I woke up on the morning of June 7th, 2010 and did what I always did. Before my eyes were even open, I reached for my blackberry to see if I had an email from my darling husband, Bobby. I saw that he had sent me an email at 1:06 AM. I scanned through it…all the normal email talk; How much he missed me, what he was going to get me for my upcoming birthday, a discussion about my son from my first marriage, Jason’s, new hair cut. Just your basic deployment email. At the end he said, “I’ve got to go to work, baby(which was what he would say when he had to go out on a mission). Tell J I love him and miss him and I can’t wait to come home and beat his butt at basketball and Sorry (the boardgame).”
This was only the 2nd week of summer and my son Jason was spending the morning with my parents and then the afternoon in his first week of basketball camp. It was Monday and I normally have to wear dress clothes to work Monday-Thursday, but our office had recently moved locations so we were allowed to wear jeans due to all the moving and un-boxing we had to do. I decided to wear one of Bobby’s favorite shirts on me, a navy blue Notre Dame t-shirt, because I missed him so much and it made me feel close to him. Bobby had only left for Afghanistan 5 1/2 weeks earlier but we had already fell into our normal deployment routine. Bobby would phone every 2-4 days and he would send 2 emails a day- one when he woke up and one when he went to bed. We were lucky, he had ‘secret squirrel’ access and was able to email me from that account in his room, and I was able to email to that account several times a day, as well. So every morning I would wake up and find an email in my inbox from him and then around 3 every afternoon, my light on my blackberry would begin to blink to let me know I had an email.
That afternoon, my light never went off.
I just thought, “Oh well, I guess he got caught up in a mission and I’ll hear from him when he finally gets back to his COP. About 10 minutes to 5, I was bored at work and decided to scan some news on the internet for my last few minutes at work. I clicked on MSN to see the headline “Deadliest Day in Afghanistan”. I read about all the different locations where US soldiers were killed. I saw that 5 soldiers were killed by a road side bomb in eastern Afghanistan, where Bobby was stationed. Even though I read it, it never crossed my mind that Bobby would have been in any danger. So I left work for the day.
I stopped by my parents house on the way home, to pick up my son. They had picked him up from basketball camp for me. On the way into our neighborhood we were talking about what we wanted for dinner. We decided that I would fix us tacos and then we would play a game of Sorry and maybe watch a movie before bedtime. Like always, I had done all of my household chores and errands on Sunday,the day before, and so I was going to be able to enjoy a peaceful night of relaxation with my son. As I turned onto my street, I saw the car first. The new model American made sedan, parked in front of my house. Then my eyes went to my yard, where 2 men in Class A’s were standing. Waiting for me.
“Oh Shit,” I whispered. Jason looked at me and said, “What Momma?”. ‘Nothing Baby’ I said…not wanting to believe what I saw. I barely made it into my driveway and I put my car in park. I didn’t even pull in the garage. I stepped out of my car and in my head, I kept saying ‘He’s just hurt. He’s hurt really bad and he can’t call me. That’s why they’re here’. But I knew better by the look in their eyes. They asked if they could come in and I said yes. We walked into my kitchen and they said, “Can we please sit down?” I asked them to wait just a minute. I told Jason to please take the dog outside and walk her around the yard until I came and got him. I didn’t want him to hear what they were about to tell me. We all walked into my living room and the Chaplain and I sat on the sofa and the notification officer sat across from us. And then the words came…The words that changed my life forever…“We regret to inform you that a vehicle in your husbands company was hit by a IED, all 5 passengers were killed. And based on the information of the vehicle manifest, we believe that your husband was one of those 5 soldiers.”
The only words that I could muster were, “I don’t understand, I just don’t understand.” Over and over, that’s all I could say. Eventually they asked if there was anyone I could call. Immediately, I called my parents and just told them to come over now. And I called my 2 best friends and told them the same thing. While waiting for my parents, I walked outside to Jason. And I told him, “Baby, Bobby was killed today”. And i had to catch my 11 year old tough little boy as he just lost it and almost fell. We just held onto each other because we had both just lost our best friend. My parents arrived shortly there after. They didn’t understand right away what the men were doing in my house and I just blurted out, ‘Bobby’s dead!!’ And they lost it too. One of my friends walked in the house right then and she immediately knew what was going on. I didn’t even have to say it. All she kept saying was “Oh, Oh, Oh.” Over and over. Finally, I was able to say “This can’t be real. We had so many plans.” We were going to start trying for a baby of our own on R&R, because Bobby was going to retire in 3 years. This was supposed to be his last deployment ever. Much later in the evening, my house was filled with my tight knit crew of girlfriends. I just kept telling them all that this was a bad dream. ‘I’m going to wake up tomorrow and none of this will have happened.’ They all just looked at me and let me believe for a few minutes that this wasn’t real. I still find myself saying that every night as I go to bed, “When I wake up in the morning, this won’t have happened. Bobby will have emailed me because he’s home from his mission and life will be back to normal.” But every morning, I wake up and I am slapped in the face with reality.
I’m slapped in the face with the fact that the love of my life and my best friend is gone. Forever. Every single morning I wake up and there’s a split second where I don’t realize what happened 40 days ago. And then just after that split second, my world crashes at my feet again. And I have to start the mourning process all over again. Every day is the same. Every night I fall asleep wishing to wake up from this nightmare, and every morning I wake up and realize that I’m living in this nightmare and I will never get to wake up from it. Bobby was the love of my life and my perfect person, and I miss him so much.