We would be getting back from our honeymoon tomorrow. Why didn't we take it right after we got married? Well, for a few reasons.
I had to save my PTO for his R&R, when he would be coming home to get some MUCH needed rest from being in the sandbox for 8 months prior. I had to save it so that we could spend the entire time together, with no distractions.
We were also waiting, in case there was the slightest chance he would get the IP school he was promised before he went to Afghanistan. We were trying to keep his schedule as open as possible. This is also why we chose our wedding date of January 2, an incredibly inconvenient time for everyone. We knew that if he got the course, he would, no matter what, be able to be home then, or over Christmas. New Years was the lesser of two evils, and the one that would work the most with people's schedules.
We had so much to do before he left for deployment. Matt wanted the house together, so that nothing would happen to it while he was gone. So that I wouldn't have any worries while he was away for "a few months". We hung shelves, he built a walk-in closet system, he put more shelving in the laundry area so I would have more storage space. We built a bench for our plants. He built a driveway to put the truck in so that it wouldn't be so obvious he was away, and so that April would have a place to park. We were getting ready for him to be "gone" for a few months.
I was SO annoyed that we had so much "to do". All I wanted to do was snuggle with him, spend time with him cuddling, or going to movies or to different places to enjoy our time together. All I wanted to do was that. I did get him away to Gatlinburg for two nights so that we could spend some time together for his birthday. I am so happy for those days. But, all the while, he kept worrying about "finishing" things at home. It was hard to distract him from that. We came home, and again, I was annoyed, but I wasn't going to let him do it by himself. I helped where I could, even if it was holding the level, holding screws. He did show me how to and let me drill big holes in to the wall, which was fun. But, I would have settled for a movie on the couch at that point. I tend to fall asleep when we watch movies together. In fact, I even started making him pick out movies he wanted, because I would fall asleep, and he would get stuck watching some movie I picked out that he didn't really like, because he wouldn't move me and wake me up.
Again, I was telling A-Rod about this, and my annoyance about it, and how I was extra annoyed now. He said "Yes, but would you remember that? Would you remember what movie you went to? Would you remember where you ate at, or what you talked about that particular moment?" Gatlinburg was the best thing for that time, and it was best because we got away for a brief moment, but we still came home, and we still put Our Home together. He taught me so much, just in those few weeks. I also learned lots from him over the time we were together, fixing the house so that we could sell it. He taught me patience, confidence, and more than anything, Love.
I take it back. I take back my annoyance with all the "stuff" we had to do. I take back the fact that I just wanted to watch movies and snuggle. We still did plenty of that, don't get me wrong. At the time, though, I just wanted more. I still want more. It never will be enough, but I take back that those wouldn't have been specific memories. I am glad that we had the time together doing what we did, fixing and making Our Home Ours.
I take back other things too. When we were planning our wedding, about half way through I decided it wasn't worth it. It wasn't worth the work, the money, the hustle and bustle, caring about every stupid little detail, worrying about whose feelings were going to be hurt because they weren't invited. I told friends to "go to a beach, enjoy your time there, and get your honeymoon at the same time, and take only those the very, very closest". I still think this is a wonderful idea, and that is more for personal preference of the couple getting married. But, looking back on the planning, we talked about, as referenced in another posting, so much more than just the planning. I don't think that we wouldn't have done our official talk if we went to a beach, but maybe it would have been on the plane ride out there. Now, I have memories of the day, the sun, the cold weather, the smiles on his face, and our family's faces, our friend's faces, every little detail, every little annoyance about our wedding day. I am SO thankful that we had our wedding in a little chapel in the middle of nowhere, and not a beach. I am sure that I would have excellent memories of a beach wedding, but I can smell him on the day of the wedding. I can see his face, and I know that the day he became my husband, I had no worries for the rest of my life, because we would be together. Since he passed away, I am no longer looking for the "what if this was different" factors of our wedding planning that I was before, because NONE of that matters. Every little detail, every little memory of planning, together, was worth it.
