Anxious Remembrance

My home from 2005 to 2009.  This is during my graduation parade.

For those of you that are new readers, or if have not seen my post from November 2013 about Veterans Day), I became a war widow in 2011 when my husband, Dimitri, was killed when we were both deployed to Afghanistan.  While I am truly happy again and looking forward to a wonderful future, I often have days where memories of Dimitri just flood my brain and overwhelm me.  

Today I am heading up to West Point (where we went to college and also where Dimitri is buried) to participate in the West Point cemetery tour that the rising juniors go on.  For a little context, you are free to leave West Point at any time up until you start your junior year.  Once you start junior year, you are obligated to serve on Active Duty in the Army for 5 years after you graduate (repayment for an amazing, free education).  The cemetery tour is to make these rising juniors aware of what they are about to commit to, and it is also a way for them to understand the stories of certain members of “the long gray line” (West Point graduates that came before them).  I will be giving a brief 7-9 minutes speech at Dimitri’s grave as each of the cadet companies filter through.  

I’m anxious about doing this, and really hope I can hold myself together.  I’ve only been up to West Point one time since the funeral, and it was a very short visit and I had a lot of family support with me.  This time, I will have 3 days to walk around campus, go on runs, and just feel what I am assuming will be a flood of emotion (both happy and sad).  My 4 years at West Point truly made me who I am today.  It was a difficult, overwhelming and exhausting experience, but I had an amazing time despite often feeling like I was drowning from everything that was thrown at me.

I truly hope that this visit and experience will be the last bit of healing that I need before I feel completely ready to move on in my new relationship.  This wound, and my memories of our wonderful relationship will always be with me, but I’m hoping that this visit heals the scab so that it finally just turns into a scar that doesn’t hurt quite so badly.  Please think of me over the next few days as I go through this journey.  I need all the prayers and good vibes that I can get. 

For those of you that find it hard to believe that I’m in the Army and a West Point graduate, here are a few pics from my time there (don’t mind the chubby cheeks!).  Enjoy!

Secret rope swing at Camp Buckner with some of my friends.  Dimitri is back right, and Daren (buried next to Dimitri at the cemetery) is right behind me, 2006.

500th Night, with my awesome roommate Geneva, 2008.
Yep, that’s me getting tackled with the ball in the middle of the pic.  I played rugby while I was there.  Crazy huh?

Christmas dinner with Dimitri, 2007.

One of the many snowy days.

Uniform I wore to class everyday…can you see why I LOVE color?  This was misery!  That’s my pretty Momma, btw.

Ring Weekend, 2008.  Please ignore the awesome acne…

Branch Night with Dimitri, 2008.
After the Graduation Parade with Dimitri, 2009.

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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  1. April 29, 2014 / 3:08 pm

    Will be praying for you. You will be amazing.

  2. Anonymous
    April 29, 2014 / 3:43 pm

    You can do it!

  3. April 29, 2014 / 4:08 pm

    It would be my honor to pray for you as you travel back to West Point. Both for your speech as well as continued grieving. Thank you for sharing more of your personal story and thank you more than anything for the great sacrifice you have given and endured. Hugs from San Diego.

  4. April 29, 2014 / 5:01 pm

    Praying for you lady <3 Sending lots of love and prayers your way.

  5. April 29, 2014 / 7:07 pm

    Prayers of comfort, healing, and compassion as you continue on this brave and courageous journey.

  6. Anonymous
    April 29, 2014 / 7:14 pm

    You are so inspirational and strong. What a wonderful tribute to Dimitri.'s life and memory.

  7. April 29, 2014 / 7:14 pm

    You are so resilient! You are very strong woman. I really like that. Thank you for inspiring us. Hugs.

  8. Anonymous
    April 29, 2014 / 9:43 pm

    praying for you

  9. April 29, 2014 / 9:43 pm

    Have a wonderful trip this weekend! My boyfriend is a firstie in company E3- he has told me many times on our walks around WP how moving an experience the cemetery tour was for him. Safe travels and best of luck! – Jinny

  10. April 29, 2014 / 9:43 pm

    Love and prayers from Covington and Livingston!

  11. April 29, 2014 / 9:43 pm

    Much love and prayers from Covington and Livingston!

  12. April 29, 2014 / 10:40 pm

    Will be thinking of you as you continue your journey…..your Army family is with you and supporting you.

  13. April 30, 2014 / 12:40 am

    Sending prayers and thinking of you during this difficult trip, xo.

  14. April 30, 2014 / 1:02 am

    Prayers and thoughts with you beautiful lady! May this journey be a healing one for you. A big hug your way ! Diane

  15. April 30, 2014 / 1:20 am

    Prayers and thoughts with you beautiful lady while you make this journey of healing! A big hug your way! Diane

  16. April 30, 2014 / 1:44 am

    Many prayers as you journey back to West Point. As a mom of a Yuk my heart aches as I read of your journey and the heartache you have endured, my heart also fills with pride for you represent the best of America's young. May Many prayers as you journey back to West Point. As a mom of a Yuk my heart aches as I read of your journey and the heartache you have endured, my heart also fills with pride for you represent the best of America's young.

  17. April 30, 2014 / 7:44 pm

    I'm sure it will be an incredibly beneficial experience! Sending prayers your way!

  18. April 30, 2014 / 9:25 pm

    Definitely praying for you! Thanks for sharing!

  19. April 30, 2014 / 9:25 pm

    Praying for you Katie as you share your story. What a great example you are to those young people!

  20. Anonymous
    May 1, 2014 / 1:04 am

    You will do great! I am a AD Nurse Corps Officer and have been so touched by not only your story but all of your "whimsy" in the military life. You are an inspiration!!

  21. Anonymous
    May 2, 2014 / 6:34 pm

    Thank you so much for coming up to share you and Dimitri's story during this tour. I was one of the companies on a different route so I didn't get to hear you speak, but please know that the courage and bravery that each one of you show in coming here specifically to share stories of loved ones not once, but several times over to each group that comes through is so much appreciated by my classmates and I! My heart melts for you and yet also burns with desire to become part of such a storied, honored, and prestigious Long Grey Line; in thanks to your willingness to share that tradition with us. All my love, respect, and comfort,
    -a USMA rising junior

  22. May 2, 2014 / 6:34 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss, but so incredibly proud of what you do. As a fellow milspouse, that is my worst nightmare. Saying an extra prayer for you.

  23. May 22, 2014 / 10:48 am

    Bravo! So much love and many prayers here for you ~ I'm sure you were wonderful. I'm hoping this did bring some healing for you and your heart doesn't ache quite as much.


  24. Ana Martinez Ch
    May 30, 2014 / 4:42 pm

    Great post! I know you did great! I just came back from visiting friends at the West Point graduation and I definitely thought about you and your story.

    Thank you for all that you do!


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