Wow. I don't know if I'm still in shock or if I've moved on to extreme sadness. Is there a difference? Last Saturday night I received the saddest phone call from my Husband. I had never heard him so heartbroken or lost. I hated being away from him when something so heartbreaking was happening. Ray Wallace had died in combat while serving in Afghanistan on Saturday. He wouldn't be returning to his amazing-perfect-for-him wife, or his four young children. He wouldn't be coming and visiting when he was on leave and we wouldn't be hearing his laugh next Christmas. He was gone.
How do you process something so horrific? How do you explain it when someone so intensely good dies so young? How come something so sad has to happen to such a cute family? Ray is Doug's nephew. He's older then me and loved to tease me, never calling me anything but "Auntie J" from the first time that he met me- even though Doug and I weren't even engaged yet. He was more like a brother to Doug then anyone else in the world. I can honestly say I have seen him in bad moods and even angry but he always seemed to be smiling and looking at the world with eyes of happiness. He could make anyone laugh, and more then just smile, the kind of belly laugh that makes tears and hurts your stomach. Ray was the one person from the Wallace side of the family who called Doug (from Iraq) after he left the church and his family had disowned him. He comforted me, gave me a few scriptures and said he wished so badly to be home so he could come visit us and comfort us. He knew we were hurting and put aside his trials and work and precious phone time with his own family to spread his contagious happiness. He then told Doug how even though he felt his Dad had handled the situation terribly, that it didn't matter. He would always be there, they were family and he loved him. It was exactly what Doug needed at the time. (and the scripture he gave me is still one of my favorites.) He really is a strong, loving man. Full of Faith and kindness. He and I disagreed a lot and yet still he'd have his arm around me and get me laughing in an instant. I can't even imagine how his family, or even how Doug is feeling at this time. My heart is breaking for them and I wish I could carry this burden for them. Even though Doug's family has been more then distant for the last few years, it's Ray, his siblings and the other nieces and nephews that have shown us what love and family are. I can't wait to see them and hug them and tell them we love them. Because you never know when they won't be there to do it again.
Jeremy, Ethan, Doug, Troy, Liam and Ray Wallace. Spring 2003