We found out that a close friend of ours had been killed in Afghanistan the beginning part of April. I contemplated even posting about it especially since I have become a little bit more selective about what I put online since moving back to the states. However, I felt that I can’t just keep writing about “fitness” or “diet” (really such trivial issues compared to losing one’s life fighting for our country) without mentioning it briefly on my blog.
Nick worked with my husband in Tucson when we lived there 8 years ago. His family literally lived 5 minutes down a dirt road from us in Vail, AZ, and we were at their house easily 1-2 times a week while we lived there. He had an incredibly infectious smile and seemed to get out of sticky predicaments with ease. He was the best story teller and made everyone feel like they were a part of his family the second they walked into his house. He left behind a beautiful wife and two teenage daughters. He had served his country in the Air Force for over 20 years.
For those of you who have been reading my blog for a few years, you may have picked up that my husband is in the Air Force. I haven’t wanted to mention this before but I felt like it was relevant to this post. My husband is a member of a elite special forces career field within the Air Force. With this comes more risk of death than many other career fields within the military. It is a very small career field because of the very high failure rate to get into the program (above 90%). This means, we all tend to find out right away when someone has been killed. Over the last few years we have lost a lot of people.
Until the memorial service, it just didn’t seem real that he was gone. The second the memorial service started I fell apart. I was crying for Nick’s family and the massive hole that was now in their hearts. He was such a great guy. We were driving around Tucson the day after the memorial, and Steve and I had to keep reminding ourselves that Nick was gone, and we couldn’t just stop by his house to say “hi” to him anymore.
When I found out the news about his death earlier this month I was devastated for his family. I also have to admit that I was relieved it wasn’t my husband. I wasn’t alone either. Other spouses shared those same thoughts with me. This is not an easy career field to be married to. My husband is gone a lot especially when we are stationed at an operational squadron, and the risk of him dying is pretty high whether his is working in the states or out. This is not make belief or a fairytale. This our life. This is military life. People die. Often. My husband and I have been together for almost 9 years now, and I have to say that I do not take him for granted nearly as much as I may have when we started dating.
However, he loves what he does, and so do most of the people that he works with. They put their lives on the line to save others. They are painfully aware of the risks they put themselves at every day. I’m proud of what my husband does. I’m proud to serve my country as a supportive military spouse. There are definite cons to being married to a guy in this career field, but you can’t help who you fall in love with, and the benefits far outweigh the cons in my opinion. I know Nick’s wife thinks the same way.
Nick, we miss you, buddy. We miss your big smile. We miss your larger than life stories. I know you won’t admit it, but you are a hero. We are proud to be your friends. You don’t have to worry about your family, because this is such a tight knit community. We will take care of them. As you could probably tell from looking over us this weekend, we honored you by having a great time catching up with some old friends and drinking your signature drink, crown and coke. You left behind a legacy that your family is proud of. We love you!