It's been a whole year and a half since my world was completely turned upside down. Hell, I remember writing a post only 11 days after, in disbelief that I was still walking this planet. It's a bitter sweet feeling knowing I've made it this far.
I look back to a year ago this month and it feels like a whole lifetime ago. Chad's battalion got home from the deployment, and his memorial was on his birthday. I was at a place were I was angry and confused. Knowing he didn't come back with the guys felt like a giant slap in the face and a middle finger blurring my vision.
Dear 1 year ago self,
Don't let all the "critics" get to you. They have no fucking clue what is like to walk a day in your shoes. If you spend all that time letting people break you down, you'll find yourself picking up the pieces for the rest of your life. Whether what you're doing is right or wrong, they will always have an opinion. Don't waste your time. You'll soon learn they aren't worth it.
Slow down!! You don't have to have the whole world figured out yet! Take a step back and just be. Feel how good if feels to just be alive and to breathe. You will wake up in the morning to a brand new day.
Those first few nights crying alone in your new place, will become farther and fewer between. It wont sting as much, and believe it or not...one day you will actually prefer to cry alone. Picking up the phone rarely happens these nights. You have yourself to fall back on, and you'll learn what you need in that very moment to get through it. Even with that being said, it is still ok to fall back on others when you have those extra rough nights.
For the first time in your life you will accomplish something that makes you so proud of yourself. It will be hard and you will want to give up towards the end, but you'll stick it out anyways. One day you will have a well-earned diploma in your hand. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back for that one. :)
Last but not least, life has a way or working things out. You might not see it but there's a reason for everything. You will grow up so much after all of this. You will meet amazing people and people who, to put it bluntly, fuck you over. I know you're thinking, "How could anyone take advantage of a young widow?" Well hunny, don't be so naive, because they will if you let them. Just know that through the process you learn more about yourself and the world around you. Cherish the ones who do care. I know it's hard and scary, but trust me...you'd miss them if they were gone.