4 Gifts My Boyfriend Left Me After His Death

Author: Hannah Grace

Hannah at her boyfriend's grave

I was in my first holiday season after Forrest was killed in Afghanistan when I realized that even in death he left me gifts I would forever cherish and be thankful for. Gifts don’t always come in the form of a pretty box wrapped with shiny paper and a bow; they sometimes come in ways that are invisible to the eyes.

Each year during this time, I think about the gifts Forrest left me when he passed, the gifts that have helped me to focus on how beautiful life is.

1. Family, particularly his family
Forrest knew I didn’t grow up with a big family, and family was extremely important to him. I’ll never forget when we first started dating he said to me, “I really want you to be close with my mom.” It was a done deal when I met her for lunch one day at a TGIFridays; it was instant love. She treated me like a daughter. When Forrest passed away, we developed an even stronger bond that we still have today.

2. His band of brothers, and he had a lot of them
Words can’t describe the love these guys have given me, how they have looked out for me and how they’ve had my back from the moment the news spread about Forrest’s death. Camaraderie in the Special Tactics/Special Forces career field is huge; it’s not just dedication to each other, but to the families as well. I have a band of brothers, an army of men I call my brothers, my friends, my heroes. I still spend time with them, even now, and I am forever thankful for them.

3. Perspective
I’ve always been a happy person, and I have always loved life, but Forrest took it to another level. He was charismatic, absolutely hilarious the guy everyone wanted to be friends with and he had the ability to turn your worst day into your best one. With Forrest, life was about not letting opportunities pass you by; money meant nothing to him, and pure happiness meant everything. When he passed, I realized how much he taught me about life, and how he taught me to love every second of every day.

4. Memories, there are so many
The best gifts of all, those things I will forever have, are the memories. When I hear a Chris Young song on the radio, I hear Forrest singing at the top of his lungs in his truck as he plays the finger drums on his steering wheel. Hundreds of photos, road trips, all the laughter and love the list goes on. I never realized what a gift it is to make memories until I lost someone I loved making memories with. These are memories we made together, and I was the person he chose in his life to make these memories with and that was the best gift he could’ve given me.

The holidays have a whole new meaning for me after losing someone I loved very much. I am thankful not only around the holidays but 365 days a year for each gift Forrest brought to my life.

From the pen of…

Hannah Grace is the surviving significant other of Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley, who died in Afghanistan when the vehicle he was traveling in came under enemy fire. Hannah is a sports management major, fitness enthusiast and animal lover who joined the TAPS family in 2015.