When I was 14, I would purposely miss my highschool bus stop just to get a glimpse of him. We grew up down the street from each other and our brothers were best buddies. He had eyes as blue as the sky and the most charming crooked smile. Our story started then, in a small town outside of San Diego, CA.
He was my first boyfriend, my first love, my husband, and the father of our son. We had what Nicolas Sparks wrote about, that kind of crazy, young love.
9 years after we met, our time together was cut short by his accidental overdose from the meds he took after being severely injured in Baghdad, Iraq by an EFP while serving his country.
My husband was Spc. Carl D Hall III. A gunner for the US Army He was proud to be an Airborne Infantry BCO man.
After he had joined it never dawned on me the severity of his enlistment. I was ignorant in the fact that he might get hurt or ever was in danger. He would tell me “I’m playing guitar tonight” to let me know he was on a mission or patrol. It never really sunk in.
On his second tour in the Fall of 2011 I was 6 months pregnant with our son. On Nov 14 at 2:01 am I got the call. My blue eyes had been injured and his close friend had been killed from the blast to their MRAP. They referred to it as a “shark bite” injury to his left calf. He was missing 45% of it. Along with a concussion and massive shrapnel wounds to his thighs. My world was turned upside down and my warrior was wounded. I headed to Ft Bragg, NC where he was stationed (I was with our families back in San Diego while pregnant) only to find the empty shell of what was my husband. He was angry and sour. Violent and hot tempered. He had changed.
I spent the next 8 months in Womack Army Medical Center between his nonstop appointments and surgeries and my prenatal appointments and then the birth of our son, Barrett.
There were so many triumphs, so much love and progress and also so much defeat and heartache. Between being newlyweds, moving cross country, taking care of my severely injured Infantryman with PTSD (and a TBI) and learning to be parents to our newborn son we had our hands full. We did the best we could with the terrible cards we were given. Then the PTSD took over, my chivalrous, sweet man turned into a monster. After they took his jump wings from him he was a mess. The WTB was a joke. They failed him. He began hoarding ammo, cutting off friends, threatening me, even becoming physical and abusive. He began to drink heavily, he felt so alone. Mixed with the insane amount of oxycontin and morphine they kept giving him it was toxic. We tried therapy, every medication under the sun but nothing seemed to help.
On June 27, 2012 at 8am I found him blue on our couch. My last contact with my childhood sweetheart was trying to breathe life into his empty lungs again. He was gone. This month marks the year of his passing and I am nothing but numb. I can’t seem to move past this hole in my heart, but the only thing keeping it beating is our beautiful (now 15 month old) son. Who looks just like his daddy. I am so grateful they got to spend 4 wonderful months together.
I’m working on the healing part, and yes, things have gotten easier and time has helped a bit. But I think I am still in denial. But that’s okay, that’s part of healing right? We’ll get through it.
I never thought I’d be a 25 yr old single mom and military widow.. I know my story is rare and unique in that my husband did not die in combat, but he did die serving his country. He was our hero. I share this tragedy in hopes of letting another widow of similar circumstance know that you are not alone.
Forever his and proud to be.