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Jul. 23rd, 2013

Number 10

Some may say "here goes nothing" .. but in this instance I prefer to say "here goes everything". Its the night before the "big surgery".. the big "cure all". And Goodness I hope they're right. As most of you know I've been sick for the past 2.5 years. Although this will be my tenth surgery in thirty months I have to say.. through each and every one I've never been as nervous as I am for this one. I don't know if its because the location (my neck) or if it's the fact that everything relies so heavily on it. My future, my ambitions, my goals, and of course my daughters future rely on this single surgeon and his ability to remove whats poisioning my body. Regardless of the outcome..This surgery will be my last (at least for the next several years). While I believe in being a fighter and fighting for my life and health. . I also believe in living my days to there fullest and enjoying my short earthly life. So, I refuse to continue to revolve my entire existence around surgery dates, hospital stays, anesthesia, doctors appointments, and alll the 'tests'/'imaging'.tomorrow marks the beginning of a brand new chapter, A chapter with struggles yet flooded with healing and happiness. a chapter that takes addie and I a step forward.. instead of backwards or into stagnation. We may trudge clumsily forward..we may lean heavily on our family and friends..we may glance in the rear view mirror a time or two.. but we will consciously and continuously be moving in the right direction. As for Sean.. hhe'll be along for the ride . . Always out of sight but connected to our souls for eternity.
I guess this blog answered the question "why am I so nervous"?
It's not the location of the incision or the surgeon. It's not the anesthesia or the scar afterwards. It's knowing that this is my last time in the ring.. my very last fight. This is the end of one rope and the start of another. So I ask that you say a silent prayer for us tonight. A prayer for our new chapter. A prayer to help heal tge oast and build a strong new future. Thank you for all the love prayers and support. .

Here goes everything♥

May. 16th, 2013

Then and now..

After each storm that comes, several people always ask .... " How do you comtimue to do it? I would've quit a long time ago. Keep your head up girl!"
This blog will answer just that..



One of the things I remember most about my husband was that everything was "easy", It didn't matter what the struggle was or the task at hand, his response was always the same.. "It's all good baby, it's easy". I'd quickly fire back "Hunni, how do you know it's going to be easy, what if it's not?"..he'd just smile and shrug his shoulders.. "Then we'll deal with it then". I always envied that about Sean, nothing was ever a big deal. Life was one big party and we were just living in the moment. I never thought I'd be lucky enough to carry a mentality like his .. then June 19th came. As I watched his casket go 6 Ft under, I knew I had a choice to make.. Am I going to let this moment ruin me? Is this going to be the thing that makes me quit? Am I going to succumb to life’s circumstances? Or am I going to choose to rise above them and allow them to better me..allow them to strengthen me..allow them to change me and pave the way for my future? I walked away from his grave that day with my mind made up ..

One, two, three..sixteen, seventeen,.. come on allie, don't quit now..Nineteen, TWENTY!! The weights hit the rack and I focus on getting my next set. There's nothing like living in the moment.. Only focusing on what IS .. right now..at this very second. From the moment I grip the steel to the very last rep of my very last set ..that's all i think about, getting the weight up and down. Just when I think I cannot do one more rep of any type of exercise I ask myself.. "Why not".. Why can't I get in that last set? That last rep? That last mile? I just have to take it breath by breath, second by second....It's easy, so Why not? Every rep counts, every goal needs to be met, and every PR needs to be broken.. why quit now? And just like that I end up finishing what I once thought I couldn't.

I relate my life to my workouts. The past few years have been full of obstacles, struggles, heartache, hardships, sickness, and death. There were so many times I felt as though I could not bear to go through one more minute of life, let alone an hour, or an entire day. I would find myself on my knees sobbing and praying, playing the victim, throwing myself my own personal pity party. But Standing at Sean’s gravesite on the 19th of June I realized .. Why not? Why can't I go through the next minute? the next hour? the next day? All i have to do is breath in and out and take every second as it comes.. It's easy, so why not? Why quit now?.... So I didn't quit. I didn't quit that day or the next day. In fact, each day that followed I became stronger and more driven. I dusted off my bible and began reading the scriptures and rekindling my love and relationship with God. I began reaching out to those who needed it most. Volunteering became a passion and helping others became a vital part of each and every day. Instead of backing down from my fears, I began to face them head on.. and instead of giving up and walking away, I learned to stay and fight. I made a decision to not let circumstances ruin me, instead I would utilize them to turn me into a stronger, more positive person. I realized that YES Naval Hospital made a mistake that cost me my fertility.. but at least I was blessed with one child of my own. YES my daughter has a disease but at least it’s treatable. YES my husband was taken too soon, but the time we did get to share with each other was magical and a blessing. . and YES I am sick, but at least I have the support of so many incredible people to help get me overcome it.

