Everybody has their way of dealing with grief. I’m not the one to tell anyone that there is one “right” way to grieve. I call Taryn at least 3 times a week to cry on her shoulder. But in the last 6 months, 19 days 4 hours and 2 minutes life has been different, unpredictable, depressing, lonelier than words can express, and yes I’m going to say it, just fucking hard. I cry, Lord do I cry. I told a friend today that I measure my life now in Pre-Justin and Post –Justin time frames. A large part of me died with Justin, but the unpalatable truth is, fortunately or unfortunately depending on the day, my body and soul are still alive. I asked Justin what he would have me do if the unimaginable happened and he was killed in Iraq, he looked at me said 3 simple words that resound in my head…raise our son. Easier said than done in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son more than life. He’s the gift that God gave me to prepare me for losing the one love he knew I wouldn’t survive losing if it wasn’t for our baby boy. Almost 7 months out and I still feel lost. I don’t know if that feeling ever goes away. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat reaching for Justin to prove to myself that his death was just a nightmare. What I do know is, life has to go on. It will never have the meaning it once did. The sun will never shine as brightly, colors will never seem as brilliant, there will never be the joy that there was when I was with Justin, just because we enjoyed things TOGETHER, but the days come and the days go, I have to go to bed alone and I have to wake up that way, I have to watch my son grow up without his adored father, I have to make it through “life”. If I could tell a widow one thing that could potentially help it would be to cry. Cry whenever, wherever, however, for as long as you need to. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to need to cry on someone’s shoulder. That’s what we’re all here for. Whatever you’re feeling is normal, I promise. At least one of us has felt it. I scream at Justin usually once a day, I cuss him for leaving me to raise our gorgeous little boy, to do all the little household project, like building our son’s new bed that I bought him for his first birthday, or hanging that cabinet in the bathroom. I’ve always been incredibly independent. But being with Justin, I learned to be a little less independent and learned to trust that no matter what, he would be there, so it was ok to depend on him too. If I had to pick just one thing I learned, not just from losing Justin but from loving him…love doesn’t end with death. My love is probably stronger today than it was the day before he died, and it’ll be stronger tomorrow than it is today. Just because he’s gone doesn’t stunt the growth of my love for him. A quote from the TV show House that I saw last night, “You should love your wife more the more you get to know her.” I haven’t stopped getting to know Justin, although I knew Justin better than anyone. I’m getting to know him through his son. I’ve become grateful for the short, wonderful months we had together, the life of our son, the fact that he trusted me with his heart, and I’m grateful for my grief. My grief is part of my relationship with my husband. It is part of me now.