Close In Our Memories, Forever In Our Hearts
Author: Leila Murray
My name is Leila Murray, widow of LCDR Gary E. Murray, Ret. USN. Gary was a 30 year veteran of the U.S. Navy and highly-decorated. He served in Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and other conflicts of war. While serving his Country, he received (5) Navy Commendation Medals, (5) Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, (8) Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, (2) National Defense Service Medals, (3) Good Conduct Awards, Navy Expeditionary Medal, (3) Navy Meritorious Unit Commendations, (2) Navy "E" Ribbons, (2) Navy Unit Commendations, Kuwait Liberation Medals, NATO Medal, Navy Recruiting Ribbon, (3) Southwest Asia Service Medals, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award. He served his Country proudly with dauntless courage, dignity, and the type of leadership that paved the way for others in the military.
Two years ago on September 4, 2013, Gary took his own life by gunshot and was lost in a lake. Two years later, the grief is still unbearable at times. I am thankful we were able to find his body and bury him with dignity and honor at Florida National Cemetery. I came across a letter I wrote to him after the funeral and wanted to share here:
I wish I had been with you when you took your last breath, but I know that God was. I wish I had been there to hear your last word, but I know that God heard it. I wish I had been there to wipe your last tear away, but I know that God did. I will never be able to tell you enough how much you were loved, and how much you truly meant to us. Even if not often said, you were my protection, anchor and my life. I feel so hollow and meaningless without you now, but I know that God will see me through. You were so good to me and everyone else. I can't stand to think of your pain and fear during the final minutes of your life. But rest and know that your life was not in vain. You touched so many people's lives and will always mean so much to so many people. You served your country proudly and we are proud of the fight that you gave for our freedom! We thank you for that! I would give anything to spend more time with you, but I realize that this all has purpose in God's timing. I know that you have peace and rest now. Today we will honor you and celebrate your life and set you in your final resting place. We will see your smiling face again! You are close in our memories and forever embedded in our hearts! Forever and a day!
There is no timeline on grieving no matter how long it is or even if you have moved forward in life.
To all of the survivors, you are just that, a survivor! Hold dear to the memories of your loved ones past!