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EC+AM=4ever Chapter 46
August 4, 2009
I yawned and stretched my arms up above my head as I climbed out of bed to answer the front door. I quickly ran my fingers through my hair, trying to make myself look at least slightly good-looking.
I got downstairs and opened up the door to see a man dressed in some kind of military uniform on my doorstep. “Hello, are you Mrs. Mongolia?” he asked, his voice deep and imperceptible. It felt so strange to hear someone call me Mrs. Mongolia. But that wasn’t my main concern right now.
There were a million thoughts racing through my head. This meant that either something really bad happened to Ash or something really good happened to him. I was hoping with all of my heart that it was the latter. Especially after the scare I’d had the other night.
“Um, yes. Yes, I am.” I choked out, smoothening out the hem of my t-shirt and swallowing hard.
He nodded slightly and opened his mouth to speak, managing to keep a straight and emotionless face the entire time. “I’m sorry to notify you about the death of your husband, Ash Mongolia, who passed away at our base hospital on Monday, August 3. We, the officers and men of this base, want you to know that we share your grief in this time of sorrow.”
My eyes filled with tears, I felt faint, this couldn’t be happening to me. This had to be some kind of sick joke. Maybe I was getting Punk’d. But I knew I wasn‘t. “He’s dead?” I squeaked out, my voice wavering and hoarse.
“I’m sorry.” he replied, his face still completely free of any emotion. How could he just stand there and tell me that my husband was dead while managing to keep a straight face the whole time?
I opened my mouth to speak, but I couldn’t get any words past the huge lump in my throat. This time it was true. He really was gone. I cried so hard that the whimpering sounds escaping the back of my throat sounded un-humanly. “No!” I cried, shaking my head. “That can’t be true! He just texted me the other day saying he was ok!”
I watched his Adam’s apple bob up and down as he swallowed. He stuck out his hand, which held a formal looking letter. I took it from him with shaking hands, barely able to read the text through my tears.
Dear Mrs. Mongolia,
We hope that it will be a comfort for you to know that your husband will be given full military honors and religious rites at the funeral. Our deceased comrades here rest in a beautiful, well-kept cemetery near the base. Each man occupies an individual grave and a beautiful white cross is placed at the head of the grave. Each man’s name appears on the cross.
May the benediction of our Heavenly Father be on you and other surviving members of the family.
Wallace H. Petri
Chaplain (Capt) USA
That was it, just those few simple lines. But I couldn’t even stand to read those few. My heart was pounding so hard, I thought it might explode. Ash, the one I fought for, the one I cried for, the one I married. The one I fell in love with. Dead. He was dead. Gone for good.
I would never get to see him laugh or smile again. I’d never get to kiss him again. He’d never hold me in his arms again. He was dead.
This wasn’t fair. He didn’t deserve to die. He was fighting for his country, serving in the military. He was a hero, he was my husband. It just wasn’t fair. Why him? There were tons of guys in the military, yet out of all of them, it was him that had to go.
My knees began to shake and before I knew it, they gave out and I collapsed to the ground. “Ash!” I screeched, as if he would come back. But he was gone. Forever. “No!”
The military officer stood there, looking awkward as his eyes wandered around. He was probably thinking: Ok, what do I do now? This girl’s in hysterics. Do I just walk away? Or run for my life?
But I got a hold of myself. At least enough to stand up again. “How did he die?” I managed to choke out through my tears. I at least wanted to know that much.
The man cleared his throat and told me. “He died Monday morning due to a gunshot to the chest. The medical officers did everything they possibly could to save him, but the wound was much too severe. He just…wasn’t strong enough.”
No, he couldn’t be saying that. Ash was strong enough. I knew he was. This guy didn‘t know Ash like I did. Ash was strong enough. They had to have done something wrong. “But he can’t be dead!” I shouted. “He can’t be gone! I texted him yesterday morning!”
“I’m very sorry, Mrs. Mongolia. I’d like you to know that you have my sympathy.”
“I don’t need your sympathy! I need Ash!” Now even I thought I was a lunatic. But when the love of your life dies, you can’t really control your emotions very well. He just couldn’t be dead. Why couldn’t it have been me? Why couldn’t it have been me that had her life taken away from her?
But Ash was my life. So actually, I had had my life taken away from me. Like Cole said before he left for Michigan, everything happens for a reason. It’s fate. And when fate happens, you have to look for the good in it. Even when it seems horrible.
But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find the good in this. Ash didn’t deserve this. He didn’t do anything wrong. That’s one question that I’ve always wondered about. Why do bad things happen to good people?
Can anyone really give a logical answer to that? It just didn’t seem right. If you don’t deserve something, why does it still come? Ash didn’t deserve to die, so why did he?
“Like I said, I’m sorry. And I wish you the best. You’ll soon be contacted about the funeral.” He nodded his head subtly and then turned on his heel and walked away. I shut the front door and leaned my back against it, sliding down to the ground, my tears flowing freely.
That same empty feeling of loss and sorrow that I’d felt the night the power went out returned to me. Except this time it was ten times worse because I didn’t even have that one small ounce of hope. It had already happened. It was done and I couldn’t back and fix it. It had happened. I had lost him.
But it wasn’t fair. He’d carved EC+AM=4ever into that tree for a reason. Because he was promising me that we’d be together forever. What about the text he’d sent me on June 28th? The one saying: But it’s better to miss each other, knowing it won’t last forever than to miss each other, knowing we’ll never get to see each other again.
Well now I knew just how right he was. The pain I felt at that moment was so deep, so severe, so awful, so depressing, so empty…it was like nothing I’d ever felt before. Like nothing I’d ever even imagined was possible. How could one feel this terrible over one person?
Life just wasn’t fair. It seemed that no matter how hard you tried to do the right thing, how good of a person you were, how much you loved someone, you still ended up miserable in the end. But that was just how life was.
Relationships fell apart. Friendships ended. Hearts were broken. Lovers were lost and taken away from each other. But no matter what, the love never does die.