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It’s been 8 years since my husband died in the line of duty, but our family still grieves.

This first-person article is the experience of military widow, author, and Ottawa grief advocate Monica Bobbitt. For more information on CBC’s first-person story, see: Frequently Asked Questions.

Last May, on the eighth anniversary of her husband Dan’s death, my son took his little daughter to visit his grandfather’s grave in the National Military Cemetery for the first time.

Middle name Daniela, in honor of his memory, is heartbreaking to never know her Grandpa Dan. prize.

The day Dan Bobbitt and his son Connor were born, February 1996. (Submitted by Monica Bobbitt)

But you will never hear him sing the silly song he made for her, never know the comfort of his embrace, never benefit from the wisdom of his guidance. is exceeded. Dan’s death will resonate in our family for generations.

A man in uniform in a tank.
Dan Bobbitt in Afghanistan, 2007. (Submitted by Monica Bobbitt)

Dunn died in a military training accident in Alberta after being crushed by the weight of his LAV III as it rolled over. In the days after his death, I quickly learned that there were many things I didn’t know about grief.

We don’t talk enough about grief in Canada. Death is still seen as something we get over. Mourn a series of stages to complete. Of course, neither is true.

I know grief has no timeline and is definitely not linear.The death of a loved one changes us radically. If her husband hadn’t died, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Dan’s death forced me to prioritize my physical and mental health.

In many ways, it took me a long time to reconcile the fact that the best version of me was born out of my husband’s death.

Family photo on a hike.
Last family photo Dan took before he died. Left to right: Dan, Catherine, Elizabeth, Monica, Connor and Ginny the dog. (Submitted by Monica Bobbitt)

soldier in grief

Twenty-one years as a military wife prepared me to run the house myself, but not to be a widowed mother of three grieving teenagers. We had many difficult days and months as we struggled to navigate the new world without Dan.

Military wives are seen as strong, resilient, and capable of juggling any curveball life throws at them.

For some time after Dan passed away, I hid behind a stoic exterior. He was the commander of his regiment, and I had a duty to be strong not only for my children, but also for his soldiers and their families. I was looking through.

He argued that if I really wanted to help others, being genuine was far more important than being stoic. Sometimes you need someone to tell you it’s okay even if it’s not okay.

A smiling woman in civilian clothes and a man in a regimental uniform sit at the dinner table. Both are wearing poppies.
Monica (left) and Dan Bobbitt attend a military appreciation event ahead of Remembrance Day 2013. (Submitted by Monica Bobbitt)

I turned to writing to help me make sense of it all. Eventually, I returned to school to hone my writing skills and gain a better understanding of grief and bereavement so I can better support and care for others who are dealing with significant loss or death.

With Padre’s encouragement, I began sharing my story with others in the military community. I am humbled and honored that so many have allowed themselves to testify of their grief.

A woman in front of a grave decorated with poppies.
Monica’s daughter Katherine laid poppies on her father’s grave on Remembrance Day 2020. (Submitted by Monica Bobbitt)

life after dan

It’s been eight years since Dan passed away — one third of my oldest daughter’s life. It will be ten years soon. “Ten years. I don’t like it,” she told me recently.

I am now living a good life with my new partner, a wonderful man who Dan had a great deal of respect for.

This is the point many people think I got over his death, or at least should.

For me, moving on means Dan should be left in the past.

Family photo in front of autumn leaves.
A recent Bobbitt family photo. From left to right: Elizabeth, Connor, Monica, Catherine. (Submitted by Monica Bobbitt)

Dan is still with me. he stays alive In the life we ​​have built up with his three children, granddaughter and me since he passed away.

My sadness is much softer now, its sharp edges smoothed by wear and tear, but still lurking beneath the surface.

A familiar song or scent can be an unexpected trigger, or a special event can trigger it. Respect for the Aged Day and the days leading up to it can be especially difficult when images of flag-draped coffins fill my news feed and The Last Post takes me back to Dan’s burial.

A woman is holding an infant.
Monica Bobbitt talks about how the grief of losing her husband Dan will affect generations to come. She is pictured here with her granddaughter Adeline Daniela Jean, who is named after her Dan. (Submitted by Monica Bobbitt)

But Dan was more than the granite tombstone that marked his grave, so I’m not focusing on his death, but on the wonderful life he lived. He will be very happy to know that we have inherited his great zest for life.

And I know he’s incredibly proud of the wonderful, empathetic adults they’ve grown up to be.

Over the years, I have been healed by the thoughtfulness of many people. We are so grateful for their continued love and support. And I am especially grateful to those who understand that after all these years, the pain of Dan’s death still lingers.

Do you have a compelling personal story that can bring understanding or help others? We would love to hear from you. Email us your pitch.

It’s been 8 years since my husband died in the line of duty, but our family still grieves.

Source link It’s been 8 years since my husband died in the line of duty, but our family still grieves.

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