I could still remember the day you told me the news. I was so happy, not just because of the bundle of joy that would soon be a part of our lives, but also because I knew that you had wanted this for so long. I could still remember the look of pure jubilation on your face as you flew into my arms and told me the news. I remember the sound of the laughter that bubbled out of you as I swung you around in my arms sharing in your joy. I remember the tears that formed little pathways down your cheeks and their saltiness as I kissed them away. I remember the light that shone in your honey eyes as we sat entwined and talked of baby toys and names.
I could still remember holding you in my arms as you threw up everything that I tried to get you to eat. I remember how you laughed at my frustrated sighs when nothing I did made your morning sickness go away. I remember wiping your mouth gently and kissing your forehead as you straddled the toilet bowl. I remember the tears that rolled down my cheeks as I tried to make things better and could do nothing but watch. I remember your eyes staring into my soul as you told me that I was doing just great and that you were happy.
I could still remember the way we laughed at each other for being afraid to tell our parents. I remember the laughter and the challenge in your eyes as you all but dared me to call my mother and tell her. I remember the look of shock on your face as I picked up the phone and called her. And I remember laughing as I heard my mother drop the phone at the news, and at the screams that followed. I remember the sigh of relief in your mother’s voice as I told her the news because you were to scared, and conveniently too sick, to tell her your self. I remember the promises I had to make to your mother in order to get her not to fly up immediately just to make sure you were okay. I remember the tears in her voice as I told her that I would take care of you and her grandchild no matter what.
I remember the glow that seemed to come from you as the baby grew within you. I remember the laughter in your eyes as you looked at me watching you eat the weirdest food combinations, and I remember laughing at you when you actually sat and thought about it afterwards. I remember sitting and holding you as you rested, I remember reading to you and just enjoying the feel of being nestled in such love.
I remember the happiness that crept into your eyes as you found out that you would be having a girl. I remember holding your hand as we looked at her on the screen. I remember the first time I saw her. So small and fragile I remember thinking that I would die before letting anything happen to her. I remember listening to her heartbeat, the steady thumping of a strong and loving heart.
I remember going shopping for the baby. I remember spending all day in numerous stores and the hour I spent unpacking the car that night. I remember swearing as I tried to assemble the baby’s crib. I remember laughing and teasing as we painted the nursery. I remember the smile on your face as I came home one evening with a small brown teddy bear under my arm and telling you that I just had to get it for her. I remember the tenderness of the kiss we shared at that moment, and I remember you telling me that I was going to be a great mother.
I remember the tears you cried the day I told you I was being shipped to china for 6 months. I remember the letters that graced my bunk every night as I got back from patrol. I remember the tears that wet my pillow as I read each one over and over again. I remember watching her grow through those silly little printouts of the ultrasound, and thinking that I was the luckiest woman I the world. I remember the hurried phone calls every moment I got just to hear your voice and the sense of peace and warmth they would give me. I remember the butterflies that filled my stomach the day I got on the plane home to you.
I remember sleeping with my arm over your ever growing belly and the way you said it made you feel safer and that you were sure that she could feel the love I had for her through my touch. I remember feeling her kick and laughing as I told you that she was going to make a great rugby player. I remember the swift tap you gave me and told me that she would not be a rugby player cause your heart couldn’t handle the worry of her on the rugby field and me out fighting some ridiculous war. I remember kissing you and soothing away the worry lines that had suddenly appeared.
I remember the moment she decided she was ready to grace the world with her presence. I remember rushing you to the hospital. I remember getting you there only to remember I had forgotten the worried grandmothers at home. I remember whispering to her that she had to wait just a little more so I could be there when she made her grand entrance. I remember rushing back to the hospital and finding you waiting for me. I remember wishing I could take the pain for you as you squeezed my hand in pain. I remember the first sound of her voice as she screamed her presence in this world. I remember smiling and kissing your forehead as they laid her in your arms.
I remember holding her for the first time. I remember the smile she gave me as I held her and I remember knowing from that moment that I would never be able to deny her anything just as I could never deny you. I remember counting her fingers and toes and marveling at their perfection. I remember holding you as you fed her and feeling that perfect moment of family and love that we all search for.
I remember the day we brought her home. I remember standing in the nursery and languishing in the feeling of home that having you and her there gave me. I remember the first time I changed her diaper. I remember how you laughed at me as I screwed my nose at the smell. I remember the awe I felt as I bathed her. I remember watching her sleep.
