Well, it’s Wednesday so it’s time to add to our collaborative community story.
We’re following a flashback of our main character, Samantha. The story thus far is on the blog under “Story.”
Here’s where we left off.
Dr. Walker gave us six months. I got 16 days …
I don’t remember much about the calling hours or funeral. I remember keeping my children close under my wing as we greeted an endless line of visitors, but I couldn’t tell you who they were or what they said. I was surprised by the number of people who showed up to pay their respects to Captain Watt … military and civilian. He touched so many lives.
But there he was, decked in his dress uniform, surreally sleeping in his high gloss red cherry casket on almond velvet sheets. An honor guard stood at the corners, watching over my fallen hero.
Pastor Rick officiated and eulogized Chad. I can’t remember all he said, but I do remember him saying a person’s life is like the residue left after drinking a glass of milk. You really have to scrub it to remove its effect. Otherwise it just stays on the glass. Even just a quick rinse can’t remove it. I don’t remember where he was going with the analogy, but it did resonate with me. Chad’s “milk” left its mark on the world.
At the cemetery, all I could do was stare at that flag-draped casket. I don’t know whether I was squeezing JR’s and Kate-D’s hands or they were squeezing mine. The three of us accepted his folded flag and, even though I had been to many military funerals, the staccato of rifle volleys stunned me to my core. Maybe it was the sudden sound amid the eerie silence. The parents took the kids while I just sat there for like what seemed forever, not wanting to leave. The casket took on strange shapes and hues through the lens of teared-up eyes. Dad had to come back from the car to get me. I completely broke down in his arms.
I was still in a fog at home, politely greeting friends but wanting to be anywhere but there. The parents stayed for about a week and we decided to let the kids go back with them. We figured the grandparents could keep them occupied while I went through the mundane chores of widowhood. I’m still not sure if that was the right decision … for the kids or myself.
I wasn’t sleeping well. Okay, I hardly slept at all. I wasn’t eating right. It was too much trouble cooking for one, even going to the well-stocked freezer for something quick and easy. I broke down at the silence in the house. I couldn’t watch the television shows Chad and I watched together. My first trip to the PX ended three steps inside the door. I just couldn’t go on. There were forms to be filled out, simple forms that took hours to complete. I really had to focus to make sure the check for the electric company actually went into the envelope for the electric company. I started crying every time I wrote a check that still had Chad’s name atop mine and I started crying every time I went to the mailbox and found mail addressed to both of us. I started crying whenever anything triggered a memory … and almost everything did …
There you go, readers. What’s next?
All you have to do is put down your thoughts and get them to me. You can post your ideas as comments on the blog – but remember everyone will see them, so the “surprise” factor might get lost – or you can e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each Wednesday I will continue the story on the blog, along with that week’s attribution and periodically update Reveille/Between the Lakes readers. The complete story thus far is available on the blog under “Story.”
I hope we can have some fun with this.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: When truth stands in your way, you can be sure you are headed in the wrong direction.