5 years ago, Summer 2005 I met one of the most amazing people. We were both in high school and starting our Junior/Sophomore years in the fall. We flirted and talked for months, but I thought he liked someone else so I got a boyfriend. Shortly after he stopped talking to me and I knew he was the one I wanted to be with.
That December we started talking again. I saw him on Christmas eve, a bunch of kids in town were sled riding and he gave me a hug as I was leaving. I thought nothing of it, but one of his friends made a comment about “love birds” as I was walking away. The very next night I was on my computer and my aim chat popped up (it was the thing to do then) and it was Josh. I always remember that message- “So, why weren’t you under my tree this morning” As I giggled and picked on him for it after that I thought it was so cute at the time. A few days later we were supposed to go out, but I was so nervous to go I told him I was sick and backed out. Then on New Years eve I was at my house watching the ball drop. My phone rang- it was Josh. In those few minutes we became “official” and I couldn’t have been happier.
As time went on we spent more time together. Later that year, November 2006 he dropped a ball. He enlisted in the Marine Corps and was leaving in July for boot camp. I was so upset and didn’t know how I was ever going to live a military life. It was his senior year, my junior, so we didn’t worry too much about it at the time.
Before I knew it July 1st, 2007 rolled around. 1.5 years into our relationship and he was leaving for Parris Island. I cried and cried that day. I wasn’t ready for him to leave. Not to mention the shock of them just being taken out of your life. However, the 3 months quickly passed and before I knew it I was on my way to South Carolina to see him.
That December he checked in with 2/9 at Camp Lejeune. Over the months we continued to adjust to this new life. I was lucky enough to spend another new years with him and we set off into another year. That September we started a 7 month deployment to Ramadi, Iraq. It wasn’t easy and I didn’t like it, but we survived and he returned home on April 22. I was so happy that day and I knew we were one step closer to being free of the Marine Corps.
We readjusted to him being home and talking all the time as usual. After missing the previous New Year because of the deployment, he was home for this one. I had just gotten my wisdom teeth out so instead of going out that night he stayed on the couch with me and my swollen mouth. We watched the ball drop together and it was a happy 4 years. Little did I know, it was going to be our last.
In July we started another pre-deployment leave and I made the trip back to Lejeune to see him before he left. 2 days after I left Josh departed for Afghanistan. I wasn’t any happier about this deployment and I knew it was a lot more dangerous this time around. However, we made the best of it. The first month we were lucky to have good communication and we talked on skype almost everyday. Things were perfect and I was determined as ever to get through this deployment. Upon his return we were to be engaged (we already picked out my “rock” that I absolutely love), EAS was finally there, and we were ready to move forward with our lives.
On September 1st my phone rang at an early 5 am. Josh was on the other line and happy as ever. I’m a huge grouch early in the morning but he got me to laugh as we always did and we talked for an hour. He had a few more things to do that day so he told me he had to go, but he would call back as soon as he could. I gave him my normal be careful speech and we exchanged “i love you’s” for what turned out to be the last time.
Just before 8 am on September 2nd my phone rang again. It was Josh’s dad and I got the most devastating news. All I heard was “Chrissy, Josh was killed this morning.” I hit the floor and burst into tears. I couldn’t even believe this was happening to me. We had so many plans and we were so close to being done with this life. Over the next 10 days we brought him home, viewings, and funeral. The homecoming that no military spouse wants.
I hate that my worst nightmare became a reality. It’s still so fresh and unreal. I’m on a new path in life without a plan- figuring out what to do now without him by my side. At 20 years old I have loved and lost. If there is any comforting thought I have it is that he will guide me down the right path until I see him again.