Writing our feelings down seems to be easier than discussing them with people who could not imagine understanding the pain we are going through. I have been doing much reflecting and will share my most recent thoughts…..
High school was especially difficult for me because I had endured some traumatic experiences but he always knew how to put a smile on my face. He insisted on picking me up in the mornings and bringing me to school with him and his brothers, giving me a long hug before class, and walking me to and from each class. My best friend was a nerd. He sat with the foreign exchange students at lunch and was known as “Camo Boy.” He wore BDU’s or his JROTC uniform to school almost every day. Getting attention was a good thing for him because he enjoyed it. He did not care what others thought of him. We always understood each other and shared the same past time. We loved to paintball, come up with different scenarios and have a blast with all of our friends. We did many ridiculous things as teenagers and I still laugh thinking about them. Once, he took my little brother with him to paintball all the boys’ houses and cars who liked me to scare them away. Cody was protective and would do anything for me.
Cody told me when I was 14 that he loved me and he wanted to marry me. Well, when a girl is 14 years old and a 16 year old boy proclaims his love for her this can be frightening and make the girl ride the boy off as crazy. Cody made it clear that he was going to join the service after graduation. I would not commit to being his girlfriend because I needed a boyfriend close to home due to the traumatic things I had been through and was trying to heal from at the time. Both of us hurt, He dated an evil girl who screwed him over and scared him for life and I dated a boy who made my life a living hell. Cody joined the Marines and we ALWAYS kept in contact. We were best friends. We knew all of each other’s little dirty secrets and remained the only ones who understood each other completely.
It was hard when he was in Iraq. We wrote letters and I would get so excited because it felt like WWII to me. I would run around the house saying my “war mail” came in and cherish every letter from him. I sent him a picture of me and later found out that he kept it in his helmet and looked at it all the time. I have it today and it is all wrinkled and I always think about him getting caught at work staring at my photo. His Marines would tease him and ask about me and he would tell them we were best friends but he loved me. Cody did not date any girls for three years. No sex, no nothing. He waited for me and I did not know that until we started dating. He said that I was always the only girl for him and he patiently waited for me to come around.
The summer before my junior year in college Cody and his friends decided to break the rules and drive from Yuma, Arizona to San Antonio, Texas to pick me up for Fourth of July weekend. The day he picked me up, we got to college station where we would be spending the weekend. He was tired from the long drive and we instantly cuddled and fell asleep. Woke up and ate at Texas Road House, which would become our place to eat. That evening the sun was setting and we had just finished playing horse shoes. Cody and I were on the porch steps having a deep conversation; at that moment I knew I loved him and I wanted to be with him. That night I kissed him and he was so surprised, it was really cute. We danced the night away on Fourth of July at a country bar and it was so much fun. The day after we floated the river in San Marcos and on the way back to College station I told him I loved him. That night as we laid to bed he held me and whispered in my ear “you know I have always loved you right?” and I told him “yes” and we went to bed. We were simple people and our love was true.
We began dating and I was attending St.Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas while he was stationed in Yuma. Our long distance relationship was difficult because I always told him I never wanted one but I could not been happier with him. We NEVER fought! He would speed to Texas to see me on holidays and I would fly to him every chance I got. The first time I visited him in Yuma he brought up marriage. It freaked me out because he mentioned it when he picked me up from the airport and left me at our friend’s house while he went to work. He had field day that night and I ended up babysitting our friend’s kid. The moment he walked into their home with his work uniform on and carrying a gallon of water in each hand I knew I wanted to marry him. We baby sat the kid together that night and I knew he would be a wonderful father because he always took care of the kid alone and the kids first word was Cody’s name. Cody flew to Houston, Texas to ask my parents for my hand in marriage. He showed up to the house in uniform and my dad choked on the water he was drinking when Cody stated his purpose for the visit. My parents approved and Cody set up our wedding. It was going to be a surprise if we were going to wed or not. Thanksgiving break I flew to Yuma and he helped me cook thanksgiving dinner. The guys were teasing him for helping me, mind you, I never asked him to help he wanted to. He wanted us to do everything together. We were a team and he couldn’t image doing things without me because they wouldn’t be as much fun. On November 28, 2008, the day after thanksgiving we got married in Senators Wash in California at sunset. It was so beautiful. He wanted it at sunset. We were in the mountains by the water and it was so breath taking.
