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Painful Path to Recovery

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Awful Loss


Angela’s World Shaken

Angela, the 24 year old wife of Doug Combs, is a lady with a smile that makes you smile when you see it. She has long, light brown hair and blonde highlights, plus vivid green eyes. The Combs had an adorable year old boy named Doug Jr. is in the US Marines and overseas. Angela is six months pregnant and having a little girl. She is hoping Doug’s deployment ends before their daughter is born.

Doug joined the US Marines at 20 years of age, and this is his second deployment to Afghanistan. He wanted to serve his country, but he really wants to get home to his wife, and he has decided not to reenlist. Two days before his scheduled departure to the US his humvee hit a landmine, which killed Doug, although the other 3 US Marines were injured, but lived.

When Angela was officially notified of her husband’s death she fell to her knees. She yelled, “No, No, that can’t be true. Doug was strong. He was a great Marine!”

Her sister and her parents were supportive over the next several weeks, but Angela was consumed by grief. Doug’s parents were also supportive, although grieving of course. After the funeral everyone went home except her sister Penny, but Angela could hardly function.

Doug Jr. would say, “Where is Daddy?”

Angela would answer, “Daddy is with the angels Dougie.” Then, she would turn away as the tears flowed. She made it through the funeral, but now she was dysfunctional for all intents and purposes.

Her sister, Penny stayed close and helped with Doug Jr. Penny was an RN, but she took a leave of absence from work. She decided to spend time with Angela until the new baby was born, and she would say, “You are still young Angela. You can still have a good life. You have a precious little boy and a daughter to come soon.”

“Penny, I am trying but I just can’t believe Doug will never even meet his new daughter.”

Doug Jr.


New Life

One morning 3 weeks later Angela woke up as her water broke and labor contractions started. She woke up Penny, and Penny called their good neighbor Sally. “Can you watch Doug as I need to take Angela to the hospital?”

“Of course,” Sally said. Sally came over to wait for Doug to wake up, and Penny got Angela to the hospital. About 7 hours later little Jennifer was born. She was named after Doug’s mother.

Angela improved after the birth of Jennifer and got into a routine to care for her 2 children. Penny went home and back to work.

New Baby Girl


Slowly Recovering

At times the grief was still overwhelming. Finally, after all of Penny’s encouragement she found a support group that had several young widows, and she was able to express her profound grief. She also read a book about grief that Penny had given her. She wanted to find a way to move on with her life, although she missed Doug with all her heart..

As the months went by Angela found the group was helping, and she made some friends. Julie was another young widow that Angela related to, and they became very good friends. They talked on the phone almost daily.

One day she heard from the Towers Foundation, and they were going to build her and her children a new home. She was ecstatic as she was only allowed to stay in her military housing for one year, and it had already been 7 months. The overwhelming burden of paying a house payment or rent would be lifted.

Angela planned to return to college on a part-time basis next year to fulfill her goal of becoming a paralegal. She finally seemed to have one more purpose in life in addition to raising her children. She knew her grief had impacted her ability to care for them, but she was gradually improving.

Her friends, Sally, and her sister, Penny, had helped keep her spirits up, and she didn’t know how she would have survived without their help. She called Penny and thanked her for having made such a difference at an awful time.

Sally and Angela took their children to the park together, and occasionally Sally and Angela would get a babysitter and go to a movie or out to dinner. This seemed to help Angela and probably Sally move forward accepting the fact that they were young widows.

Go Your Own Way

© 2019 Pamela Oglesby

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