What it means to lose a Marine
My husband died 10 weeks ago suddenly from a heart attack. He was breathing and then he was not. The ER doctor told me he?d been beyond saving before I could start CPR. I am bereft and the quick notice I sent Sgt. Grit in no way conveyed what he was, had sacrificed, or what he meant to me. He had asked me that, if he died first, just “post a little notice in Sgt. Grit; nothing big, just so someone out there who remembers my name will know I’ve gone ahead.”
Saying he was (is) a Marine Force Recon should be enough to speak to the man he was. But there is so much more behind those words, as every Marine knows, and as all their wives and families know. There are dates on the calendar that are harder to get through. There are nights when it all comes back. Three tours in Vietnam to start and then so much more to relive when the ?door to the closet where I keep it all fell open last night. Sorry, babe.? It was a night I was always willing to lose for him, sitting up with him, or for him so he could get back to sleep. He gave up so much of himself and I love him so that keeping watch over him was a privilege. I would give almost anything to be have him beside me to keep vigil over any restless sleep he might have.
The effect of the scars on his body and the ones on his soul cannot be understood to those who are not Marines or related to them. He earned them honorably, sacrificing willingly for his country and his brothers. To lose him to death now that he was all mine seems wrong but the doctors at the VA said his body was far older than his years. He?d been shot out of the sky, blown up, shot, stabbed, you name it, my Marine had the injury but he always got himself home. And it was at home where he died, in my arms, at the age of 56. I am lucky that he was with me and that the last thing he heard was ?I love you.? My daughter said his death had to be a covert op because he would have fought illness every step of the way. He?s probably arguing with God right now over this latest deployment.
His death has left me lonely for his smile, his laugh, and his love. It has left me to face Memorial Day, Veteran?s Day, the birthday of the Marine Corps, and all our important dates alone. There are no more nightmares for him though and his body doesn?t hurt anymore. But mine does. I have his medals, his Alice pack, his ashes, and his flag. I?ve lost his stories ? there are so many. His memories ? I loved being able to help him through the tough ones. His nightmares ? feeling him reach for my hand has no comparison. His strength ? he was mine. And his ?good to go? attitude – he taught me courage. I have my memories of a life spent with a man who was a force of nature. He didn?t die in combat but he died a Marine, and that?s more than a lot of people can say. I am proud of him. I love him. There will be no other. Semper Fi means just that to me. There will be no other.