I have been comforted by the many stories of loss here and in meeting Taryn and “the girls” at Camp Widow West 2012. Yet, I have never felt I really belonged at the American Widow Project, until recently. My husband, Senior Chief Vincent Moore, was active duty but was not killed in action. I have recently come to read quite a few stories of the same and feel..hey, wait…maybe I do really belong.
Vince and I met when I was a senior in high school. We worked at an assisted living together serving meals to the residents. I really didn’t like him when we first met. Over time we became best friends though and when I went off to college and he the Navy our relationship changed. We were married in 1994, 2 years after he joined the Navy. We traveled the world together and he soared through the ranks. He was a meteorologist and eventually ended up with the SEAL’s. He wrote the qualifications for and earned the Navy’s very first expeditionary warfare pin for AG’s. He was having the time of his life and was one of the youngest Senior Chief’s amongst his peers.
On December 11, 2010, after 18 years of marriage and two sons, I got out of the shower to find him lying in bed with the alarm going off. I teased him and told him to get his lazy bones out of bed, while the boys, then 7 and 2, were jumping on the bed. It wasn’t but a few seconds later that I realized something was very wrong. I checked his pulse and realized he wasn’t breathing. I am an RN and it was during this point of panic that I couldn’t even remember what to do..except scream. The boys were so confused. His Aunt was visiting at the time and was able to call 911 and keep the boys busy. I had seen this before but never in my own home and never to MY husband. Everything was surreal. I performed CPR but wasn’t getting a response and I was hysterical. When EMS arrived they took over and he still didn’t respond. They asked me if I wanted them to continue….I yelled of course, he’s only 37!! Please help! They took him out on the gurney, my boys and I watching in disbelief, my bedroom looked like the ER trauma room. I was even questioned by the police. All I wanted was to wake up from this horrible nightmare and hold him again.
He was pronounced dead at the hospital. I was in shock. I managed to call the Navy and tell them he was gone. Later when all the family,friends and his superiors along with the CACO and Navy Chaplain arrived I still couldn’t believe this had happened. I still struggle with this today, 2 years later. It’s hard to believe the permanence of the situation and that he’s not just on a long deployment again. The military and his command have been wonderful throughout the whole ordeal yet I never felt that sense of belonging to anyone or any group…till now. I have come to realize there are people here who understand and I do belong!