Semper Fi

‘It can’t be him. My life can’t go on without him.’ It was 10 days before his return from deployment.’: Marine wife mourns fallen hero fiancé on what would’ve been their wedding day, ‘I will stay strong for you, carry on your legacy’

“I remember every text I sent him that day, with no reply. I’ll never forget the terrible gut feeling I had when I found out 3 American soldiers had been killed. It was windy and the trees were blowing, as if Ben was giving me a sign. ‘It can’t be him, it’s finally our turn.’ I remember trying to go to sleep that night, but was tossing and turning. And then came the pounding on the door at 1 a.m.”

‘I told her, ‘I’m looking for a ‘suit.’ He’s an ex-felon, an addict, covered in ink, going through a divorce, currently unemployed. Yeah, No!’ We married just 3 months later.’

“I clicked into his profile. ‘Hi.’ His response was, ‘Who is this?’ He would disappear for long periods of time – sometimes years – and no one knew if he was alive or dead. Just 6 days after meeting him, I was on pins and needles. I finally called. When he answered, I could hear the difference in his voice. I’m telling you, he was magic.”

‘He didn’t show up to work.’ My stomach dropped. I hadn’t spoken to my husband in 48 hours.’: Marine spouse’s husband dies ‘in his sleep,’ urges us to ‘never take a second for granted’

“As my teaching day ended, I heard my phone ding. I looked down to read a message offering condolences to my family, referring to my husband in past tense. I burst into tears. I remember saying over and over, ‘What does this mean? He is just missing. He isn’t gone.’ I realized I needed to get home. I needed to be with my daughter.”

‘He’d hit me in his sleep, blackout while driving on the highway and scream. ‘If you don’t get help, I’ll take our baby and leave.’: Woman’s husband suffers from PTSD, traumatic brain injury post-military, ‘never gives up’ on their love

“After the military, he slowed down to a ‘desk’ job. His brain would wander and he’d start having flashbacks. He was trying to find his place in the world, but couldn’t. What they don’t tell you about being the wife of someone with PTSD is that it’s like losing the person you fell in love with, and not being able to mourn. That person is gone. The mistake I made so much in the beginning was trying to force him to be who he was instead of just loving who he is.”

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