One of the highlights of my recent trip to Oahu has nothing to do with the sun we soaked up on the sandy beaches, or the many beautiful sights we partook of. Strangely enough, it had to do with meeting a young mother of two small boys. It was also one of those instances where we realized, yet again, what a small world it truly is. But meeting this particular woman, had a great impact on me and my husband. And she will forever be in our prayers, as well as the other many individuals out there who are now living the same life she is, who are dealing with the same cards that have been dealt to them.
It was our last night in Oahu, the boys were swimming in the pool, which was about to close. As we were about to leave, this young lady and her two boys were entering the pool. My husband, the social bug that he is, introduced himself and asked where she was from. She replied, Northern, UT. We said we had lived there too, and told her where. John then mentioned that he had a friend that lived in Logan, UT, he said his name, and this gal, whose name is Amy, was so excited, because she knew exactly who he was. Small world, huh? Two people meeting on the island of Oahu, know the same person way back in Logan, UT. Somehow, at the beginning of their conversation, Amy mentioned that her husband died in Iraq 3 years ago. My heart sunk. I saw those two boys, now aged 9 and 7, and this young mother, now a widow. The boys were 6 and 4 when their father died, oh so young. Their father had died the day after one of the son's birthday's.
We proceeded to express our condolences, but what can you really say? There are not enough words to express how you feel at such a terrible circumstance. However, Amy possessed such a terrific attitude and was by no means uncomfortable speaking about her wonderful husband who she still dearly loves, and mentioned that he is a daily part of their sons live's still. This would have been their 10 year anniversary, where they would have spent it. I'm so glad she still came and shared it with her boys.
Her husband was a 5th grade school teacher, and decided that he wanted to serve his country. He joined the services ( I cannot remember what branch, either Army or Marines) in January of 2008, and was killed in Iraq February 2009. He had a safe, comfortable life in Northern, UT, but felt impressed that good men and women should join the military and serve their country, and he knew he was one of those men. He made the ultimate sacrifice. What a hero. What a truly wonderful example for his boys to look up to and strive to be like.
Amy told us that while she and one of her sons were swimming in the ocean that evening, that her son told her, "Mom, I bet daddy is looking at us right now and is happy we are here." She replied by telling him, "I know he is happy we are here."
I finished reading the book, "Lone Survivor" by Marcus Lutrell, while in Oahu, before I met Amy. What an amazing story of the Navy Seals, the commitment they make, the training they go through to be who they are, and endure what comes upon them. I came away feeling so much more respect for ANYONE that serves our country. We truly do not fully grasp all that they go through to protect our freedoms. They are to be revered, and not mocked.
Although we only spoke with Amy for about a total of 20-30 minutes, I felt like I learned a great life lesson. Her attitude about her current situation was so positive. She was so patient with her boys, who seemed very well behaved anyway. She spoke of her husband in the present tense. She knows she will see him again someday; THAT she is sure of. She had a smile on her face the whole time we spoke. I could tell she knows who she is, and she knows where she is going. Are there hard times for her? I'm sure there are. But her countenance showed me that she is a stalwart woman, determined to make the best out of a horrible situation, and to teach her boys that you CAN get through anything that life throws at you.
I wish we had met her at the beginning of our trip, but I am so grateful that we did indeed get to meet her. She is an example to me that we can endure the trials of life WITH a positive attitude. We lost our first our baby, I know what that kind of pain feels like. But I did not lose my spouse, who I want to grow old with, who I want to help me raise my children. It's a different kind of loss, so I cannot understand what she is going through. But just knowing her now, and having had that little time spent with her, has changed my attitude about life, and trials and tribulations we encounter.
Thank you, Amy, for being who you are, for being a shining example to me. May God ever bless you and your boys. And I thank your husband, for his service to our country. I hope we are all grateful for these men and women who sacrifice so much, and sometimes don't get to come home to THEIR children and spouse.