I’ve always heard that grief has stages. Something about denial, anger, acceptance and some other ones thrown in there. Well, in my personal opinion that’s a load of crap crafted by someone who likes to sort their sock drawer by color, height and approximate elasticity. Grief doesn’t package itself in pretty boxes that you unwrap one at a time. It’s like a needy, irritable child. Some days it is easily abated. It will just lie still in the back recesses of my mind making itself busy stirring up warm memories. Then there are days like today where it pulls at my pant leg and demands my attention while screaming at my subconscious.
On the “good days” like this Sunday, I feel a sense of calm, peace and joy, that I got to know Daren for as long as I did and created as many happy memories as I have. I can recollect those memories with a warm feeling in my heart and a smile on my face. Then there’s days like today where every soldier that walks through our center doors with Daren’s unit patch on makes me want for the next one to be him. I think of all the experiences he will miss out on by dieing so young and I get LIVID pissed.
A friend of mine out here told me that God gets it. It’s okay to yell at him and be mad at him one second and thank him for all your blessings the next. God has wrath, look at what he did to the world in ol’ Noah’s day. God had feelings, just read the scripture where after Lazarus died he felt so bad for his family it says, “He wept.” Not he teared up, or he cried, he wept. So basically God can give me a lil leeway on the whole hot mess situation with how I feel about Him these days.
The other day I came home from work tired and spent and my roommates were getting up to go to work. I had my cell phone flashlight on to see in the dark room I share with 4 other ladies when my one roommate popped out of her area. I just started flashing the light like a strobe at a rave and broke out some ‘hot’ dance moves. Her response was, “You’re an idiot” while laughing the whole time. I loved seeing her laugh. It made my night. It all started to make sense, I get why Daren was the way he was, damn it feels good to make other people happy. In that way, in my goofy, sometimes “schtupid” lighthearted fun way, that’s how I’ll honor him.
I am utterly amazed at the sheer number of people who have read my post about Daren. I am filled with a sense of humbling awe at the responses people have written me. I sincerely thank every single person who has taken a moment to read my post. I did what felt right. I wrote what I wanted the world to know. It has helped me tremendously to see the good in the bad. My friend Beth said in an e-mail, “Daren’s death has changed you… God brought him into your life not to F you up with grief but to push you in the right direction that was meant for your life.”
While at this point I still disagree with the big man upstairs and think that I could have learned more from Daren’s continued life here on earth than from his death, I know it is out of my hands. I’m not supposed to understand it all. The Man has got a plan and I need to trust in it. My friend Lindsey said, just think Daren will be up there on “Team Sarah” cheering you every step of the way. I like to think of him that way, watching down over all of us, color commentating our lives. It’d be hysterical. I love to picture Daren in the line of the Brad Paisley song, “But when I get where I’m going, and I see my Maker’s face. I’ll stand forever in the light of His amazing grace.”
A friend asked me if I had wished I didn’t know Daren that well, that wouldn’t that make it easier. Absolutely not. Knowing Daren was a gift, one that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Another one of Daren’s friends, Sarah Brahm, had posted the song This=Love on a memorial site for Daren. I think it’s just the perfect song to remind me of Daren and his love for our country, our freedom and us. He died for us and for that we can never repay him, but you know what, I know he would have never asked us to.
I remember always liking his “about me” section on his Facebook. It’s one line.
- About Daren: is alive and loving it. -
First Lieutenant Daren Miguel Hidalgo was laid to rest today 7MAR11 at West Point Cemetery. His 25th birthday was Friday. They sang Happy Birthday to him at his funeral.