I can honestly say the same person who set out on this Journey a few years ago, is not the same person who finished it. Life is not always all it's cracked up to be. Things happen, life happens, and every moment isn't always perfect. But when you find yourself in an imperfect moment, embrace it, let it change you for the better, let it teach you a lesson, and utilize it to build a stronger foundation.. a stronger YOU. Don't let the messiness of today effect your tomorrow and don't let the rain prevent you from dancing. Take each day as it comes and live each moment like it’s your last. Give what you can to those in need and take the time to volunteer. Love your family, cherish your friends, and be thankful for all you have.

Never forget the power of prayer and that some of life’s greatest blessings come in the worst disguises.

Soul2Soul

Dec. 30th, 2012

A much needed vent

CHIEF. SEA DADDY. COB. CAPTAIN. SKIPPER.

These are all names that sailors around the world use to call our leaders. When things go wrong, life goes wrong, relationships go wrong.. We call upon them for guidance. When we overcome obstacles, climb our way up the ladder, accomplish the impossible.. We call upon them for celebration, for approval, for that look in there eye that says "I'm proud of you" It's more than a nickname, more than a title, more than a collar device. unless you've been in, you will never grasp the true meaning and importance Of a United States Navy Leader.

These past four years I've had an assortment of superiors. I've worked for a female CPO that used to scare the sh*t out of me. I'd see her coming down the P-way and immediately do a mental check of my uniform, the tasks I had performed the day prior, the tasks I had performed the day of, the tasks I had in the future. "oh f*ck there's chief. Hair in sock bun, check. Nail polish in regs, check. Belt on, check. Creases crisp, check. Swept and mopped the office, dusted her desk, took out the trash, check check check". At the time I thought she was salty and awful, but in hind sight a lot of what she taught me made me the sailor I am today. My old Command Master Chief off the boat was another strong influence. He was my "Sea Daddy". The one person I'd hate to piss off or disappoint. He was either your biggest fan or your worst night mare. He set the bar high and expected a lot out of us. But he always stood behind us, always inspired us, never stopped teaching us, and heaven help the poor soul who tried to mess with us. He was the type of leader that would ask us to jump, and we'd reply "How high".

I know your probably thinking.. " ok, so you had some great leaders.. Get to the point"
Well, that was the whole point of this journal entry. To remind myself that there ARE GREAT leaders in the Navy. There ARE leaders who aspire to INSPIRE. There ARE leaders who are honest and devoted. There ARE leaders that continue to believe and practice our core values.. HONOR COURAGE COMMITMENT. There ARE leaders who stand behind there sailors. They are just extremely rare and hard to find.

Losing Sean.. My soulmate, the love of my life, my best friend, has been the most tragic most heart wrenching most painful thing I've ever had to endure. After he was laid to rest the very first thing I wanted to do was quit my service to this country. I wanted to quit, move home, be near my family, go to school, and raise our daughter. But I'm stronger than that. I'm not a quitter. Making the decision to fulfill my contract was not a difficult decision to make. I signed a contract and took an oath, it's my duty and obligation to see that through. I'm glad I made the decision to stay in, but I can't help but feel so disappointed in the Navy. .

SEVEN MONTHS. SEVEN MONTHS and I'm still fighting to get the Navy to take care of loose ends that should've, by instruction, been taken care of SEVEN months ago. SEVEN months and not one Person can help fix this disaster. SEVEN months and our worlds finest Navy can't come through on there end for a Widow and her family. A husband, A father, A son, A Broter, was Killed In Action. He Died so that you and I can continue to live in the land of the FREE. And we can't even take care of the ones he left behind? SEVEN MONTHS and his family, along with who knows how many others, have to continue to FIGHT through a process that by instruction should be so simple.

Sometimes I sit and think.. What if I were an E-9 or an 0-6, would things be different? Would our families recieve better care because id have a bigger pull?
What if I was not an active duty widow and I was a civilian widow? Is that where the difference in care lies?

Wherever the issues lie with the Casualty Program, I hope it gets fixed soon. I'm not saying the process is going to be PERFECT. Mistakes will be made and corrected, But that should be an occasional occurrence. It shouldnt be the " norm ".

I hope no other family EVER has to deal with these struggles. I hope leaders begin to take a stand and ensure there Casuality Program is top notch and ensure the families of those that are KIA are taken care of. This blog post is about the NEXT family. This is about our next brother or sister who is Killed In Action. What are we going to do to ensure they do not endure the same Seven month struggle?

