I packed up Chads things for the first time. It was the first time I moved his toothbrush and razor. The first time to take down his clothes in the closet, and the clothes in his drawers, completely untouched since the day he left for Afghanistan. I sold the bed frame and furniture we shared together. I think the hardest part was packing up my husbands things while the rest of his Battalion was coming home to their families. And only after a few days in my new place was his first birthday in heaven, and also his memorial service on base. The mix of emotions I felt during this time is unexplainable. And to this day, when I'm not quite feeling "at home," I drive back to our apartment. Unfortunately, the haunting feeling of getting notified at that apartment door hits me. It got to the point where I couldn't stand the sound of someone knocking at my door. If I was expecting someone, I always asked them to just walk in. As much as I loved the memories I shared with Chad there, that was the place my life was changed forever. And even when I was shopping for my new place, I always looked for a doorbell. It's just a silly sound, but hearing that strange knock on my door December 1st forever made me a doorbell person. To this day I still don't understand why I didn't even bother to look through the peephole in my door to see who was on the other side. I would've never answered it.
The whole point of this entry is that I am moving again. This time into a house I'm renting. And it wasn't until I started packing that the reminder of my last move was during such a completely different place in my life. I'm not moving to runaway this time. I'm moving because I'm happy with the person I am with now, and I want to share a new life with him. It also wasn't until I started reading really old letters from Chad, that I knew he was happy for me. At that exact moment, I could feel him looking down on me and smiling. This is what I deserve, and I fully believe Chad thinks so too. Strange knocks on the door no longer make my stomach churn. And just because my closet doesn't have Chads clothes hanging next to mine, doesn't mean he's not here. I can simply look at the stars and know he's there.
While reading a letter I found in the middle of packing, one thing in particular hit home. "No matter where I am, what I'm doing, or how long it's been, my love for you will never change." Oh my, can you imagine the instant tears streaming down my face! He wrote that letter to me before we were even married. It's the little reminders like that, that prove he's still with me no matter where I am.
Thank you Chad. Thank you for taking me on this journey. Thank you for keeping faith in me when I didn't think I would wake up the next morning. Thank you for showing me happiness again and that everything WILL be ok. Because even when I didn't have anyone else by my side, I had you in spirit. I love you unconditionally, and thank you for reminding me that you will always love me the same. No matter what, when, or where.