I remember the first night I had the dream. I remember waking with a start covered in sweat. I remember the racing of my heart as I struggled to get over the horror of the dream. I remember you holding me and rocking me back to sleep after the dream. I remember the tears as they trailed down my cheeks unchecked. I remember the warmth of your arms.
I remember the smile you gave me when I told you about the dream. I remember the tenderness of the kiss as you soothed me and told me not to let it worry me because it was just a dream. I remember the way you were able to chase away all the lingering fears that the dream had left. Replacing them with love and tenderness.
I remember when the dream returned. I remember screaming and waking crying. I remember you holding me and whispering to me. I remember the sound of my breath as I struggled to get air into my lungs. I remember that the dream never stopped after that. I remember waking every night crying. I remember running to the nursery in a panic if I woke and you weren’t there. I remember sitting up just watching her sleep after the dream.
I remember the day I had to leave again. I remember you telling me not to worry because my mother would be here with you. I remember feeling so helpless as I walked away bound for the desert. I remember that the dream followed me to the desert. I remember waking struggling for air in the Sahara. I remember my CO giving me my new orders. I remember pulling the trigger. I remember watching him die. I remember the cool refreshing feeling of the water on my body as I tried to get the sand off my body.
I remember the day the news came. I remember my CO telling me the news. I remember the sound of my heart breaking as the words cut through me. I remember wanting to scream. I remember the feel of the tears as they burned down my sun burnt cheeks. I remember the pained look on my CO’s face. I don’t remember screaming. I only remember the pain I felt as I collapsed in tears.
I remember sitting at your bedside watching you struggle to breathe. I remember the peace I your eyes when you saw me there. I remember the tears that filled me up when you said those words to me for the last time. I remember crying as you made me promise to take care of her. I remember watching you take your last breath. I remember the wall of anger that formed around my heart. I remember staring at the photos of what they had done and I remember feeling the anger filling up the whole in my heart, the whole where you used to me. I remember every cut and every wound.
I remember demanding permission to go after her. I remember telling my CO that no one else would be able to find her like I could, I remember telling him I had to do this. I remember telling him that this was my duty to you. I remember his sigh as he grudgingly gave me the go ahead. I remember the look of fear in the eyes of the men I led into the desert. I remember recognizing that their fear was not of the enemy but of me. I remember creeping into that desert fortress.
I remember looking into his eyes and feeling the rage building within me. I remembered every wound, I remembered watching you breathe that last unsteady breath. I remembered that he was responsible for you no longer being there. I remember the hate I felt. I remember wanting him to hurt the way you had. Then he remembered his voice. I remember hearing him say he would give her to me if I spared his life. I remember it as if I had been listening through a fog. I remember nearly not listening till he said it again. I remember following him as he took us through the night to where he has sold her. I remember praying that she was ok, for his sake and for the sake of my soul.
I remember holding her in my arms again. I remember feeling the rage disappear as she looked up at me with her trusting eyes. I remember the anger that had sustained me falling away and I remember crying. I remember holding her to me as if she would break and feeling the steady calmness of her breathing. I remember counting her fingers and her toes as I had done the first moment I held her. And I remember promising you again that I would take care of her forever.
I remember watching them lower you into the ground. I remember falling to the ground next to your grave and crying for the loss of you. I remember the steady hands of my brother and my best friend lifting me off the ground and walking me to the car. I remember the multitude of faces that appeared and disappeared around me. I remember the warmth of food that my mother forced me to eat. I remember the torment of knowing you would never be there again. I remember feeling lost and alone. Then I remember the love she showed in her eyes. I remember the peace that crept into my heart as I held her. And remember the feeling growing every time I held her.
I remember the day the dreams stopped. I remember waking to the sound of her and the gurgling of her laugher as I fed her that morning and I remember realizing that I had not woken in tears. I remember the day the pain stopped and the day her love gave me back my life. I remember the day I saw you in her eyes and I remember the day she patched up my heart. I remember all these things as I hold her in my arms. And I know that you are never far from me, because I can see you in her. I remember your love and I shower her with all the love I held in my heart for you as well as the love I hold for her. I remember your smile every time I see her smile.
We visit you often and I remember the way your laughter would have made life better. I talk to her every night as I put her to bed. I tell her about you and about how much you love her. I know she may not understand yet, but I know she’ll remember, because I know I will remember.