Quick update on life:
So I realized that I am not a consistent blogger…yet! Hopefully some day I will get to a point where I’ll make time to do it more often and consistently. Until then, I apologize in advance for the sporadic entries. Quick update since April’s entry on my Hubby’s Bells Palsy: Thankfully after much prayers and time, Chris was finally healed of Bell’s Palsy after 6 weeks. It was a strange thing and even after many cases and research, still is not really known as to why or how it comes and goes. But thankfully my babes smile is back to normal!
May was a busy month of my girls end of the school year, June was the time my parents, uncle and brother were able to make it to Hawaii for the first time! It was so good to see my parents actually take a vacation and RELAX! I only wish they had more time and resources to do it more often! My baby bro and uncle fit right in and I think overall everyone had a fun-filled week! July my sister law came back to visit for a week and was able to spend good quality time with us!
August came and just like that summer was over and school started up again! Now, I have one second grader and one almost Kindergartener! I say almost because she did not make the Kindergarten cutoff for Hawaii’s school year of July 31st. My baby girl turned five on August.21st of this year so we must wait another year before Kindergarten. Although it was a tough decision, I decided to use this opportunity to spend a little more time with my baby and Homeschool to fill in the year gap. By next year, she WILL be the smartest little Kindergartener because her English Teacher Momma taught her the basics!
And…that brings me up to date on my life currently! Maybe one day I will be able to share more adventures of my life, but for now I am just trying to find the balance. I am balancing being mommy with kids in school, juggling activities for the kids like gymnastics, soccer and Hula, working my skincare business with Rodan + Fields, making time for my marriage with my Army pilot, also while attempting to squeeze in some gym time for myself and grow spiritually serving at my church and seeking God for my “mission” and vision and purpose that He has for my life.
Heavy hearted August
So I felt the need to write now since there has been a lot of events recently going on that has left me very heavy-hearted! Between what has gone on in my life personally and what is going on in our world today, I think a lot of news I received in the last few weeks left me feeling heavy-hearted and in desperate need to reflect and focus on the things and the people who were most important in my life. In the beginning of the month, I received some news that hit too close to home. My sister and brother in law’s dear friend was riding his motorcycle home on a Saturday evening, when a drunk driver hit him, killing him instantly! The news struck me hard because I remember meeting their friend, Michael, before we moved out here to Hawaii! Michael was fun-loving! I simply remember how happy he was to get a “To Go plate” full of authentic Filipino food from one of my mom’s feasts! My mom was throwing a “going away” party for me and my family since we were due to PCS to Hawaii last summer. To hear a year later that he was killed on his motorcycle by a drunk driver, it left my heart heavy for those he left behind.
Anytime I hear about a motorcycle accident, it always brings to mind all the family members that ride; my uncle, my brother, my husband. I was actually thinking of picking up riding again. I remember reflecting on the news as my family and I were driving back from North Shore, Oahu after a nice family dinner. As I looked up at the mountains and the sunset over Kaena point, I reflected on how life really is short and in any moment our life could be cut short. We could die in any number of scenarios, but upon hearing the news of the motorcycle accident, had Chris even wondering if the motorcycle was worth riding much anymore!
It wasn’t but a few days later that we were told of another tragedy that hit too close to “home”. On Tuesday night, August 14th, a Blackhawk went down off the coast of Kaena Point, North Shore. We were notified of the crash early morning Wednesday around 4:45am! I remember my husband getting up out of bed to answer the phone. He walked out of the room and five minutes later crawled back into bed only to roll over and grab me close for a hug. He quietly said, “There was a Blackhawk crash off North Shore last night. Five crew members from A Co are missing.” Instantly my heart sank as my first thoughts went immediately to the crew members families.
The Army Aviation community is small and I have found that in the years since my husband went through flight school, the friendships I’ve made with some of aviator spouses are very special and close-knit! We all understand the military life and we know the risks our aviators go through daily. My husband is a Blackhawk pilot. Night flights are common and part of their regular flight and training missions. We all pray for our husbands safe return, but most times do not think of what would happen in the case of an event such as this.