Another thing that I would take back, and probably the most painful "what if" thing that I would take back, is our decision to push his R&R back to 3/4 of the way through the deployment. This was a conscience decision on our part. We made this decision, and we made it with the thought that we would get through the longest, hardest part of the deployment, and then he would come home, rest up, and it would be a short time before he was back, in my arms, safely, again. Up until the day before he died, I was thinking "what a great idea. Thank goodness. Only four weeks left until I get to see him, and then it will be short and sweet and he will be home". FAIL! That was a horrible decision, looking at it now. If we would have pushed it up, even a month earlier, he could have gotten the rest he needed. Maybe I could have prevented this. It would have allowed us more time together. Allowed us more kisses, more cuddles, more "I love you's". More tickles and teases, more smiles, more laughter, MORE MEMORIES. I honestly despise that decision now. And my hatred for that particular decision came very clear the second I learned about the crash while at the gym, even though I didn't know for sure that it was him. Yet.
The final decision that I want to take back is our decision to "wait a year, spend time together, travel, and THEN we will think about children". Oh my gosh. What on earth am I going to do without his children? NO. It is NOT a blessing we didn't have children. NO. I DON'T thank God that we didn't have children. Please, never, ever say that to me. Please never, ever say that to my parents or his parents, or our siblings or anyone involved in our lives. I am liable to kick you in the teeth. Not to hurt you, but because my hurt for this one is so overwhelming, and so overpowering that I cannot be held responsible for my reaction to those words. He and I wanted NOTHING more than to have children. But, we also wanted to live our lives together, briefly, without them so that we could bond more as a couple, and more align ourselves to better prepare to be parents. Now, I will NOT get to see him as a Daddy. I have seen him as an uncle. I KNOW that he would be the Best Daddy. I know that I would be a good Mommy. It is NOT okay to talk about the blessings that we have for not having children.
I was so worried that I was pregnant when he first left. I was terrified that I was going to have to go through a pregnancy alone. After many, many pregnancy tests, I finally convinced myself that I was not pregnant. Matt and I had talked about not getting pregnant on our honeymoon. That would have interrupted his sister's wedding, and our welcome home in Utah. And, he would have missed out on some of the beginning of the pregnancy. About a week before he died, I decided that it would not be the worst thing in the world if I got pregnant on our honeymoon. Our little souvenir. Our miracle together. I would have done what was necessary to get to Utah for his sister's wedding. I realized that I might have still been able to travel, but as soon as I got home, I would have to stay there. It was not exactly what we had planned, but it would be okay. I could send him daily pictures and videos and updates about how I was feeling the early part of the pregnancy so that he could participate. And he could send me updates about how he was feeling and what he was thinking. We could have "shopped" for baby stuff together, somehow, when the internet was up again over there. It COULD have worked.
But, we did NOT have that opportunity, so it is NOT okay to say that to me. It is NOT okay to say that to anyone when they have lost their loved one too soon. You do NOT know what is going through their heads, what their situation is, what their plans were.
These past couple weeks, and this weekend especially have been very hard for me. I apologize that this posting is not as "strong" as I generally try to make them. I don't normally write when I am having a "weak" day. I don't want the pain to come out, because pain is not comforting.
This week, April and I are taking a Honeymoon. We are going to some beach, some where, where I can wear my honeymoon clothes. I am taking Matt's with me also. Call me crazy. I don't care. She and I both need to get away from unexpected phone calls, to do lists, paperwork, solicitors....I need to have my time with my husband. It is not the same place that we were going to go. I will visit that place someday, maybe when I am strong enough to go alone. Maybe I will see if April can go with me there too. It is also appropriate because this last week was our 14 year anniversary of meeting (and also Happy 14 years to everyone else in Monmouth that I met- Thanks Ambi for inviting me Trick or Treating as the new kid!).
I didn't know 14 years ago that April was my soulmate best friend. I had no idea. We knew each other, and talked in study hall and Mrs. Schultz used to yell at us, but we were both tied up in our own lives. I don't want this in any way, shape or form to diminish the importance of my other friendships. I have MANY best friends. I really do. They ALL have an incredibly important and beautiful place in my heart. But, April is the one that I really believe is my Soulmate best friend. I am not sure either one of us realized that until I moved to Chicago, and even more so when she moved here. April understands me in ways that I never knew anyone could, until Matt. April can make me laugh when I only want to cry. She knows when I need my space, she knows when I need a hug, or a cuddle from one of the dogs. She knows what is good for me, and what is not. Even before I do, sometimes much before I do. She knows the right things to say, or to do, or to not say, or to not do. She is the closest thing to Matt that I have ever had, or ever will have. I am SO thankful to have her in my life, every single second, even when I am yelling at her dog, ha ha, because I am really cranky that day. I love you, Pearly.