We had a wonderful three months of marriage. Every moment we spent together was bliss. I loved how we were always filled with pure happiness when together. As each day progressed that we were together our love grew in such a way that neither one of us could explain. It was hard at times because we were living in different states because I was trying to finish up my degree to better our future. Even when he was alive, nothing was fun without him. We were and still are true soul mates and I do NOT plan on re marrying. I am staying true to him and still consider myself married.
His death was so sudden and is still a blur to me. I was visiting him on my spring break before he deployed to Afghanistan. The days leading up to his death were so beautiful. We were so happy and it was too good to be true. We woke up that morning and every position we cuddled in was so comfortable. We went to shoot guns with a friend out by his work and then we went to rent quads. While waiting to rent the quads we did a wal-mart run and he bought me a dress, which I wore at his wake. The drive out to the imperial sand dunes was so nice. The mountains were beautiful and he would not stop staring at me with a smile. We were taking pictures with his cell phone, photos that I now cherish more than anything. We were riding the quads and Cody rode off a 60 foot drop and died on impact. My quad had stalled out and I was waiting by the truck and our friend was called to help with Cody and people started running saying that a little boy had been hurt. My husband was six feet, five inches tall so I didn’t think anyone would mistake him for a little boy. When I finally got the courage to walk over to the scene our friend walked up to me with blood all over his mouth and I started to scream. He held me back and I ran to Cody but they wouldn’t let me touch him. They took me to stand by the fire trucks and I still remember the ladies face when they pronounced him dead. I fell to the ground and screamed so loud and was telling everyone to fuck off that was trying to comfort me. It was the worst moment of my life. It felt like a horrible nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. I fought to see his body. I talked to him like he was still alive and wanted him to wake up so bad. That night I slept in our friends barracks and the one hour that I slept I dreamt of Cody and he said he would come back for me.
We often talked about death and promised each other that if one of us died before the other we would find a way to be together in the afterlife. Before he died he kept joking around about me being pregnant. We even bet twenty dollars on it. He thought I was and I thought I wasn’t. I made them test me on base and I told myself before I got the results that if was pregnant he was giving me a reason to live a long life, if I wasn’t pregnant he would come for me within the next few years and I would not have to grow that old without him. I was not pregnant. Cody has sent me many signs letting me know he is watching out for me. Each day without him gets more difficult. I have been through many traumatic experiences and have also seen people die but losing my husband is the ultimate. No one understands and there is nothing anyone can say or do to make the pain go away. I want him back more than anything but know that that is not a possibility.
Every morning I wake up alone. I cry in the shower and force myself to eat meals. Each breath I take is for him. I am constantly re-playing the day he died in my head; the day that half of me died. I cannot do anything without thinking of him and how he would go about the situation. When I am out in social environments I cannot have fun, I just sit there and put a fake smile on my face as I think of my husband trying not to cry. I wear his clothes, even his boxers hoping they will bring me closer to him. I stare at our pictures trying to make them come to life. Functioning without him has become difficult but not impossible.
I am 19 years old and buried the love of my life. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to be truly happy for a moment in time and keep those memories with me. His two missions in life were to join the service and marry me. He got what he wanted and loved me with everything he had. I am trying my best to keep strong for him and advise others to do the same. Pray for strength because it is needed in a difficult time such as this. Life is cruel yet beautiful and we must still try to enjoy the beauties life offers even if half of us are dead. Keep them alive in our hearts and memories. Read and re-read the letters they wrote. Talk about them often, talk to them as if they are here and never forget the happy times.