Behind the wheel of your truck

Camping was always your thing Josh. You took this old city girl, brought her out into the wilderness but assured her it would be the best kind of camping… you weren’t wrong. We bought a travel trailer first and you hauled that sucker wherever your dad said we were going. I honestly never knew where we were going because you and dad planned it out and I just followed you. I remember the first time you took me camping…

I still don’t remember what location we were at but I remember asking, as you sat around the fire reading a book, “what are we doing today?” you looked up, raised your book, pointed to the fire and said “this is it!”.

I could not fathom how reading a book around a fire was enjoyable. I still don’t understand the reading a book part but to each their own 😉 I think I stayed inside the camper and cleaned it top to bottom three times over because I just didn’t know what to do with myself.

Eventually, camping grew on me. I still have yet to read a book around a fire but I do get to the bonfire every now and again.

In the last few weeks I decided I was ready to trade in our camper. By this point we had already traded up a few times and moved into a fifth wheel. I took our fifth wheel to Itasca for our annual trip the August immediately following your death and the year after. It was easy to pull and had space but functionality wise with Amelia, it wasn’t cutting it.

I cried when I did the paperwork. I cried when I began clearing it out. I cried when I dropped it off.

I found a new camper that fits the new dynamic of our family with the two kids; a bunkhouse style like we always talked about. You’d be proud! Not only would you be proud of the wheeling and dealing I did (with Brads help because you know I’ve never been good at negotiating) but also proud that I continue to camp despite it never really being “my thing”.

It’s Memorial Day weekend and this weekend has always been hard for me as a Veteran. It’s harder as a widow too because I feel that pain all over for all the widows and widowers out there.

However, in preparation for this weekend and in the spirit of keeping camping alive in our kids, I got behind the wheel of your truck and pulled my new fifth wheel camper. It was nerve racking having two kids in the truck and an extra 36 feet behind us but we made it! You’d also be proud that I backed it in myself! Hard to believe I know! I did have guidance on the ground but it was me behind the wheel 🙂

It’s a beauty Josh; this camper is. The first thing I did was decorate it with coordinating colors and I could envision your eye roll and head shake as I excitedly point out that even the dishes match the comforters!

I still keep you very present and even around the fire, with Brad by my side, we talked about you and laughed about all of the good times. I heard you visited in the form of an Eagle just above the tree line too! I always seem to miss you because if the toddler doesn’t need me, the baby does.

I wouldn’t trade these kids for a pound of chocolate!

We did a damn good job making beautiful creatures and thanks to the village you left me with, they will become incredible humans!

Thanks for teaching me to camp in the most glamorous form! There’s no way I would have ever done any of this had it not been for you!

I’ll get behind the wheel of your truck over and over but I still won’t read book… we love and miss you Josh. The kids already love camping and having their own bunks, even if Amelia still sleeps with Nana most nights.

Thanks for helping me create traditions I never knew I wanted.

Never easy walking away

Death changes you. Especially when you loved them with a fierceness that seemingly died with them.

You get to a point where some things just aren’t worth fighting for and you tend to just keep your mouth shut. This may come as a shock to some since I have typically been outspoken however, there is a time and place for it.

I know well enough now when to just “let it go” but, sometimes, letting it go, means letting people go. Walking away from situations and people that don’t bring me joy.

It’s never easy walking away from someone who once brought you joy. Sometimes a little distance is needed.

I’ve never been a materialistic person but I have been a person who relies heavily on respect and integrity. I had a rough go at the respect and integrity thing in High School but then again, we are all learning and growing then too.

Through life challenges, deployment, and death, I have grown exponentially.

I firmly believe in telling people how you feel, good or bad, because you may never get the chance. However, if it’s “bad”, I believe in discussion over phone call or in person because we all know how easily it is to misread a text message.

You can never deny someone’s feelings even if you do not understand why they feel the way they do. What you can do is agree to disagree and move on from the issue.

If I have ever given you my love, I felt you deserved it. If I have ever pulled away, there’s a reason. Whether you understand why or not, is up to you. I will no longer go out of my way to make people understand why I feel the way I do. It just is. Life has changed me and if you really want to know why; TALK TO ME!

Do not just assume I am intentionally cutting you out of my life. Maybe, just maybe, I am waiting for the right time to address the issue so that both sides can be heard without misunderstandings.

Life is hard. Grief is different. Emotions are high. Patience is pertinent.

It’s never easy to walk away but sometimes it’s all you can do to keep yourself from falling into the dark.