Last Day

August 31, 2016

Today is Sam’s last day as an active duty soldier.

It’s been a heck of a nearly six years since we started this journey in December of 2010. I remember him looking wistfully at the USO calendar we received in the mail, and wondering what was going through his mind. We’d already done that. He’d spent four years in the Marines and been deployed most of it. Our wedding was over a 10 day leave from his 18 months in Okinawa. I worried myself sick when he was in Iraq, changing my answering machine anytime I left to tell him how he could reach me if that day happened to be the rare phone call. Saving each letter and wondering if he was still ok since it took weeks to get to me. Sending care packages and counting down the days till he came home.

When he got out of the Marines a few months after returning, I breathed a sigh of relief and my nearly 22-year-old self figured that was the end of that.

Now he really is done. He’s rated 100% disabled by both the military and social security for combat PTSD and other physical reasons. He put on his boots and uniform for the last time today, all his gear turned in and his papers signed, kissed me goodbye and went to close this chapter of our lives.

Sam Retirement

In a way, it’ll stay the same. Because he’s retired, we’re able to have access to almost everything we did as active duty. He’ll be paid through the VA and social security. We’ll have a few rough months trying to figure out what pay comes when, but it’ll happen. Our benefits stay about the same – just paying a bit more out-of-pocket now.

He’s been home so often over the past two years as this process drug out, that the stay at home part isn’t a huge adjustment anymore. He still has appointments and therapy, as do I, and every so often I head out to write and do my school work while he’s with the girls. We have plans to start hiking and camping, and saving up money once we get into our home (which is so much cheaper than renting) to travel all over. One of our biggest desires in our marriage has been to travel with the girls together. Now we get that chance.

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I’m so thankful for his service and dedication to America and to us. I wrote on FB that he’s my hero, and it’s true. He’s been through a lot in his life, handed things no one should have to cope with, and he’s still here. Still trying and doing his best. This isn’t an easy road for either of us, still, and yet there’s no one else I’d rather do it with. I love him.

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Let the new adventures begin. 🙂

 

31 Comments

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    September 2, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    […] for three weeks. It came after months of up and down emotions while he struggled to cope with being out of the military and being at home. His PTSD, TBI, depression, anxiety, pain, and trauma from Iraq, our sons, and […]

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    August 19, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    […] was medically retired from the military last September. He’s rated as 100% disabled with PTSD alone, and a whole list of other issues […]

  • Erika

    September 2, 2016 at 8:11 am

    <3 You are both so strong and so brave and your family will always be in my prayers. This new journey will undoubtedly take you and your sweet family on beautiful adventures. I'm so happy you're going to have time to travel and bond and heal as a family.

  • thismommywrites

    September 1, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Thank you to your husband for all he has done for our country and I wish him all the best in the new adventures ahead of him! Thank you for always sharing your truth with such grace- even in the worst of times. I have been able to relate to some of your pain and you have such an eloquent way with words. I love watching your girls grow up and look forward to reading more of all the good that lies ahead! Erin
    PS I had to contain myself from responding the evil response up above. Your beautiful post deserves more love than hate!

    1. Diana

      September 6, 2016 at 8:53 pm

      This was a beautiful comment – thank you.

  • Tricia

    September 1, 2016 at 11:18 am

    To Sam – thank you for what you have given our country. My condolences on what such service has taken from you.
    To Diana – your story touches so many. Thank you for continuing to speak and share amid the chaos of daily life.

    1. Diana

      September 6, 2016 at 8:52 pm

      Thank you Tricia <3

  • Megan

    September 1, 2016 at 3:30 am

    Thank you for your service, Sam! Sending love to all of you, Diana, as you embark on this wonderful new journey together. ❤️

  • Megan @ tales from the salle de classe

    August 31, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    People who rely on keyboard courage to be cruel to others (including newly retired VETERANS?) are so bizarre to me…

  • Alisha

    August 31, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    My heart swelled with pride for Sam and you as I read this. It takes a special type of man to be a Marine, and an even tougher woman to be a Marine’s wife. I am so grateful to people like you guys that make our country go round, and defend our families and keep us safe. Your husband’s service is invaluable and my family and I are beyond grateful. May you guys have many years of happy times and fun travels with the girls! ?

    1. Diana

      September 6, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      Thank you friend. I hope we will! It’ll take some time but even just seeing things around us would be wonderful. It feels like we’ve been in a bubble for so long here.

  • Kathy

    August 31, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Thank you for having the courage to share your story. Also, I thank your husband for his service and your family for the sacrifices that come with that service. This country owes your family and husband so much more than it can ever or will ever give. Just know there are many of us who are beyond grateful to sit comfortably at home, aware that we have the luxury of commenting on posts, knowing there are people who put humanity first and defend our freedoms. Unfortunately there will always be hateful people in the world. I don’t let their hate or words fill my heart, please don’t let them in yours. People like that just make me more determined to raise my children to be kind and empathetic.

  • Amy

    August 31, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    I can’t even imagine the things that these men and women go through while they are fighting for us. I can’t imagine the life you’ve had to live as you prayed every day for his safety. Praying for you both as you transition and heal from the PTSD and effects. Thank you for allowing this window into something that few talk about.

