My grandmother was one of the most amazing women in my life. She loved her family more than anything in the world and was a great listener. Her best piece of advice was to surround yourself with good people who positively influence you.
Four years ago, I met a wonderful man who instantly filled my heart with love. I knew he was the one. Six months after being married, we were expecting. During that time, my husband was hired for a job that required extensive out-of-town training. We were able to see one another on weekends and made the best of the time we had together.
My grandmotherís health began to spiral. I was throwing names around while visiting, and decided her name was perfect. Upon telling my grandmother this, she stuck her tongue out at me and smiled. Being a jokester, I knew I had her blessing if we had a girl. On the day my grandmother passed, I had a sonogram to determine the sex of the baby. We had the results recorded so we could find out together the night before the funeral. We watched the DVD and across the screen came the letters G-I-R-L. I guess everything does happen for a reason.
My husband had to relocate downstate. Weeks passed where we wouldnít see one another. I remained calm, supportive and positive, but the looming fear of delivering a baby alone lingered. I surrounded myself with family and friends to keep me distracted.
My husband was able to work out some time off and came home the day before our daughter was born. He did everything he could to bond with her. He played, learned childrenís songs and became an amazing father. I fell in love with him all over again. The smile on his face when he told me stories about his day with our daughter filled my heart with so much happiness.
Toward the end of May, a phone call came from the Army. My husband was being deployed. As a member of the Army Reserves, I knew this call would come one day. Millions of questions filled my mind, and fear filled my heart. In the weeks leading up to his deployment, we cherished every minute together. Friends questioned my strength and composure. How could I be selfish when he was being selfless?
Now I am staring at this bridge that seems 100 miles long. Saying goodbye to my husband was overwhelming. I am on an emotional rollercoaster trying to figure out a way to conceptualize the next year. I am grateful for friends and family who have already reached out to me with kind words, thoughts and prayers. Now, more than ever, I must surround myself with positive people. I know I have to be strong for my husband, and I am so proud of him.
I think about my grandmother and how she survived my grandfatherís Army career. She wrote to him every day. This dedication to love and family is a true lesson to learn from. Their relationship survived my grandfatherís countless deployments. I always enjoyed being around my grandparents, feeling their love and the strength of their relationship. I didnít know I was learning a life lesson that was to be used many years later.
My grandmotherís strength, courage and commitment to family resonate loudly in my mind as I face a difficult life journey ahead. I will celebrate the good days, accept the bad days and look forward to the day we welcome my husband home.