So the day after we got to Hawaii (July 4th), we got some unfortunate news…that a good friend of ours died while deployed to Afghanistan. He was pretty much the first person who worked with Brad that I felt at least somewhat of a connection with…who made me feel at least liked a little bit. He was always down to go hang out. He was the first person I gave a hug to the day Brad came home from Iraq. He was a great guy.
I’ve been lucky so far…I haven’t personally known anyone who’s died while they were deployed….Brad’s known a couple guys that have died while being overseas, but they’ve only been people he’s known of…not friends of ours. I honestly knew it would only be a matter of time before someone we personally knew…who we were pretty decent friends with…but I didn’t think that it would be Aj…and honestly, I didn’t expect it, especially on the year anniversary of another friend of mine passing away from breast cancer. The funny thing is about that whole thing was that I got piss drunk at Aj’s house LAST 4th of July to deal with Lisa passing away…and a year later…we find out that he’s gone. Apparently the 4th of July is not the best day of the year for me.
I’m also really upset that we can’t (or couldn’t…?) make it back for the memorial service in Washington, but since we just got here, and we really don’t have the funds to fly back…not to mention a plane is the absolute last place I want to be right now. It’s so unfortunate. So I think the best thing I can do is just remember Aj for the person that he was, and remember that he died fighting for what he believed in, and wanted to do. I honestly can’t imagine him doing anything else either. That doesn’t make the fact that he’s gone any easier…in fact, every time I see something, or hear something, or read something about it, I still can’t believe it. Nothing can ever make death easier – I’m still sad 6 years later over the death of my grandfather, and I do get teary over it every once in awhile. And nothing can prepare you for death…even knowing about it before it actually happens, which is the reason why I’m so upset about this. Of course I’ve thought about death – my husband was deployed in Iraq. My brother-in-law has been deployed twice since Brad and I have been married. Two of my uncles. Numerous friends. Death is often in the front of your mind when a loved one is deployed, even when you try to push it out of your mind. It’s just one of those things that you didn’t think would happen to you or someone you know. And me being the kind of person that I am, I immediately went onto my brother-in-laws facebook profile and everyone else I had on my friends list that was deployed and double checked when the last time they posted something, or responded to someone was to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything. Overly worrying never did get me very far, except for more worrying…
As unfortunate, and sad as death is, it is a part of life…it happens every day, to hundreds of people…thousands…? If I wasn’t pregnant, I would have raised a Corona to Aj on the 4th of July (I actually had a little bitty sip) and toasted to my friend.
So to Aj – thank you so much for your service, and your sacrifice. You were a great person, and a great friend. I hope to see you again someday. May you rest in peace. You’ll be remembered always.