The rest of the morning unfolded as we heard names of the crew that flew that night. As I got up, got ready for the morning and sipped my first cup of coffee, I couldn’t help but think of the spouses and their children. I instantly put myself in their shoes and wondered what they must be feeling, and with those thoughts, I cried for the families loss. Another piece of news that just hit too close to home that I just went into reflection mode again, thinking how life can truly be taken in an instant. Of course we believe in God and we know that this world is not permanent, but it is always a quick reminder that life is not guaranteed.
Hawaii is a six hours in time difference from East Coast and news had already hit mainland new channels. My phone and Chris’s phone were bombarded with texts and phone calls from family and friends, desperate to hear if my Blackhawk pilot was ok and safe. The next few hours of that morning were emotional for everyone as I texted friends and checked in while watching the local news coverage on the crash site and the search efforts being made to find the missing crew members who crashed in the vast ocean off North Shore. As more news uncovered the search over the course of the few days, I spent my days hugging my pilot and my children.
The “in case of an event” talk
With all of the recent news and events and because my husband was already scheduled to leave within the following week for more training, he felt it necessary to have the “in case of an event” talk with me. Chris has been through five deployments in his Army career. In three out of the five deployments, we’ve had to prepare with a Power of Attorney ready and have the “talk” before he left. I have NEVER liked doing them, but I know they are necessary. A lot of times, I end up with a lump in my throat as my husband and I talk about where the money would go, what should be set aside for our children, etc. In this case, we had the talk before he headed out for training. It weighed so much more on my heart.
Candle Light vigil and Memorial Service:
After a candlelight vigil and a week of tireless searching efforts from everyone (all branches and services), unfortunately the five crew members were declared deceased. The Memorial service took place this morning at one of the hangers on Wheeler Army Airfield. I wore my pilot wings necklace that were given to me by my pilot years ago after graduating flight school. I wore them to show my support and to grieve alongside our Aviation Ohana today. As I took my youngest daughter with me and sat among the Aviation companies and my fellow aviator friends, my heart broke upon seeing the pictures of the crew members and pilots and then seeing their spouses, children, and extended family.
A Blackhawk, just like the one that crashed, was parked in the hanger off to the side of the display of the pilot and crew members boots and helmets in honor. As I sat in the hot hanger, I looked around at the sea of uniforms. Even though my hubby was not there, I wanted to show my support. Chris’s company did their own memorial service this morning from where they were training.
The ceremony was beautifully done as other friends and co workers each came up to share a memory of the crew. It was emotionally tough for everyone. There were lots of moments when I would look over at the families and when others spoke about them, I could see the families tears. I broke down a few times myself. Thank goodness for the box of tissues nearby. We all needed them. Once they played the song Taps, I broke down again.
My Grandpa’s served proudly, one in the Navy and one in the Army. When they passed, they were given the full military ceremony and buried in a Veteran’s memorial. When Taps played, it always brought me to tears. So to hear it played today for the five crew members, my heart just broke.
Text Message to me from Hubby
Half way through the service I received a text message from my Husband. Chris texted a simple text that read, “I love you…..and I WILL see you girls again in three weeks” It amazes me the strength we spouses have being married to military. This life is NOT easy, yet we do it because we love our husbands. We support them, follow them wherever the Army sends them, pick up and move our household across states and oceans to a temporary house for a few years, knowing that soon we will pack up and do it all over again. We ask our children to be strong and do the same and start over. They sacrifice so much for us, the least I can do is support and reassure my husband that I love him back and will be waiting for his return.
The morning was definitely an emotional one. Although I did not know the families personally, my heart was with each and every one of them as they mourned their lost loved ones today. My heart broke several times along with them as I heard stories told of their loved one. And as I sat next to my five-year old, I was happy and amazed at how quiet she sat despite the heat. Her Daddy WILL be home soon.
I’ve been to a few Memorials over the years where others have displayed boots to honor fallen troops. The rows and rows of boots really showed how many paid the ultimate sacrifice over the years. A Boots Memorial was held here on Ford Island last year. Each boot had an attached tag displaying the fallen soldiers name, picture, unit they served with, and date of when or how they died. It broke my heart to watch my husband kneel every time he found another fallen comrade’s boots. He counted up to 8 fallen comrades he proudly served beside in his Infantry years.
My heart and prayers are with these fallen comrades and their families. It was a beautiful, emotional morning, but I was glad I could be there to support the fellow Aviation families.