"We have many obligations but only one solem obligation.. To prepare and equip those we send to war and to care for them and there families when they come home"

Soul 2 Soul

Aug. 24th, 2012

A little bit, goes a long way <3

This week has been a tough one to say the least. I began to ask myself .. Why are you doing this? Why do you keep playing the Navy game? Why don't you throw your hands up and just quit? Request an early out, go home, and just be with your friends and family..everyone would understand! Then I recieved an email. An e-mail that was sent by one of my shipmates that work in my building. We have only spoke a handful of times. All we know of eachother is what we SEE. I keep "doing this" because I have signed a contract and I have an obligation to my country to fulfill it. I'm not going to "quit" because i'm not a quitter. This email was inspiring! This email made me get back off the deck, brush myself off, and go at it one last time. This goes to show that the smallest act of kindness, can go so FAR! Special thanks to my sister in arms who sent me this <3



-----Original Message-----
From: Rupert, Elizabeth A FC3 NAVBASE Kitsap, N93
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2012 11:05
To: Hasenwinkel, Allie M SN NAVBASE Kitsap, N16
Subject: Our Conversation the other day.

Morning Has,

I have to admit that anytime we talk about something I am worried about making a mistake, saying something insensitive, etc. and I think about the conversation over and over again. I don't remember a lot of things in great detail (what mom does?) but I remember pretty much every word of every conversation that we've had since you've been back. So, with that in mind, I want to apologize in advance if anything that I am about to say does more harm than good. I would like to ask that you tell me if I ever do offend you, but I know that you would never do that. That brings me to the subject of this email. As a mom and a wife and a daughter and a woman and most importantly your Shipmate it makes me fall apart when I think about what you are going through, but where I cannot sympathize, I can empathize, and I do not pity you, I admire you. After our conversation the other day, I walked away thinking about how remarkable you are. I don't think that you could possibly be any stronger, but I know that if something else happens tomorrow that you will. I don't think you could be any more gracious to the people like me who know nothing and don't know what to say or do, but I know that you will. What I hope that you will remember is that people try to tear down those that are great because they expose our own weaknesses. You are certainly GREAT, and the world needs you. What the people who tear at you do not understand, is that you are a person who seeks to empower not take advantage. But you are a target because you use the best and most underutilized tool to do so: example. But allow me to humbly validate you for whatever worth it has. I am proud to call you my shipmate, but that is not all. I am proud to have known you and to have been affected by you, and to have been made better by it. If we never have another meaningful or frank conversation, I want you to know that one is all that it took to change me forever. Even if no one else hears your message, given to the world by the way you live your life, I have heard it.