  • Jen Swedhin

    August 31, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Congratulations! This is an exciting new direction for all of you. And Sam, thank you so much for your service. <3

    1. Diana

      August 31, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      Thank you friend <3

  • Beth hardy

    August 31, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Oh boy! You can start living in your government and tax payer funded house and traveling on the government’s and tax payers’ dimes as well! Nice!

    So much of your life is literally from the good graces of people who pity you. You wouldn’t have nearly as many readers or perks or anything if people didn’t feel sorry for you. I guess two peas in a pod to have your husband joining you in making a living off people feeling sorry for you. People who are willing to make a public spectacle of their grief for money are so bizarre to me.

    1. Diana

      August 31, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      What a cruel thing to write. You may not like my life or how I’ve handled things, but I’m so very glad I don’t have yours. If you’ve never had anyone feel pity for you, here’s at least one.

      1. Nicole

        August 31, 2016 at 6:19 pm

        Hey Beth (doubt that’s your real name), why don’t you take your “my parents didn’t give me any attention because I was a pain in the ass as a child so now I spend my days trolling blogs and leaving bitchy, horrible comments in hopes of making myself feel better” crap someplace else? Like GOMI. Leave this blog for people that want to share in Diana’s excitement over Sam’s HARD EARNED retirement.
        OH, and I almost forgot…???

    2. Hope

      August 31, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      Get off this page and go bully someone else. What a said and pitiful life you must have. I hope you learn to find happiness and kindness.

    3. Lisa

      August 31, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      And people like you, who lash out at others while bravely hiding behind their computer screens,are so bizarre to me. What a shame that you felt the need to come here and strike out at Diana and Sam. You think they are pitied by her readers? No, you are the one who deserves pity. I say “thank you” to Diana for sharing the pain and fear and doubt that she has experienced so that others can benefit from her struggle, rather than stuffing the emotions inside (like you have, perhaps?) and becoming a bitter shell of a person.

    4. Nicole

      August 31, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      Why would you take your time to write that? The world is a much better place when approached with kindness. It seems you are out to hurt people. Shame on you.

    5. Tami

      August 31, 2016 at 3:34 pm

      That comment is ignorant, unappreciative and beyond rude. I pity you Ms. Hardy.

      Diana – New adventures can be exciting and scary. Wishing the best for you and your family.

    6. Ashley Gurski

      August 31, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      HOW DARE YOU. you are a coward. It takes someone really freakinng stupid & weak to hide behind a computer screen & lash out at others. But hey! You have freedom to do & write whatever you want because of, well, freedom! That Sam (and millions of others) fight to keep for you. But, you’d have to have half a brain cell to understand that & that is apparently asking way too much of you. I pity your ignorance. COWARD.

    7. Aly

      August 31, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      Beth Hardy you are a coward and I bet you would never say these things to anyone’s face but you can hide behind a computer screen and type them. Well done. There are some horrible things I’d like to say and do to you but I won’t stoop to your level. Don’t ever comment on things you know nothing about ever again.

      1. Sami

        August 31, 2016 at 4:32 pm

        Wow. I can’t believe people can actually be that mean. I’m sorry Diana. Good luck to both you and Sam.

        1. Diana

          September 6, 2016 at 8:56 pm

          Thank you friend <3

    8. Lori Ennis

      August 31, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      You know what’s REALLY bizarre???? Voyeurs who creep and stalk other people’s lives. And then have the audacity and gall to write about it like the ones bravely sharing their lives are the weird ones. You, Ms. Hardy, are a hypocritical, judgemental non-patriot and if it wasn’t for the FREEDOM Diana’s husband (and mine, by the way, for the last 20 years and several tours in war!) FOUGHT for giving you that protection to write such trash…I’m not sure what you might do with your time.

      My guess is you and your seven hundred cats would just have to figure it out.
      Oh, am I being judgemental?

      You should be ashamed of yourself.

    9. Susie Freed

      September 1, 2016 at 10:57 am

      Wow Beth ( I sincerely doubt that is your real name) you are one mean spirited person. Thank God I’m not like you!! Crawl back under the rock you came from! Diana— I wish you and your family all the love and support! Thank your awesome husband for his service!! It’s selfless men/women like him who enable us all to live freely ( and make hurtful comments).

    10. Katherine Bagley

      September 1, 2016 at 11:03 am

      What a better place this world would be if we all spoke from love and kindness.

      Galatians 5:16-26

    11. Emily Gabrielle

      September 5, 2016 at 8:08 am

      How dare you. How DARE you say something so awful to the woman who has helped me through so much and to a man who has put his life on the line numerous times to protect your freedom. You may not like the military but you do owe our soldiers respect. They give up literally everything for us, including people who say awful things like yourself. This family means so much to me. They don’t know me, I have never met them, but I have followed their journey for years and their grief helped me through my own as I followed them down the path of loss. I could go on and on but I won’t, because you clearly don’t have the mental capacity to listen.

    12. larissa

      September 5, 2016 at 1:56 pm

      Beth, even if what you say is true and she is making money off of exploiting her grief, the fact is she did go through those experiences. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to go through what she went through for all the money in the world. My guess is there is a little jealousy in your comment. Yes it would be nice to travel like that, but in my opinion they earned it. The old saying “if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all,” still stands…..it also applies to writing.

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