I was beyond honored to be the keynote speaker at the Veterans Administration hospital award ceremony for female veterans today! Not only was I able to meet each of these ladies, I was able the thank them for giving me the freedom today to stand proud as a female and honor them!
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-- Women who have fought for our nation or are currently serving received recognition.The Colmery-O'Neil VA Medical Center hosted a ceremony for Women's History month.
Melissa Jarboe, a veterans advocate who lost her husband Sergeant Jamie Jarboe in March 2012, was keynote speaker.
Women who fought in World War II and the Korean War were recognized for their character, courage and commitment.
In all, 33 women were honored, those who attended received a certificate of appreciation.
Today the girls and I relaxed at home and started watching the first Twilight, then the second ... The love story is so strong and compelling. It reminds me a lot of Jamie and I and the bond we had. I remember it often and at times I wonder if it jaded me a bit, not in a bad way but in the way of setting my standards so high it's hard for someone to reach them.
As I type this I think about the day the girls and I had today, would it be different if Jamie was here? The answer is no.. We would of all lounged in our pajamas and watched movies cuddled on the couch together.. Just enjoying the moment. When I think of anyone else taking that place it is still unimaginable to me, while I know at some point there may be that option, I just don't see it now.
At the start of the last Twilight my phone rang and I was reminded of a request made by the Kansas Koyotes for me to do the coin toss at today's game. It was nice to be welcomed and invited ... I appreciate it but all the work that goes into it is at times overwhelming. Organizing volunteers and then getting equipment ready. Making sure I have everything loading in my car and kids my girls good bye. Sure,it looks cool getting my photo on the field but do you understands what goes into the daily operations of a non profit? The work each day from not only me but hundreds of VOLUNTEERS daily.. I'm amazed and thankful to the people who have my back and understand the purpose, the pride and sacrifice that has gone into the Military Veteran Project. We all smile because we can <3
I learned through the death of my husband that we have been at war far too long, I have learned that people have forgotten. I learned that before my husband was wounded he felt like America didn't care. I learned how to care for my husband and I leaned protocol and military operations. Everything I learned wasn't luck it was survival it was what I had to do to keep my husband alive for our wedding anniversary or to hear lil Lexi read her first book..
I promote the positivity in my posts, my encouragement for others to never give up, just as I have nor will ever give up on carrying on Jamie's dying wish.. But something as a simple as a coin toss isn't luck.. It is a mere freedom denied to many and a freedom of going outside the safety of my home, driving on a road with our IEDS or bombs and waking into a public place and choosing the items I want to buy..Each day will come with a smile and an encouragement just know the reason I live each day because my husband can not and I will use my freedoms on American soil because I can..
And I will never forget the man who loved his country so much, he was willing to die for it and he did.
Today I flew home from Florida to be reunited with my gorgeous girls, we went to the flower shop and bought flowers for our hero.. the sun was shining, the birds were singing and we felt comfort surround us as we placed each flower on his grave site. Each day we smile, laugh and live because those are freedoms denied to many..
Always in our hearts
What is my secret you ask? My secret to triumphing after tragedy? First
and foremost, I put God first.. each day as a widow I wake up alone, I have
spent many of lonely nights in hotels traveling sharing my story, I have watch
the sunrise and sun set alone (physically). Each day I look forward to
another day and give thanks to God for allowing me to hurt and to
As cruel as it may sound to some, I have chosen to
surround myself with positive, encouraging people who will love me for who I am
and not judge me by who they want to be. There have been not just a few
people, but hundreds or thousands who have tried to give me a direction or their
two cents and that is great and well appreciated. But, realize this.
No matter how tragic your life or struggle may be, its nothing like mine.
Nor is mine like yours. We all have had a series of unfortunate events in
our life and that is the BEST part about life. When you are struck with
tragedy, you have been called upon to rise above the struggle, to triumph.
Jamie and I prepared for the worse case scenario before he deployed, he
sat me down and had me watch Restrepo, the hurt locker and other military movies
to prepare me for the worst. It wasn't until April 9,2011 when he called
me and I could hear the fear in his voice did I know this was real. Jamie
and I were able to talk for 2 hours that night about our life, our love and how
we should put God first. Jamie had told me each day was a struggle, they
were taking heat from the enemy and contact nearly every time they left the
wire, as his wife, I reminded him to close his eyes and remember our last kiss
and that we are as one, when he is weak I am strong. The next morning
while driving to work my phone rang with an out of area number thinking it was
Jamie, when I picked up the phone I heard a cold voice that was not my husband,
it was a man calling to tell me that Jamie was wounded and in
Right at that moment I could of
stopped and let my world shut down, I could have drove my car into a wall, I
could have chosen to not deal with this tragedy and walk away.. I could
have done many things but what I did do, was try to get control of my emotions,
I started taking deep breaths, thinking of Jamie and saying a prayer not for
strength for myself to get through this, I said a prayer and asked God to take
my strength and give it Jamie on the operating table, I asked God to give
everything I am to the man who help create me into the woman I become.
With in a few days Jamie was flowed to American soil and
placed in ICU at Walter Reed hospital, he was paralyzed from the chest down, not
able to eat, drink or breathe on his own. When he needed to walk, I walked
for him, when he needed to talk, I talked for him. Everything he couldn't
do I could and I did. Even at that point, Jamie and I chose to put God
first, we chose to only surround ourselves with people who were selfless,
encouraging and supportive to us in our time of need.
That was our secret, that is how we survived
for the last 11 months of my husbands life and how each day I wake up and move forward <3
My name is Melissa Jarboe, military spouse, wounded warrior wife and war widow. Today and everyday moving forward, I will honor the sacrifice of our men and women who selflessly serve our nation.