Aug. 18th, 2012

You had me from Hello

I remember the first time I laid eyes on my husband. It was a cool but sunny morning in August,I was walking into my Bldg. wearing gym attire . I noticed a young man wearing his Service uniform walking through the door. It closed behind him then suddenly it swung back open again..he had turned around and opened the door for me. We made eye contact " Good morning " I smiled and replied back.. " Good morning MA2, thanks for grabbing the door" and I walked right past him. As I walked up the stairs leading into my office I glanced back..he was STILL watching me..I shrugged it off. I never thought anything of that day or that MA2 until an MWR meeting a few weeks later. My friend MA2 Amy Abbott called my name after the meeting had wrapped up "Hey Hasenwinkel, can I talk to you for a minute?" I froze and thought to myself..Is your nail polish in regs? CHECK! Is your uniform neatly pressed? CHECK! Dress shoes polished? CHECK!. I slowly turned around "Yes, of course". Amy Abbott is a uniform natzi! And I LOVE it! It's refreshing to have another female hold herself and others to a higher standard. We both sat down and she started in.."Do you know MA2 Brazas? He's the new MA2 we have in security?" I gave her a puzzled look.. " Ya know, the new handler??" I was still puzzled. "Well, anyways. There is a new MA2 in security and his name is Sean Brazas. He thinks you are gorgeous. He is in New York right now on mission but he would like to take you out once he gets back". I quickly replied "NO". My heart had been broken once before and she knew that. I was not about to open myself up to more pain and heartache. Amy tried again  " You know I would never ask you this if I didn't think he was an amazing person. PLUS he's handsome. SO handsome". I was still unsure. So she did what any girl would do desperate to hook up two friends " Can we at least Facebook stalk him before you say no". I laughed and agreed to it. Looking through his Facebook photos and listening to Amy Abbott gloat about this MA2 I was finally sold.." FINE! ONE DATE! But thats all i'm promising. And if he breaks my heart i'm coming after you". We both chuckled together and that night i recieved my first text message from Sean. From that moment on we became inseperable. We texted from sunrise to sunset his entire mission and as soon as he got back our first date was set. It was a Sunday evening. I remember getting ready and having the worlds largest butterflies in my stomach. He kept asking for my address to come pick me up but I stayed guarded and told him I would meet him at HIS house and we could go from there. The short 15 minute drive to his place seemed like an hour. What if this doesnt work? But what if it does? What if I like him,then what?. I parked infront of his apartment and got out my phone to let him know I was there, it was too late..he was standing outside waiting for me. I took a deep breath and got out.."Hey you" "Hey gorgeos"..I knew right away this date was already headed in the right direction. "I've got to run inside and grab a few things" "Go ahead, i'll wait right here".."Nice try" I thought to myself.."We havn't even left for our date and he's already trying to get me into his apartment". I took another big breath and warned myself to losen up and have some fun. Sean hurried back out and opened my door for me. I hoped into his truck and we drove off into the sunset. The entire drive neither one of us could stop talking. It was like we had spent a lifetime together already.. as soon as one subject wrapped up another began. We pulled up to a nice country steakhouse called Whiskey Creek. We sat near the fire place and Sean ordered us the most expensive bottle of wine on the menu. He poured me a glass and our conversations continued. Somewhere between 7:00 p.m. and CLOSING time we got lost in eachother. The waiter came up to our table and politely told us they had been closed for a half an hour. We both burst out into laughter and grabbed our things to leave. He hesitated before he got up and I asked if everything was ok. I will never forget his reply "I'm gonna marry you one day. Just thought you should know". I chuckled and smiled "thanks for the date" and we headed out. We pulled into his complex and he walked me to my car. We both went in for a hug and Sean tried giving me a kiss, I dodged it and gave him my cheek. He laughed "Wow, I've never had that happen to me before" ..half jokingly i replied " Real ladies don't kiss on there first date"..he looked at me and smiled from ear to ear "touche' ". We ended up sitting outside of my car for over an hour. We were putting off goodbye, neither one of us wanted the night to end. As the rain crept in and midnight came and went we agreed that it was time to wrap things up. As I got in my car and began to drive away  I felt a rush of excitement. It was like I was in middle school again..I felt like a little girl who had a CRUSH. I pulled over and text Sean " Thanks again for tonight, I had a blast. Maybe we can do dinner at my house Tuesday night. How do Chicken Enchiladas sound?" he instantly replied back " That sounds good gorgeous. Tuesday night it is. Text me as soon as you get home. Drive safe". The whole drive home I reflected on our night. I was so impressed by him..From his button down shirt dark jeans and boots..to his amazing manorisms and the way we both just seemed to click. It was amazing how I went from being so nervous and guarded, to so in love..all in ONE night. Whiskey Creek was the beginning of Sean and I. Our love for eachother only grew from there. 

Sean and I always talked about our first date. He told me as soon as we hugged that night and he realized I wasn't just another easy catch, it was all over for him, he was in love. I would laugh and tell him " He had me from hello". Some say " When you know, you know"..We were big believers in that. On Friday night, at the end of that first week, we were doing dishes after dinner. He reached over to grab a plate out of my hands but I wouldn't let it go..he asked me if everything was ok..  I took a breath and said "Yes, everything is perfect. I'm going to marry you one day. I just thought you should know" . We both smiled and our "Forever" began.

