ūüáļūüáł The Pinning Ceremony ūüáļūüáł

One of the proudest moments for¬†a military wife is when she is asked by her husband to pin him to the next rank. I barely remember Josh coming in to tell me (when he found out for sure) that he would be pinned on August 1, 2014 for Sergeant.¬† I was so happy for him-in fact I remember asking Dr. Lee weeks prior, “Do you think I’ll be out of the hospital by August-I have to pin my husband he’s going to be promoted.”¬† Looking back now, his response was always the same, “Let’s try for then, we will see though.”¬†¬†I now realize that this¬†was his very gentle way of saying, “probably not.”¬† Nonetheless,¬† I was beyond proud of my husband.¬†¬†I wanted to attend that pinning ceremony on base more than anything!¬†¬†That’s what kept me going was¬†having things to look forward to.¬† Unfortunately, I missed two important events in both my best friend, Andrea,¬†and my¬†husband’s lives.¬† I had been waiting years to be Andrea’s matron of honor and I¬†waited even longer to pin my husband to the rank of Sergeant.¬† These were huge milestones for both of them-and ulcerative colitis took both of those special days away from me.¬† For that, I will always be both sad and upset that I wasn’t there to partake in their special events.

I remember when my mom, my mother in law and Josh came to the hospital and¬†told me that we would have our very own pinning ceremony in the hospital for¬†Josh.¬† I was determined to pin my husband to the next rank, in a way-I earned it too.¬† Some wives will say you should never wear your husbands rank and I agree-but when you stay with you husband from the rank of Private all the way¬†up through–there’s something to be said for that.¬† It was a happy¬†time for us both, and I was excited and nervous for my husband’s co-workers/friends/fellow marines to see me in¬†the state¬†I was in.¬† Unfortunately, from the plateletpheresis treatments along with¬†my body enduring so much¬†trauma in such a short period of time, everyone was able to look into my eyes and see the pain-literally.¬† It was an odd vision, I’ll admit, but¬†it was scary to look into the¬†mirror-even for me. How could I expect anyone else to be able to look at me without wincing.¬† From what I remember of the pinning ceremony that we held in Pomerado Hospital for Josh, no one looked at me strangely.¬† They all had this open warm heart that wasn’t judgmental, however I remember not being able to look anyone in the eyes.¬† I didn’t want to scare anyone and I also requested that no pictures be taken.¬† I didn’t want¬†anyone being able to look at me later on, nor did I really want to necessarily remember that I wasn’t able to pin my husband on base in front of his¬†command and superiors in that patriotic outfit I had envisioned in my head.

Instead, I wore this very cute leopard print ensemble my mother had put together for me.¬† With all the IV’s that were in my arms and neck it was hard to wear anything other than a hospital gown.¬†¬†However, my mom¬†had purchased this leopard print dress and matching flip flops-an outfit I will never forget.¬†¬†It was beyond sweet, and only¬†aided in creating a memorable evening.

Our mothers and friends¬†did a great makeshift pinning ceremony for us though-I remember being so highly medicated that when I went to pin Josh I actually put it on upside down.¬† Newhouse quietly whispered to me, “It’s upside down.”¬† I remember snapping back into the reality of what I was doing at that moment and nervously giggled-as I think prior I was in a fog of pain medicine and uncertain feelings.¬† Although everyone was supposed to be staring at Josh,¬†in that moment, I could feel all eyes on me.¬† Ethan Newhouse, Katie and Greg Hartig along with Diane and Alec Stoddard and their son stood around us as I pinned my husband.¬† Without the help and support of our military family members as well as our mothers, I wouldn’t have the wonderful memory of pinning my husband.¬† I will always be grateful and feel blessed that as my illness grew worse I had the support of other military families along the way.