Saturday, July 14, 2007

Amber Miller (Almost Mrs. Randall T. Marshall), An Interview

Good Mourning, Widows. Joy to you and me.
Meet Amber Miller.
Amber is almost famous widow to famous Army Sgt. Randell T. Marshall killed April 23, for your freedom and mine, by a suicide bomber in As Sadah.
Amber recently wrote and thanked me for welcoming her into our joy-ous club and kindly consented to an interview.
Here is what Amber Miller had to say:

Tell me a little about yourself, Amber. Where were you born, if you care to tell your age, please do. What were you like as a child, and where did you grow up? Do you have brothers or sisters, how many? Ages?
I was born in Harrisonburg, Virginia on July 11, 1986, I just turned 21 today. I grew up with my mother and I have a half brother who lived with his father. I do not know my biological father but my brothers dad took care of me and was a great dad to me. My brother, Derek, is 28 years old and is married to a great woman, Renee, and has my nephew, Zach. He went into the Marines in 1997 and got out in 2001. I looked up to him a lot and I think that is part of what prompted me to join the army.

Where are you today? What is your job? What is your rank?
I am on BAF (Bagram Air Field) in Afghanistan. I am currently a Specialist in the 82nd Airborne Division where I work as an Imagery Analyst. I knew I wasn't ready for college after high school and wanted to serve my country in the best fighting force in the world. I have been stationed at Ft. Bragg since April of 2006, before then I was in 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea.

How did you and Randy meet? When did you know you were meant for each other? Was it love at first sight?
A couple people told me about a some country bars around Ft. Bragg and invited me to go with them. Well I was new to Bragg still and did not know my way around Fayetteville so we met up at a friends house. When I walked in I instantly noticed Randy. He was the only one there I had not met. The owner of the house introduced us. That night Randy was not around at all, he was off flirting and having fun, just being his self. (I found out later he thought I was with one of the other guys.) He told me later that he asked one of the guys, Will, if I was dating anyone, he told him that I was kind-of talking to someone. Randy told him that he did not care, he was going to date me. I was only the second serious relationship that he was ever in.

What was special about Randy? What did you feel when he walked into a room, when he held your hand, when you heard the sound of his voice? Can you describe your first kiss?
The question should be what is not special about Randy. His mother and father raised him right, he was such a gentleman to all females. I couldn't do anything but smile when he walked in the room, I always had to make sure I wasn't dreaming, that he was really there and really mine. When he held my hand I felt like nothing could ever make me let go if I did not want to. I felt so safe, like he was the only one for me. His voice gave me butterflies, it was so warm and soothing and it could fix anything. Our first kiss was at a friends house after a night of country dancing. The house we were at did not have a spare room or anything but it had two couches. The girl I had with me was already fast asleep on one so Randy and I decided to share the other one. We talked half the night and I started falling asleep, he kissed my forehead and I kind of initiated the first kiss. I really got butterflies then.

Did Randy propose to you?
No, Randy never got the chance to propose to me. We were, however, planning a life together after the Army. He was getting out June 2008 and I am getting out July 2008. We were going to move to Florida together to be near his family. His family asked me when I got to Florida if it was OK that they put me as his fiance, they told me that it was only a matter of time till he would have asked.

Did you and Randy have a song?
He told me while he was in Iraq that his song to me is "If the Good Lord's Willing" by Johnny Cash. I listened to that song everyday after he told me that. But the song never came true.

What was his funeral like? Do you remember?
It was a military funeral by the 82nd Airborne Division. The church we were at was a Baptist church in Florida, it had a balcony and was filled up with people. When we arrived there were people everywhere, including the Patriot Guard, all over the front lawn. I thought the service had not started yet but soon found out upon entering the church that it was not big enough to hold all the people who's lives Randy touched.
The ceremony was so nice, the centerpiece that his sister, mother, and father chose was beautiful, it was made of red roses with four yellow ones surrounding his belt buckle. The roses symbolized the four of us and the belt buckle was the one he always wore. One of his friends from middle or high school sung for him. His uncle and cousin said some things they remembered about him. At the memorial gardens they had the firing squad set up and the soldiers brought him up to where we were through a path of the Patriot Guard holding US flags. The hardest thing I have ever had to hear was Taps. It hurt so much to have to hear that played for him. After the ceremony his sister gave me that belt buckle he was so proud of. I do not know what kind of shape I would be in if I did not get to attend his funeral. It was my way to say goodbye.

What will you do now? What are your plans?
I still have a year left in the military, after that I am looking at Government Intelligence jobs. I am keeping our plans and moving to Florida so I can be closer to him. Randy's death has impacted my life in every way. He showed me to live without regret, it does hurt me to put on the same uniform that he was killed in, the same patches on my shoulders to the same boots. I get upset a lot easier, they have the funeral practices outside the building I work quite often. I see every soldier that is killed in Afghanistan go by. I just try to stay strong and honestly I try to hide that I am grieving. I have an important job to do and I do it with the best of my abilities. He taught me to give it all or give it nothing, I give it all.

What do you want the world to know about Randy?
He was the one that I wanted for all times. I am so thankful for the short time I got to spend with Randy. He emailed me two days before he died. he told me he would be back in two weeks and not to worry about him. He signed the same way he always did, 'I love you and always will, Randy.' I would give anything to see him one last time.

And finally, Amber, what advice can you offer a new widow going through the pain of losing her soulmate?
It may feel like all you want to do is give up and be with your love, but know that there are others out there just like you and you can't give up. Just remember how you would feel if the situation were reversed, I would never want Randy to give up. I would want him to be happy and learn to love again. Take comfort in your friends, they may not know exactly what you are going through but they will listen if you want to talk. Never forget the one you lost, because he will NOT forget about you. I believe one day I will see Randy again, and I will do my best to make him proud of the life I lived after he passed.

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