Soul 2 Soul

Aug. 16th, 2012

With grief comes anger

" Sean wouldn't want you down here caryin' all this anger. He would want you to be smiling, trying to enjoy your life". Some say there are five stages of grieving, anger is one of them. Friends that were close to Sean always have a way of soothing my soul when I need it the most. On nights such as last, I don't know if it's his friends talking.. Or Sean talking to me through his friends. Last night my Soul was shaken and my heart was screaming, I opened " The package ". Most people LOVE seeing packages on there door step, it gives them a quick rush of excitement " oohhh I wonder who sent me something " or " Thank god, I ordered this 2 weeks ago". But for me, when I see a package , my heart sinks and my head starts spinning. " Is it an American flag" " Is it a video slide show from his friends " " Maybe it's just a present for Addie" .. Last nights package was no different. Once I saw the address " Purple Heart Lane " I knew it was something that was gonna hurt to see. As I slowly opened it my thoughts were confirmed, it was the autopsy. Going over it brought peace to my heart KNOWING the exact details..but it also brought a rush of anger. Why? Why Sean? Why do all of these ungrateful people get the privilege of walking this earth while my husband is confined to heavens floors? Why? It just doesn't make sense. My mind started wondering and images of Sean with Addie began running through my head. I began to pace, looking at our family photos hanging on the wall, looking at our room and our empty bed, looking at his side of the closet, looking at Addisen as she danced in the living room ... Finally I snapped out of it " Hey Addie, let's go on a drive". It's what I do when I feel like I could just give up, I get in the car and drive. I passed Base, passed the hospital , passed the mall, and found myself on the fast track to Ridgetop Blvd. that's where Sean had shared a bachelor pad with one of his best friends Christopher before Sean and I were husband and wife. Theres something about going back to that place that seems to calm my soul. As we pulled in Addie began chanting her DA DA chant and started asking where DA DA was. I pointed to the sky and said he was in heaven.. Addie smiled and repeated " DA DAs in HEAVEN" . We picked up Christopher and took off for a short drive. Normally I'd feel too bad bothering someone this late in the evening with all my thoughts, but I was desperate and I think he sensed the severity. Right away I started into my speech " it's just not fair and I know people say life isn't fair but thats a really sh*tty reality. " " And people, they are so ungrateful, ungrateful for his sacrifice " " I'm mad, mad because I don't get to go home to my husband but she does. Mad that Sean didn't get to come home to me, but that guy gets to go home to his wife".  It was like all my anger was bursting out of me . Christopher took it all in then began to talk " I know your angry but you have to stop. You have to stop caryin' around all this anger. Do you really think Sean would want you doing this? Sean would want you to smile and try to enjoy life again . Sean's up there, and he's forgiven everyone for the petty argument they got in, or for the email they never sent. Sean's forgiven them. Maybe it's time you do too. And as for people being uungrateful, that's what Sean fought for, it's what we are all fighting for. We fight the fight so people here in America can act like idiots and have there own opinions." His words filled my head and warned my heart. . I could hear Sean telling me those exact same words . I smiled and thanked him. I drove home and began reflecting on my life. I realized just how much anger I had been holding onto. Anger towards so many things and people. Christopher was right, I had to forgive and let it go. Sean loved my smile and my laugh, he loved my positivity and my willingness to forgive. He wouldn't want me down here, living a life full of anger and hatred. So before I fell asleep last night I folded my hands and prayed. I prayed for strength and forgiveness. I prayed for comfort and healing. I prayed for Sean and for our troops. And I prayed for Addie and our families. And I woke up this morning feeling lighter. I apologized to the people I had been so angry at. I found the strength to FORGIVE those who needed to be forgiven. And I accepted the fact that not everyone in America is going to know my husbands name or appreciate the sacrifice he gave for this country . But there are plenty of people out there who DO know Sean and DO appreciate his sacrifice and those are the people I need to surround myself with. Those are the people that matter. All the petty people and all the BS they bring to the table .. That's insignificant. Cause at the end of the day we only have ONE shot at this game we call life, and in the end someone higher then you or I will judge us for our actions. On my judgment day I want to have a light heart and no regrets. And living a life full of anger will get me anything but that.

Maybe it was the conversation I had with Amy Abbott over coffee on Tuesday, maybe it was my conversation with Tara over the phone this week, maybe it was one of my many chats with Shannon or Kelly, maybe it was My conversation with Christopher, or maybe it was a little bit of everything. I'll leave the reasoning for it up to god and Sean. But my life has changed over the past week. It's changed for the better . It's like one page ended and another began. The hurt and the pain is still there, still so fresh. But the anger, the anger is gone. Maybe it was Sean talking last night instead of Christopher, or maybe the prayers I've been sending up were finally answered.. Whatever it is I hope it lasts..

Soul 2 Soul

Aug. 12th, 2012

My " Big Break"

