09 February 2011
How old were you when you and Chad met? How did you meet?
-I met Chad when I was 18, he was 20. Funny story is we met on Myspace while I was still back in Arkansas and he was in Cali. We are from the same hometowns and went to the same highschool but never met before then. I found him through a friends page, looked at his picture/page and literally said outloud, "THAT is the kind of man I need in my life."
Was it love at first sight?
-I'd say so. I still look back at the very first picture I saw of him and I still see the most handsome man I have ever laid eyes on.
What was your first date?
-Haha. Date? Really get a chance to go on a "date." We talked for months while he was still in California. But nothing more than small talk. When he came back to Arkansas for predeployment leave, he picked me up in his friends truck and we spent the night hanging out with his friends. I honestly thought he didn't like me at first because in the car ride he was so quiet and didnt smile once. Come to find out later...he was just so nervous seeing me in person for the first time. :)
When did you know it was love?
- When he flew me out to California right before he deployed to Iraq.(only a week after he was in Arkansas for predeployment leave) One of the best weekends of my life. Everything with him was so easy...we didn't have to try or force anything. He was my soul mate, and it showed very quickly. I knew that weekend that I didnt care what it took, I would be with that man for the rest of my life.
When did you know it was forever?
-After we got through his first depoyment together after only knowing eachother for a few months prior. We got through that so there was nothing else we couldnt get through. I am thankful for that deployment because it gave us an amazing foundation to start our lives on. He became my bestfriend before anything else.
Was he in the military before you started dating or did he join after?
-Was already in.
How did he propose?
- We decided while he was in Iraq we wanted to get married. So he didnt really have the chance, so we went ahead and started planning the wedding and he picked out my ring. Then the first day back from deployment he "proposed" eventhough we were getting married a week later. :)
Tell me about your wedding day.
-There are no combination of words to explain that day. I was marrying my best friend, soul mate, the man of my dreams. How do you explain that?? It was pure, bliss, happines, and love. I get speechless just thinking about it.
How was pre-deployment for you two?
-Im guessing this means towards his last deployment in Afghanistan. If someone tells you predeployment leave is easy they are lying. There are so many emotions, feelings, and worries going on for the both of us it's hard to stay grounded. We did our best and I wouldnt have traded it in for the world. It was the last long period of time I got to spend with him before he left.
How was communication between the two of you while he was deployed?
- Ha. What communication? When he first left it was 3 weeks before I heard from him. And then I ended up missing his phone call. Thank goodness he called and called until I answered. We never got to skype or chat on facebook...it was mostly all through 10 min phone calls. But when we did talk it couldnt have been better. Hearing his voice made the waits in between so worth while.
What was the day before you got the bad news like?
-The day before? It was like any other day. I actually talked to him the day before. He told me he would try his best to call me later that night if he could. I had dinner with some other wives. We talked about homecoming, how exciting it was, and how we would help eachother through this deployment. My phone started to die so I ran home to charge my phone just in case he'd call. I waited all night long but he never called. I didnt think much of it because that happens on deployments. I fell asleep holding my phone praying I'd be woken up to his voice. I loved waking up to his voice in the middle of the night.
When did Chad pass away?
-Dec 1,2010. A day that forever changed my life...
What were you doing when they came to tell you that Chad has passed away?
- I just woke up, walked outside to smoke a ciggerette and heard the knock on my door.
How did they tell you?
-To be honest I dont ever remember...all I remember is them saying Cpl. Chad S. Wade over and over again....I hated that thats how I had to hear is new rank said.
What was your initial reaction?
-I asked if it was a sick joke. Literally the first words out of my mouth.
Did they stay with you or offer you some sort of immediate support?
-Yes. As much as they could. There wasnt much they could do. They just told me my husband died... I also had close friends that came straight over.
Did it "hit" you immediately or did it take time?
- It hit me that day to extent. How can it not? Til this day I still can't believe it. I dont know if it will ever "sink" in.
How did you spend the next few days?
-I didnt shower, eat ,or get off my couch. I cried and threw up. I didn't put on make up because when I did it took less than 5 minutes for me to cry it off. But I also had to fly to Dover 2 days after I found out.
Did you have to tell his parents? Have they been a big support?
-I wasn't allowed to tell his parents. I knew for 3 hours before they were notified. His parents couldnt have been better to me. They are my family and I am so blessed to have them.
When was the hardest time after his passing, for you?
- That whole first month. I found out, went to Dover, and planned my husbands funeral. I don't think it can get worse than that.
How have you coped?
-I don't think there really is a set way to cope. You do what you can to get through each day. One day at a time. If I want to stay home and cry all day, I do. If I want to get out and do something, I do. Just depends. Mostly, I try to live my life as if Chad wouldve wanted me to. He would want me to be happy. Nothing less.
What is the difference between December and now? In what ways have you grown/coped with your new life?
- Chad has shown me how important life is. I have realized I am stronger than I ever thought possible. In no way has it gotten "easier," but Im slowly learning how to take care of myself.
In what ways has your lifestyle changed since?
- Im not a "wife" anymore. I live the life of a widow now...there's nothing more to it. I'm having to learn to do things for myself. Before my whole life was baised on trying to make Chad half as happy as he made me. I guess in a way I still do. I just hate that I can't take care of him anymore.
Has the military been supportive?
-Amazingly supportive. I am so blessed.
Has his unit kept in touch?
-Yes! All of his good friends go out of their way to contact me and make sure I am ok. I know Chad is looking down and is so proud that they are taking care of me. It's exactly how he wouldve wanted it.
What keeps your strong?
-The love I had with Chad. Chad was my rock. He kept me strong. And Im sure he will for a long time.
What are some of the therapeutic things to do when things just get too overwhelming?
-Talk to him. It may sound silly but I look at the stars and talk to him. Its as if I feel him in my chest. I also write. Whether its in my journal or my blog. Writing has helped me get through this.
Your blog has touched a lot of people, what made you want to share your story with everyone?
- I started writing in my blog a year ago. And when the news got out I had several requests to keep up with it. I gave it a shot and realized it was good for me and for other people. It is most important to me that I keep Chads memory and sacrafice alive. He's the true inspiration here.
What is your most fond memory of Chad?
-There's so many!! It's almost impossible for me to pick one. Anytime with Chad was a fond memory. We laughed and played all of the time. We acted like goofballs and spent many nights laughing at eachother hysterically. I mss that. I miss having Chad to be a goofball with. We had so many nicknames and random stuff we made up. It's almost we were in our own little world when we were together. I miss looking over and him being asleep on the couch. I miss him doing crazy little dances for me. I miss him taking the first bite of every dinner, looking at me and saying "Good job baby." Then giving me a kiss. I miss cooking or cleaning and he'd run up to me with his arms wide open yelling "Hug me hug me hug me!!" haha I really miss all the little silly stuff.
If you could tell him one thing, what would it be?
-That I love him. That I am so incredibly proud of him. You're my hero Chad. You forever will be. Thank you for giving up everything so we can live our lives freely. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for showing me what love was. I will never forget you or what we had. Be my angel forever Chad and I will forever be thankful for the man you were. Thank you for being YOU. Si Sove Su baby.
Forever and always, Poohbear
DD NOTE: Katie is the epitome of strong. There is so much to learn from her poise, class, and perseverance. She is so grateful for everything she has and everything that her and Chad made together. They are true American Heroes.