with my husband. While we were home we got a chance to go through some of the mail that different people have been sending in since February. One of the pieces of mail had a pamphlet in it from a man who had been injured in Vietnam. He told his story about growing up rebelling against God, tragically loosing his legs to a landmine, and finding his way back to God. Well to make a long story short, Garrett has dedicated his life to God and he got baptized last Saturday. My heart is overwhelmed with joy. I have said from the beginning that I could feel God's plan in this disaster somewhere, and I can't wait to see what kinds of things He is going to do in my husbands life.  

The blogging will pick up now that we are back from vacation. I've challenged myself to at least write one a week, even if I don't post them. I feel some sort of peace just by posting my pointless ramblings. I've got too much to say, too many emotions, too many dreams, and too many nightmares to keep everything to myself any more. 

But for now...I've got nothing else. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012


"Ma'am, are you sitting down, I have some information about your husband I need to tell you?...


...left leg amputation above the knee...

...right leg amputation below the knee..." 

Amputation! I'll never forget the phone call that made that word apart of my everyday vocabulary. It's bounced around my head and jumbled every thought since then. It sneaks up and knocks the wind out of me when I'm least expecting it. 

I don't know the healthy, or the right, or even the wrong way to process what's happened to Garrett. My way has been simple...I haven't. I've been numb. I've been going through the motions: being where I need to be, saying what I need to say, and being what everyone needs me to be. Now that our life has slowed down, the numbness is gone, and it took with it all the walls I had built to protect myself.

Garrett stepped on an IED. 
Garrett stepped on a bomb meant to kill him. 
Garrett almost died. 
Garrett lost his legs. 

I don't know how to process any of that. Where do I even start? How does anyone ever process that someone they would die for, almost didn't come home from war? Maybe I never will. 

I wish I could go back to being numb. I wish I could suppress the scream that feels like its building in me, dying to escape every time I open my mouth. I wish I could shove the tears that sneak out of my eyes back down my throat and keep them there. I wish I was as strong as everyone thinks I am. 

One thing I am very capable of processing is how amazing Garrett is. I say it again...I wish everyone could see the leaps of progress he makes on a daily basis. There is at least one person that tells him a day that he is progressing faster than anyone they have ever seen. I know everyone thinks the person they married is more special than anyone else...but in my case he really is more special and amazing than anyone else. ;) He is walking and its only been two and half months since he lost his legs. Two and a half months. He has come back from something that should have killed him, and basically gave it the finger on his way to the top. Take that Taliban. 

We leave for our three week Hawaiian vacation next Wednesday. Garrett's unit is supposed to be home in a few weeks and we are going out to see them land and spend some time with our friends. Seven months ago I started counting down until homecoming. I remember from Garrett's first deployment how exciting and overwhelming and emotional it was to see him step of that plane and into that hanger. Wrapping my arms around him for the first time in seven months is still a memory that gives me butterflies and makes me weak in the knees. This homecoming will be quite different from our first one, but just as emotional. The bond between a Marine and his brothers is something I would never be able to explain or put into words, and to be able to witness him walking up to them on his new legs and welcoming them home is going to be a site I will never forget.

Don't worry, there will be pictures!

**One of the many lessons God is teaching me through this is how to hold my tongue, and keep my temper at bay. People like to stare at things they do not understand. Some people are really good about it and will come up and talk to him or thank him, but some people just keep staring even after we have made eye contact with them. So keep in mind next time you come in contact with someone that has a special feature, they notice the stares and they can ear the whispers. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Positive Zombie Mode

So here it is, the first of many blog entries to come. I plan on being very honest...sharing every raw emotion and every unedited thought. Like it or don't, I don't care because I know it's real.

My reason for starting this was so people could see a little more into this life we are living. It's busy and hectic and sometimes miserable, but at the end of the day we really are just two people in love trying to find our place in the world.

Since this has happened I've had a lot of people tell me how great I'm handling everything, or how strong I'm being. Obviously anyone would love to hear how amazing they are and of course it does my pride/ego some good, but at the end of the day when I think about it, I don't  feel like I'm doing anything special or extraordinary. I'm loving my husband, through good and bad, sickness and health. I'm honoring my vows. I might just be naive in thinking that anyone in my shoes would be doing the same thing, but  I'm not doing anything that on April 25th, 2010 I didn't vow to do. I love my husband, and I'd follow him to the ends of the earth if he asked me to.

Besides, here lately I've had a few days where I just wanted to lay in bed and pout about life; and there isn't anything special or extraordinary about that.

I know on Facebook I've seemed like a mindless, emotionless zombie only seeing the positive side of this tragedy, but believe me, that is not the case. I cry daily, I get mad hourly, and I'm terrified every second of this journey. I'm convinced I've got some crazy post traumatic stress stuff going on just like Garrett. I have flash backs and cold sweats and anxiety attacks just thinking about getting that awful phone call, having to tell his parents, that whole week he was in transit from Afghanistan to the States, seeing him in the hospital for the first time, and watching him scream out in pain knowing there wasn't a damn thing I could do to help him. Those are the moments I'll never forget; they are the memories that haunt me. There are times when I look at whats left of my husbands legs and wonder why the hell this had to happen to such an amazing man, to MY husband, why us? It doesn't make sense and it's not fair.

But life isn't fair, and this is the life we've been given. We are still as happy as we have always been, maybe even happier, and our relationship is stronger than I ever thought.  I might not see it now, or I might never see it, but I know God's plan is here in this madness somewhere. My husband is strong and determined and pretty darn stubborn, and I have no doubt that if anyone can handle this, it's him. And if you don't know him...I feel sorry for you. ;)

While I was writing this, I remembered something funny that I had forgotten. Right after I got "The Call," my first reaction was to pack a bag and get to his parents as fast as I could. After I got myself together as best as possible, I threw what I could in a bag and was out the door in less than 10 minutes. Later that night, I realized all I had packed was a tooth brush and about 8 pairs of socks. I guess I was worried about my feet being cold and having bad breath. Lol