Somewhere between Arizona and Cheerl camp I manage to find my way into the Navy. Life has cut me no breaks ever since, not that I'd expect it too. I've never been one to accept handouts. I've worked hard for every opportunity I've had in life. Some have brought me great success , others have turned out to be huge mistakes . . Regardless of the outcome I've Always managed to come out a better, stronger, person. The death of my husband has been THE toughest and darkest time in my life. I have never felt such a void, such sadness, and such LOSS than I have felt these past few months. A task as simple as tying my shoes or doing my hair can turn into an hour cry fest followed by a phone call to my beat friend to try and climb out of the hole I'm in long enough to get me through the day. Between grieving and being a mom tons of obstacles have been thrown my way. A surprise visit to the ICU in AZ got us a 3 week extended stay followed by a DIagnosis of Type 1 Insulin Dependant diabetes . Coming back to  WA only brought yet another 14 day hospital stay for myself followed by surgery and a week of convalescent leave to recover.. Then it's time to lace up my boots and continue my service to this country. Amongst the sadness and unfortunate circumstances some believe I have a better deal then they seem to be Recieving. Unfortunatly SOME of our Navy has turned into " what's in it for me " type people. It's all about what kind of deal am I getting and WHY does it SEEM as though IM getting a worser deal then that person? To some I guess my 3 month absence seems like a sweet deal! " Wheres Haz? She's gone AGAIN? Does she have the leave on the books? If not why isn't she here? " The list of questions seems to go on and on in my building on base. Some from blue shirts, others from khakis. I'm not about to share my story for sympathy or as a means of explaining myself to YOU.. Im sharing my story in hopes that the " what's in it for me " sailors realize that sometimes there's more going on then what you think you " know ". Sometimes when it feels like someone is catching a " break " maybe they are only catching there breath. When I arrived at NBK my very first day I was placed in the Xommand Suite working directly for the Command Maater Chief. I was his shadow for my entire pregnancy. I made it a point to not be another statistic at NbK, I was NOT going to be just another pregnant sailor. I did not utilize a TENNISHOE chit, instead I laced up my laces so tight in my dress shoes that my feet had no room to swell along with compression socks. I did not utilize a half day chit instead my workload had me working past 1600 and had me in the office some weekends. I started programs from the ground up such as Womens Symposium and The turkey dinner program. I worked up until the day before I gave birth. I gave birth at Naval Hospital Bremerton, which happens to be a learning hospital. I was admitted into the hospital, dialated at a 9 and actively labored for 13 hours. With assistance from a vaccume I gave birth to my miracle at 0304 on Oct 25 2010. What was supposed to be the happiest time in my life turned into complete horror. I had mentioned earlier NHB was a learning hospital. Well, the intern that delivered Addisen apparently did not know much about delivering placentas! Mine stayed in me for 3 agonizing weeks. I went back several times just to be told I has post partum depression and there was nothing wrong with me. It took a trip to Arizona and walking into a Civilian hospital for Drs to realize I was full of infection. 7 months and 6 surgeries later I ended up recieving a total hysterectomy.. Ovaries included. My dream of having 3 kids were over. For all of you " what's in it for me " Sailors.. That landed me a total of 4 months convalescent leave. I managed to lace up my boots and return to duty. I hit the ground running .. Again. I picked up more collaterals and tried my best to make a difference. In the midst of a gapped CMC billet I wound up working for a Navy Senior Chief. This Senior Chief did not know how to keep his hands or his sexual thoughts and comments to himself. This landed me smack dab in the middle of a year long court martial process. With Sean by myside I managed to get through it and Senior was dishonorably discharged from the Navy. One struggle was over and yet another began.. More health problems resulting from the same infection I had a year ago. I ended up getting 2 iron infusions a week and a boat load of diagnostic testing. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and Reynounds Syndrome. That took me out of work around 8 hours a week.. For those still counting. Although all of these obstacles were still being thrown my way.. Sean had a way of making mountains seem like pebbles. He'd always tell me " it's no big deal baby, we'll get you through it". His words always had a way of soothing my soul. Sean and Sicario left for training and although I had taken tons of convalescent leave I decided to burn my leave and follow Sean to California and Arizona. We had a blast together. Going to the beach, candlelight dinners, tickle wars on hotel beds, and sleepless nights that we spent just talking about our future. The last time I was in my husbands arns was Yuma, AZ. He kissed Addisen goodbye and held me tight. He whispered promises in my ear and I whispered some back. We had, what ended up being, our last kiss, and Add and I set out into the hot Arizona sunset. Returning to WA and going back to work knowing my husband was in such danger proved to be a challenge.. But through daily Skype dates and phone calls we managed to get through it. Sean and I Skyped for the last time May 24. He was going on mission and told me he would not be able to Skype for a few days. On May 29th I sat outside of work with one of my best friends, Hope. I explained I had a heavy heart, that I had this feeling that Sean was not coming home alive. She reassured me he would be fine. That people go to war all the time and come home safe. I took her words to heart and headed home. My husband was killed early The next morning. May 30th was the worst day of my life. I lost  my husband, my best friend, my rock, my hero. Since then life has been a mess. Trying to pick up the broken pieces and move forward has proven to be very difficult. With the support of our families and close friends I have managed to get through even the toughest of days. Although it has not been easy, I keep my chin up and my eyes focused. I have a daughter to live for and my husbands memory to keep alive. So, to my brothers and sisters that have had nothing better to do than gossip about my short Cummings as a Sailor, there's the short version of my " big break". Although they have been the most difficult years of my life they have also shown me TRUE love and LiFE. They have shown me happiness, sadness, love, hate, triumph, and defeat. Most of all these 2 years gave me a little girl I get to call my daughter and one amazing hero I get the honor to call my husband. I hope this gives you all better insight and hopefully will make you think twice before you make your next assumption or publicly announce your opinion of my life/career. Never judge a book by its cover.. You never know what's going on inside it. 

