Tuesday, March 26, 2013

This Is Not Okay

I just don't know if I can get past this.

I keep feeling numb. And empty. And angry. And just... stumped.

Even now, I stare at this empty computer screen. Knowing. Knowing that I need to write about this in order to be able to move on. In order to process the pain. In order to honor my friend.

And yet, nothing comes out.

Because, as Siobhan says, there are no words.

The other day, I went to Target. I simultaneously bought two cards to celebrate the upcoming birth of my little brother's baby boy, and two sympathy cards.


Why am I standing in this aisle at Target, staring at sympathy cards? Sympathy cards, in their sea of light blue, and silver, and italics. Like any piece of paper can do a loss like this justice. Sympathy cards are the worst. How in the world can the writers at Hallmark know what to say any better than we do? How in the world do you comfort a mother, and a fiance who shouldn't be saying goodbye?

I bought two cards, anyway. I hate them. I hate this whole situation.

Tomorrow, Michael and I will get up early, and drive to Walter Reed to go to Derek's honor ceremony. I am just sick to my stomach thinking about it.

I can't imagine driving through that gate... without bringing a bunch of food for him and Krystina. Without laughing with them, and hanging out, sharing stories, and reading Derek's writing, and talking about politics.

I was standing in the kitchen last week when I got the text message from his mom that he had passed away. The no-words thing started then. I couldn't form words. I just walked into the living room, and handed Michael my phone. Within seconds, I was on my knees on the floor, my head in Michael's lap, crying. He stroked my hair. He wrote text messages I couldn't, and he was so strong for me.

I called my mom, and we wept. I called my sister. Michael called my dad.
I knew I had to get a hold of my brother, who is overseas.

I had to go to work that night. I didn't even bother with make-up.
I remember sitting in my SUV in the driveway, seeing the garage door close on the van that Derek and Krystina gave us.

I'll never forget that day I was in my hotel room in Salt Lake City, and my phone rang and it was Derek, telling us they were going to give us the van. What an unbelievable, life-changing blessing it has been in our lives.

The song playing on the radio as I drove to work that night went something like: "You make all things work together for my good," it was that song "Your Love Never Fails."

Songs like this in times like this are tough. Because sometimes, no matter how deep and strong your faith is, it's SO HARD to believe, because things like this are not okay!

It's not okay that Derek, a healthy, strong, young man stepped on two IEDs in Afghanistan, was blown up, went through SO MUCH to fight to keep his life, only to lose it out of nowhere.

It's not okay that a week ago, Krystina was planning her dream wedding, and now she is canceling everything, and saying goodbye.

It's not okay that Siobhan has lost so much, her life, her job - getting Derek to where he was, and now next week, she will be handed a folded flag.

It's not okay that Jessica Allen has to tell her two little girls that Derek is gone.

It's not okay that I have to tell my brother that his Army brother is gone.

It's not okay that I will know this name when it pops up in my work email inbox as a DOD casualty notification.

It's not okay for Derek. It's not okay for any of these young men and women. It's not okay for their families and their friends and the medical teams that work so tirelessly to save them, and their military brothers and sisters that they serve with.

It's not okay!

This sucks!

And I do have faith. I do. I do believe that Derek is whole now, is not hurting, and is at peace. I do believe that all things work together for good in the end. But right now, it doesn't feel good. Right now, it's not okay.

And I don't know when it will be okay.

I know this.
I am changed for knowing Derek. And Krystina and Siobhan.
I am changed, for the better.

I know that for the wounded, the fight never ends.
I want to always be a part of the healing.
And I challenge you to be a part of it, too.

We have to take care of our warriors, you guys! We MUST.


Heather said...

I am in tears reading this. I have been struggling with this myself the past week, and I know it has to be 10 times harder since you two have spent so much time with them.

Praying for peace for all of us. And a passion for all of us to help the wounded!

J said...

Keep your head up girl! I'm deeply sorry for this tragedy ! I myself am coping with the fact that my beloved math teacher is in the ICU right now on live support. I really admire you and your blog!!
- high school student from Canada

Kate said...

Praying for you during this difficult time, Dana. I wish I could be there to give you a hug. Loss is so hard...I know because I have been there. Cling to the Lord and you will find comfort in Him (Psalm 94:18-19). He knows exactly how you are feeling because He went through it during His time on earth. Thank you for all you did for Derek and his family -- our families need more supporters like you and Michael -- and I know you will continue to support them in the difficult days to come.

In Christ,

ConnieJ Owens said...

We have never met Dana,I live in Indianapolis, In. but I followed Derek, Krystina and Siobhan from the beginning along with other wounded warriors. This one is just hard ! he had come so far and now this. I watched the video when they gave you two the van and I cried along with all of you. I cannot wrap my head around this, and can only imagine your pain. I pray for the family and for everyone that Derek touched. You brought them wonderful home cooked food and you have your plate full, but still made time for this family.I think you and Michael are wonderful people. God Bless you ! Connie Owens ( A little grandma from Indianapolis, In). xo

Unknown said...

Hi, i don't know you, not even sure how I found this blog but I wanted to give you a virtual hug. I'm so sorry for your loss. Its not okay...

Unknown said...

Hi, i don't know you, not even sure how I found this blog but I wanted to give you a virtual hug. I'm so sorry for your loss. Its not okay...

Jeanne said...

Hi Dana, I haven't been here for a while. I watched your special on VH1 and loved it. So, I thought I would check out what I have missed here on your blog. This writing about Derek is so heartbreaking. You write so well and I feel your love, pain, sadness and more. I am sorry for your loss. Please continue to write - you have great ability to express your words that make me and others feel like we are right by your side!!! And we are---just from afar.