Every time I go to write this I can’t make it through and have to stop. After six months I still can’t hold it together when I tell the story and it breaks my heart all over again. You were my high school sweetheart and meant the world to me. You gave me two of the most precious children in the world and the best Daddy they could have had. You left September 27th, two months after our son was born headed for training then you left once again on January 4th this time to Camp Julien in Afghanistan. You did your best to surprise me by coming home on R&R for our anniversary on July 2nd but I know you too well and guessed you were coming home. When you left to return to Camp Julien you had 35 days left before you were coming home for good.
It was July 24th and gorgeous outside. The kids participated in the West Seattle Rotary Club Kiddies Parade that morning. Addi was in her sailor dress on her new bike we got her; Jordon was wearing his sailor jumper riding in the wagon decorated in red, white and blue. They had a blast, Addi ringing her bell and trying to wave at the same time while riding her bike down the parade route. Jordon of course just enjoying the ride with that contagious smile he gets from you. They decided they wanted to go home with Grandma for the afternoon and play, well actually Addi decided for them.
I pulled up to the house unloaded the groceries, turned on the computer waiting to talk with you, and sat down to read my book when a white van pulled up in front of the house. Three men in khakis got out and started for the front door. I put the dogs outside thinking to myself, can’t have the dogs jumping on their nice pressed uniforms. I opened the door and asked them to come in still not even thinking anything was wrong until I noticed the cross on the collar of one of their shirts. I became very nervous and they asked me to sit down. The Commander told me you were Missing in Action and they couldn’t find you. I was in shock and asked, “What do you mean you can’t find him?” They couldn’t give me any information except that you and Justin didn’t report back to base like usual. I went numb and couldn’t hear anything they were saying to me after that. The Chaplin put his hand on my shoulder and asked if there was someone they could call to be with me. I made the call to Mom, she was there within minutes. When she ran in and saw the three men in khakis and me standing there crying she said, “oh no.” I told her you were missing. She was strong just like we know her to be and was instantly at my side. She asked some questions then went to get the kids out of the car.
I don’t really remember a whole lot of details after that. The next day we received word that they had found Justin’s body and you were presumed captured. I had no feelings about it because we still lost one of you and the thoughts of what they could be doing to you was too much for me to handle. I just stayed numb and out of touch with everything and everyone around me. Later that day I got a call on my cell phone from a strange number but I knew it was from overseas. I held my breath as I answered hoping just hoping it might be you telling me you were ok and not to worry anymore but it was Adam; your friend from San Diego that was stationed with you at Camp Julien. He was calling to check on us and to tell us he was there for anything we needed. I had so many questions for him; the most important question I wanted answered was what you and Justin were doing. He told me you and Justin were coming back from another base and that you were not doing anything wrong like the media was portraying in the news. He confirmed what I already knew that you two wouldn’t do anything to put your lives in danger. On the 28th, two days later we got your packages in the mail for the kids; it was the videos of you reading books to the kids from the USO in Kuwait on your way back into Afghanistan. Addi was so excited; I set up a chair in front of the television for her to watch it. You did a great job reading to her and she kept up with you this time. We could barely hold it together seeing you alive and well on the screen but then imagining the worst. But like always you told her to be a good girl, that you loved her then blew her a big MUAH kiss with both hands and as you were reaching to turn off the camera you tilted your head slightly to the side like you were actually looking at me and said, “I love you Kim.” Seconds later there was a knock on the door. It was the Navy Commander and he told us, “The coalition forces have recovered Jarod’s body. He is deceased.” I was devastated, my world completely fell apart.
I relived it all every waking moment for weeks and it still brings me to tears. I miss you so much, words just can’t describe. My heart is broken. I don’t know where to go from here, being a Military widow at the age of 26 with two small children. The thought of our children never really getting to know you like I did, to not know firsthand how special they are to have a Daddy like you is unbearable to me.
Fair winds and following seas
CS2 Jarod P. Newlove
United States Navy
I have found comfort in these words, “You don’t get over it, you get through it. You don’t get by it because you can’t get around it. It doesn’t get better, it just gets different.” They were sent to me from a Master Chief that attended Jarod’s service as they loaded him on the plane to come home. I will be forever grateful for these words.