Jul. 17th, 2012

Soul 2 Soul

Thousands of feet in the air, surrounded by clouds , With MACM on one end of the flight my dad on the other ,I couldn't stop my mind from racing. What is he going to look like when I see him? Should I hug and kiss him or just look at him? Will I be able to hold his hands or will they be too stiff? What about Arlington, how am I going to make it through the service? How will I ever be able to leave Arlington knowing my husband is there? " Ladies and Gentelman we are beginning our final decent into Washington D.C." I took a big deep breath and braced myself for the days to come. Sleep that night was next to impossible. With my sissy Bridget in my bed with me, and my best friend Dre on the bed accross from me I managed to fall asleep between there countless attempts to make me laugh. I woke up June 19th with a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat. I put on my black dress, black pumps, and decided to not even bother with makeup. I went into Kelly's room and we braced each other tightly.. " we can do this Kel, we can do this". The drive to Murphy's Funeral Home seemed to last all day. 6 miles had never seemed so far. As I walked into our private room with my husbands casket all I could see we're his folded hands that were in white gloves and the top of his handsome hair. I took a deep breath and continued to move forward, hearing my heels hit the ground with every step I took. When I finally reached his casket I immediately maneuvered my hand to fit into his and began running my fingers through his hair. I couldn't help but notice how tan he had gotten and how white his lips were from dehydration. I ran my fingers accross his long eyelashes and began speaking to him. I told him how proud I was of him and how I wishso badly I could take his place. I made him promises and made sure no words were left unsaid.I wept along side his family and had to remind myself of Captain Olsens wors " Pull it together Allie. You're going to want to remember this, you're going to want to remember this". As the viewing service began to wrap up I took one last look at him in his dress blue, stuck a letter from Addisen and I under his uniform top next to his heart, and placed 2 Soul 2 Soul Brazlets ontop of our letter. I leaned into his casket and laid my head on his chest one last time. I kissed his forehead and grasped onto his hands, all the sudden It was almost as if they were squeezing mine back. I backed up and watched as the employees from the funeral home closed his casket and carried it ouside to the awaiting hearse. 8 police escorts had generously showed up to escort the hearse from the funeral home to Arlington, we wre able to run code the entire way..I know Sean was watching over us saying " Hell ya guys, hell ya! ". Pulling into Arlington I saw the most amazing site... The entire side of the road was filled with cars LOADED with friends, family, brothers, and sisters .. Waiting to welcome Sean home. We all followed the hearse into the cemetery and finally came to our final stop. I remember stepping out of the vehicle, and seeing teams of handlers and there dogs, standing at attention, waiting for there brother. The navy band began playing and a team of shipmates unloaded Sean's casket from the hearse and onto a horse drawn carriage. By this time a flood of family and friends had gathered behind our family. I couldn't look behind me in fear I'd fall apart. So I kept my eyes glued to Sean. The band began to march forward, followed by the horse drawn carriage, the dog teams, and finally our family and friends. I gripped onto his sisters hand on one side and my brothers on the other and walked the longest walk of my life.  The ceremony was beautiful. Arlington handled his ceremony and his casket with the upmost respect. It was the most unbelievable, most honorable thing I had ever witnessed. I kept talking to Sean through the whole thing, telling him it would be ok and that id come to visit as often as I possibly could . At the end o the ceremony we all stepped back into the street and watched as they moved Sean's casket to his final resting place, directly in front of Seal Team 6. Refusing to leave until he was completely buried I watched as they dug his hole, carefully placed his casket in it, and covered it with dirt. One man stayed behind to even out the dirt and made it look presentable. I approached the man and slowly removed one of my Soul 2 Soul Brazlets. With tears streaming down my face I managed to come up with words to say .." Sir,I know you bury our countries finest heroes day in and day out and I know this must become routine to you but I want you to know that man you just put 6 feet in the ground was my husband and a father to our 20 month old daughter. He was only 26 years old and we had our entire future planned out together. I just wanted to say thank you for taking extra time out of your day to make my husbands grave look as good as it does right now. Please keep his Brazlet and remember everyone of these heroes are with you, Soul 2 Soul" . The man took the Brazlet and placed it on his wrist.. " Soul 2 Soul " the man said with tears in his eyes and slowly walked off. Running my hands through the dirt over Sean's grave I whispered back .. " Soul 2 Soul "

