I will never forget the first time I heard his voice. I just changed high schools within my city. I was new I did not know anyone. I just remember watching him and I knew something was different about him. I was 16 years old when I met Paul. All he said was ‘hi’ with a smile and since then we became inseparable. We grew together learning from each other and every day we became closer.
Our relationship became more then just friendship but something that bonded our souls for life. We were each others first, we went through so many things together. Growing up isn’t easy when you are still a kid. He took me to both the junior and senior prom and we graduated together. We made it through all the highschool challenges and remained closer then ever, we were proud we never broke up or took even a break despite our teenage hormones. We were ready to conquer the world together. We made all these plans. Our future kids names, what kind of house we wanted. But before we could have that, we knew we had to work.
I decided to go to college while he decided to become a United States Marine. At first the very thought of him being a Marine terrified me because I have never been away from him. We spent almost every day together since I was 16. Everyday I received a good morning message from him via text , phone call , or even a note at school. I was scared of the change that was about to happen. But blindly we began our journey. Not knowing what the future held, we just clung on to what we knew and that was each other. He went off to bootcamp while I started my first semester. We wrote letters, he never forgot his good morning messages I went to his graduation to Paris Island. I almost knocked him over when I saw him. His first response was “You dyed your hair” lol and so our journey continued.
I stayed here and did school while he did his required Marine training . I thought three months of not seeing him was unbearable, but I soon learned 3 months is better then not being able to see him for 6 months. His leave was taken away last moment, but after 6 months I was determined to see him so as soon as the semester ended. I flew to North Carolina to see him at camp lejune. Those were the best two weeks of my life and sadly were the only two weeks I got with him before he passed away. After I left he was sent to 29 palms he died two days after our anniversary. How he passed away is still in question, I heard different versions from his fellow Marines and on his death record it stated it was a self inflicted wound to the head. Location: porta potty.
Still to this day I don’t know what really happened. Part of me believes maybe he did kill himself . I had to wait 9 days till his body was sent to our hometown and when I finally saw him his face was distorted and his head was wrapped. I talked to him an hour and a half before he died. I didn’t know that was going to be the final time I heard his voice .
My other side thinks maybe something else happened. Paul thought suicide was wrong considering how angry he was at his cousin for committing suicide a few years prior . Less then 24 hours Paul passed my sister and I both received a strange text saying “Smile, death is coming ” from a number we didn’t know . Still to this day his dog tags are missing along with other things. We have received letters and documents where details regarding Paul has been wrong. So two years later. I am still not sure how he passed or where his stuff is , or when the investigation will be closed or if I will ever know.
It has been a struggle to keep moving forward. I was 19 when I buried him. He didn’t make it to his 20th birthday. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of him and what could have been. He broke my heart and it is hard to find closure since I have so many questions that haven’t and can’t be answered. When you love someone with every part of you, you want to be there and protect them.
It broke my heart I couldn’t be there to say bye or give him one last kiss or hold him like he held me when I last saw him in Jacksonville when he told me everything will be okay because i was with him and how he wasn’t going to let anyone hurt me. I wanted to hold him and tell him he is safe now because he was back with me. He will always be safe with me in my heart and mind where I keep him. I have days where I hate him for the pain he inflicted on me and question our whole relationship, but for the most part, now I think of him and smile . It’s hard but I try to find the good even in the worst situations.
I am glad I got those two weeks with him and I am glad I got that last phone call though the service was terrible. I could barely understand anything. I am glad his body got sent home and it wasn’t missing . Lastly, I am glad I got to experience the love he gave me. He told me he would love me till the day he died. Which he did. He never forgot a “good morning” message since I was 16 and the day he died was no different . I know the love we shared is real and something many people will never get to have. I am thankful for everything he and his death has taught me.
My life will never be the same and my heart will never be completely healed but everyday I live for us and I celebrate life. He is still with me for each milestone. Each day I struggled and still struggle, but I keep moving. Whoever is still reading this…you will have days were your heart hurts all over again like you just found out, but you have so much to live for. I am now 21 it’s been two years and I have accomplished so much and I know he would be so proud of me.
I believe in all of you!!