A few weeks ago, I received an email that I was nominated as Military Spouse of the year... immediately, I disqualified myself thinking a widow isn't a spouse... Then I reached out to someone on the MSOY committee to find out widows are able to be nominated because we are still considered spouses. That was news to my ears!!
Click this link to read about Military Spouse of the Year
I'm no longer a spouse, I am a widow. My husband doesn't come home anymore after a long days work, he doesn't leave his muddy boots at my front door, he doesn't hold me at night when I have a hard day and he just doesn't since the day he took his last breath on March 21, 2012.
Much to people's amazement, my husband is still able to move mountains, not physically but emotionally and spiritually.. He is able to do that through me as I carry on his wish & legacy. Each day he encourages me to open my eyes, look out the window to the sky and give thanks for the ability to live another day.. Another day I can make a difference and do something he is not able to do and that is live each day to its fullest. The classification of my ID card has changed from Spouse to Widow, but one thing remains the same, I represent my husband, honor his sacrifice and care for my military family as if he was right beside me each day.
Its been nearly two years since I last held Jamie's hand, looked into his eyes and kissed his lips, but yet it feels like it was just yesterday.. he taught me so much since we first met in 2008, he taught me about who I was meant to be and he did that by loving me unconditionally and never giving up on me. How many men do you know would wait for nearly six months for a first date? Well, I knew of one and I married him!
Not only did Jamie teach me about love for myself, but the greatest of love for our country. His dedication and loyalty to selflessly serving our nation and protecting the American soil in which I was able to walk freely on each day showed me what the true meaning of hero was.
Like so many thousands & millions of veterans around the world today who served, Jamie had no regrets. None what so ever. Even in the last few days of his life as he was asked if he regretted joining the Military, he had no hesitation when he answered "No, I do not have any regrets, given the choice to do it alll over again, I wouldn't change a thing, Ill take that bullet." Now as a military spouse watching your husband deploy is hard, having him miss dinners and school activities is hard.. but watching your husband die has to be one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. To know that as a Military Spouse, I have to put my selfish needs aside, yes, I said it, PUT MY SELFISH NEEDS ASIDE. This means when we first got the news of Jamie being terminal and I started to cry because I was scared to be alone, or afraid of not having him there each day, that was selfish and my husband never hesitated to tell me so. I remember it so clearly as I put my head on his bedside and cried uncontrollably, Jamie comforting me the best he could.. hearing his voice say "Let me know when you are done crying, we have work to do.." I looked up at him thinking what could we possibly do?
As I looked up at him with tears in my eyes, he asked me if I was dying? I took a moment to think about his question and I answered "No, Im not.. but you are!" Jamie did his crooked smile and he said " Just as I signed up to join the Military, you signed up to be my wife, I have no regrets about joining the Military, do you have any regrets about being my wife?" I told him "No, I have no regrets, I accept our path & Im sorry for being so selfish, I feel so guilty for putting "us" off for so many years to build my career and now our time is being shortened, we had so many plans Jame.. all I want is you!"
Looking into my eyes Jamie spoke the sweetest of words "You may not be able to see me all the time, but I promise you I will always be with you... no one cared about me when I deployed the first two deployments, when I came home you know how it was. Now this third deployment to Afghanistan, I take a bullet, our family copes and thousands of people know my name, know my family and honor my service. When I die, everyone will care, I know they will care because I know you, Melissa and you will care."
... And Jamie was right <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.