Jul. 16th, 2012

The day heaven recieved my Hero

This is not happening. This is not happening. This is not happening. Or is it? When I picture families being informed there loved one has been KIA I picture the white four door sedan pulling up to my house, men in white uniforms getting out of there car, and a chaplain telling me to brace myself because he has some horrible news to tell me. That's not how this was all happening. Walking into the office on Wednesday May 30 I thought something was a little off. My Master Chief was pacing back and forth in the doorway of his office, instead of being on a highrail tour with the Captain. Maybe he decided to go to his sons school function? Maybe he heard about my hospital experience earlier that morning? None the less I thought nothing of it. I put my stuff down.. " Good morning Master Chief, that Navy  Hospital is something else" he gave me a look and told me to follow him. I flashed my friend Hope the WTF look and followed him back to the skippers office. I stood at attention and greeted my Captain with my usual smile. He told me to have a seat as my Master Chief shut the door. My butt had just hit the chair as he stood up, looked me in the eye, and said those 3 awful words " SEAN IS DEAD". I immediately began to scream " NO NO NO NO"!! My Master Chief immediately put his arm around me and I began to weep. I remembered Hope had been with me jusT moments before so I screamed her name in hopes she would hear me. The door opened and she came running to my side. I clung to her and couldn't help but still feel this wasn't happening. Like it was some sick joke. I had just been talking to her The night prior explaining this overwhelming feeling I had that Sean was not going to make it back alive. She had reassured me that he was going to be just fine, that hajis have terrible aim and there is no way he'd get hit. I managed to make out the words "when" .. " at approximately 1230 am local time ".." how" ....." He was helping a shipmate and got shot in the heart"...." did he feel pain " ..... " his body began to shut down instantly "...." what about his family"...." His father has been informed, were tracking down Kelly and his mother".  My head collapsed into my hands and I continued to scream " No". After what seemed like hours in the skippers office I managed to get the strength to walk into a secluded office where I could be alone with Hope by my side. I cried and cried and cried and tried to wrap my head around the fact that Sean, my rock, my husband, my hero, is no longer coming home. " where's Chief McGathey and Master Chief Clements" .. " they are wit the kennel" .. " Amy Abbott ".... " I don't know but I will find out " .... " Roybal and Jake" .. " I'm assuming Chief is with them right now". I thought that maybe if I could see them, I could convince myself this is real. Even with the CACO coming in asking qestions, the PAO getting a press release from me, and a few of my brothers and sisters rushing to be by my side I still convinced myself this was not real. This continued for hours until the door to the office flew open and Amy Abbott wrapped her arms around me.. The look in her eyes and the way she let me collapse in her arms validated that this was infact real. " Sean is really gone isn't he"...." yes, yes he is ". 

Jul. 15th, 2012

42 Days

Dover AFB, standing on the flight line, 60 feet away from the aircraft carrying my husbands flag drapped coffin it began to sink in he is no longer coming home. As a team of shipmates unloaded his remains and my knees began to give in Captain Olsen whispered in my ear " Pull it together Allie, you're going to want to remember this. Pull it together ". I gripped his sisters hand a little tighter and watched his casket slowly pass by. The MWDs began howling in the background and as the hearse drove off I whispered " I love you, handsome" and felt my world crash down around me. 42 days have passed since my Commanding Officer looked me dead in the eye and told me " Sean's Dead" but it continues to feel like yesterday. His clothes are still neatly hung in his corner of the closet just as he left Them.The glove box in his truck remains untouched, his American Tap Out Hat still on his dash. Dog tags hang on the rear view mirror and Addisen continues to chant her " DaDa " chant and fist pump the entire way to daycare, just like Sean taught her to. My mind is stil in deployment mode, like he is still in the desert and Febrauary is going to come and he will magically arrive at SEATAC Airport decked out in Battle rattle with that huge grin on his face. What I wouldn't give to wrap him in my arms and whisper " Welcome home, handsome" in his ear. Instead I hug his photographs and journal our old memories so I won't forget them. After a few weeks of being home I thought I was ready to go back to work and face my shipmates. I returned on a Monday and on Wednesday I received a call from my CACO that some of Sean's belongings had come in from the desert. I met him in a secluded office and we went through everything, item by item. With tears in my eyes we talked about loose ends that needed to be tied up and options for his headstone. At the end of our meeting I shook his hand. With Sean's belongings in one arm and a folded American flag in the other I started my 2 minute walk back to the office. As I passed by m shipmates conversating, laughing, working, going about there day to day I couldn't help but feel so alone and angry. Didn't they know my husband is dead? Didn't they know I'm holding all I have left of him? How could they possibly be laughing and moving on? Tears began to stream down my face and it was then I realized I was not ready. I was not ready to see others laughing, smiling, working, LIVING! I was not ready to face the reality that I too, would one day carry on. 

So here I am, trying to put my anger Frustrations and sadness aside and trying to believe in something and someone I have never seen before. Somedays it works and I fee at peace, other days I fight like hell to get through it. As hard as it is to believe, I know God and Sean have a plan and a purpose for me, I just haven't found it yet.