Since April 10, 2011 not only my life changed but my body took a toll.... I can still remember the moment I received the phone call the day Jamie was shot, then the first time I would see him in the hospital. paralyzed from the chest down... I can still feel the shock that surged my body the first time he opened his eyes and screamed in agony.. I can remember every single moment of the eleven months I spent in the hospital with him, the moments we laughed, the moments we cried and the moments I just sat in a chair next to his bed giving thanks to God for letting him make it home to American soil.
For eleven long months my senses were heightened, not only did I have to care for myself, I had to care for my husband, my daughters and those around me... because it just came natural. My body constantly changed with out me even noticing and beyond my control.
The day Jamie died, my body once again changed.. this time my mind let it go numb and not feel pain. My body allowed my head to be held high knowing that my husband was willing to die for his country with honor. My body allowed me to smile when the sun shined, the wind blew and the rain fell from the heavens, knowing I was able to live a life denied to many. While my body enjoyed the sheer moments of heaven when the sun shined, my mind stayed in the last moments of Jamie's life lingering, hoping that if I worked hard enough, helped more and gave my life selflessly just like Jamie served his country, maybe he could come home from this deployment and I could wake up from this dream. Maybe I could right all the wrongs in our lives by stopping my life and giving hope to others who lost it.
Maybe, each day after Jamie took his last breath, my body died a little bit at a time and before I even knew it I was dead inside. Answering each call of distress from a wounded warrior, veteran or family members in a moments notice, watching as a little boy held his Iraqi Veteran father's hand while his dad laid in severe pain from depleted uranium, hearing the screams of a young wife begging her soldier not to take his life, looking into the eyes of a marine struggling with survivors guilt knowing he can't see me, consoling a wounded warrior's mother within hours of her receiving the heart wrenching phone call of her daughter being injured. Yea, you can say my body took a toll, but I made that decision to let it. At any time I could have walked away, I had the choice to make and I chose to stay.
I chose to accept the hardships, the struggles and help carry the burden.
I would make the same choice a thousands times over to serve, to help and to live my life the same way knowing that I can do something, no one ever did for Jamie and I .. I can choose to give hope. My body will heal, I am able to walk, talk, breathe and eat on my own.. there are many who can not do any of those let alone one of those. .
Tonight, I am in the comforts of my own home resting with family and friends healing after a day of successful surgery and I feel blessed.
There are no words to express the gratitude I have to each and everyone of you for your well wishes, love and ongoing support. It is because of you each day I am able to wake up knowing a difference can be made and a life can be changed. Isn't life a beautiful thing?
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.