I met Dylan in July of 2009. During that summer, I was visiting my cousin whose father was stationed at Fort Carson and would later find out that Dylan was stationed there as well. My cousin and I were with a friend of ours one night, when Dylan showed up with some of his friends. The person we were with knew Dylan, so he and his friends ended up sticking around and spending time with us for the rest of the night. Dylan had a little bit too much to drink, was very loud, and he annoyed me. I really couldn’t stand him. We ran into each other shortly after that night though. He was sober and a bit less obnoxious, so I decided to give him a chance. We exchanged numbers and that’s when everything between us started.
We didn’t see each other after that, but we would talk on the phone and text all the time. He still talked too much, but he grew on me and began to really like him. I ended up coming back home to Minnesota in October and although it felt like we were already in a relationship, he asked me to be when I was back home. Of course, I agreed.
We made plans for him to come to Minnesota to visit and meet my family in December, so he came the day after Christmas. We were standing in my kitchen a short while after he arrived. He kissed me and told me he loves me. I kept asking, “what?...what?...what?...” just so he would keep telling me he loves me. I knew that I was in love with him too and I knew at that moment that I was going to marry him.
He only got to spend a week with me before he had to return to Fort Carson, but it was one of the best times we’ve had together. A few days after he left, he texted me and asked me if I would marry him. Romantic, huh? I told him I would, but made him agree to ask me in a better way when we were together again.
On January 15th, 2010 we found out that we were pregnant. That’s when we decided it was time for us to live together. I moved down to Colorado and the next few months with each other were incredible.
He would be deploying to Iraq soon, so we didn’t have time for a wedding, but we wanted to get married. We just planned to go to the Court House and decided to have a wedding when he returned home from deployment. We got married on February 16th and he deployed on March 17th.
I came back to Minnesota to stay with my parents while he was deployed. We talked whenever we could through calls, texts, and instant messaging. The distance made our marriage stronger and I just continued to fall even more in love with him everyday.
We found out that we were going to be having a daughter that was suppose to arrive on September 13th. He made his plans to come home for R&R around that time, so he could be there for the birth.
I picked him up from the airport on September 8th. It felt so good to be together again. We only had six amazing days to ourselves and then our daughter, Avery, was born on the 14th. Dylan couldn’t have been more thrilled. The one thing he always wanted was to be a father, I’m so glad I was able to give him that. I had to have a C-section, so he got an extra week of R&R to help me out. That time spent together as a family was the best we’ve ever had together.
He left on October 3rd to return to Iraq. He was only there for thirteen days when he died.
On October 16th I was shopping with my daughter, mom, and sisters. We were in a town that’s about two hours away from our home. I hadn’t heard from Dylan that day, but there were times when the internet wasn’t working, so I assumed that’s what was going on. We were at a gas station, getting gas before we were going to head home. I checked my phone and received a Facebook message from someone I don’t know, asking if it was true that Dylan was gone. I didn’t think anything of it. I thought she meant that he left back to Iraq, so I told her that he went back to Iraq a couple of weeks ago. Then she said, no, and asked me if he was dead. I started yelling at my mom to call Dylan’s sister. She did and we found out that is was true. The notification officers had been trying to find me at my house all day. I don’t remember much after that, except for pacing around in some grass, crying and whispering “no…no…no…” over and over again. Everything is a blur after that and then my dad is waking me up the next morning, so I can talk to the notification officers. They informed me that Dylan was having horrible chest pains, so he went to the doctor, went into cardiac arrest there, and couldn’t be revived.
I’m now a 19 year old widow. It’s still so unreal. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to believe that any of this has really happened. I miss him though. I miss him so much. Not a second goes by that I don’t think about him. I love him with everything I am, with every part of me; I always will. I know Avery was given to me for a reason; because Dylan was going to be taken from me and now I have the best part of him to share a life with, until he and I are reunited.