After losing her husband during deployment overseas and then suffering the loss of her baby girl, Jamie courageously opens up and shares how “Little Miss” has brought a voice to her and other military widows. There is light shining by the end of Jamie’s story and we are reminded that it will be alright again.
Hi, my name is Jamie and I am from Massachusetts. Like all of you, I’ve been an avid Sugarland fan for some time now. Their music is undoubtedly inspirational, and several songs pinpoint different times in my life – happy, sad, and in between! I’ve even turned my boyfriend (who HATED country music when we started dating) into a huge country music fan, mostly through Sugarland! I love, love, love the video you have made and I hope it reaches and inspires all the little misses out there who need it! Anyway, here’s my Little Miss story. (Sorry it is so long!!!…) I’ve also attached some pictures! I think the lyrics that stand out most to me are: “Little Miss hide your scars, Little Miss who you are is so much more than you like to talk about.”… And here is why…
In the spring of 2007 I married my wonderful husband, Shane, who was a SGT in the U.S. Army. We spent the next several months happily anticipating the birth of our daughter, Mackenzie, who arrived beautiful and healthy Sept 11 of that year. His unit had deployed days before, but he was lucky enough to stay behind for her birth. Unfortunately 2 weeks later he had to deploy for a 15-month deployment to Iraq. Through this time I updated him with pictures and videos of our growing baby girl. He came home for leave in May of 2008 and we spent a blissful 2 weeks being a family together. However, the day that rocked my world came June 4, 2008 when my husband was killed in action during a firefight against insurgents shortly after his return there from leave. He and 2 other brave soldiers lost their lives that day fighting for our country and the freedoms we are blessed to have.
The following days and weeks and months were a blur of grief, uncontrollable bursts of crying, anger, despair, and at the same time honoring my beautiful husband. The outpouring of love and support by other Americans was humbling and poignant. I knew my husband would always be honored and remembered. That brought me many levels of comfort, but I was still left to face the facts: I was 23, and a widow and single mother. I had lost my best friend, and didn’t know how to move forward. I was lost, I made mistakes, and at times fell flat on my face. There were days I couldn’t get out of bed and there were nights I never made it there because I was wide awake. (“Little miss one big mess”). I was truly desperate, but focused all my energy, love and devotion on our baby daughter. Caring for her helped me get through the worst of it all. Each day, I got a little stronger. I thought of how Shane, my late husband, had a love of life that I had never seen, and still have never seen in anyone else. For him, and for our daughter I had to get myself together and start living again. I went back to college and started towards my teaching degree. For the first time in a while I felt important again. I felt like I had a purpose. I wouldn’t ever call learning to live without someone you love as “moving on” but I’ve taken my precious memories, and hold close the love we shared to help me learn to live happily again. “I’m OK”
About a year after my husband was killed I started to become very close with a friend of ours, and the man my husband had chosen to be the godfather of our daughter. I knew how fondly my late husband talked about him, and so that drew me to him. Through our closeness and in leaning on each other through both of our losses, a mutual love and respect flourished, and at a point when I never thought or was looking for love to enter my life again – I found just that. I was a lucky woman to have found a beautiful, loyal man to love and marry…But twice? Life does go on, and God truly has a master plan. I saw that: “It’ll be alright again…” About a year after we began dating we found out we were expecting a baby girl in the fall. At a time when my daughter (then 3 years old) really started asking questions about Heaven and her daddy, we were excited to welcome a baby sister for her. She couldn’t be happier and talked constantly about teaching her to walk, and watching her favorite movies, and playing with her. Our lovely baby girl Elliana Claire was born in October 2010. We were thrilled and I found once again what true joy was the day she was born. She was a beautiful, happy, healthy baby girl. But, after two amazing months with our angel, on December 17, 2010 I felt the wrenching pains of extreme loss once again: Our almost 2-month old daughter died in her sleep that night. We are still awaiting the results as to why this happened, and even with a physical reason, our true questions of “Why?” can never be answered. I am 26 years old and I have a husband and baby daughter waiting for me in Heaven. The throes of grief were brought on my family once again, and they are something I am still working my way, stumbling, through.
The reason Little Miss resonates with me is because many times with grief people try to hurry others along, see them “well” again, everything goes back to being as it was, and the grievers are often left to wear a mask of happiness. The socially acceptable ‘allotted time’ for grief is over and many people return to a state of “every man” or “every woman”. They try to be everything for everyone else, giving off the impression that they have it all under control. Little Miss: “brand new start” “do your part” “never rest” “hide your scars”. For this reason it reminds me of all the military widows I’ve been fortunate enough to meet over the last 3 years. It is a terrible way to have to be connected, but we are forever connected nonetheless. I am grateful for knowing them. This song reminds me of all of us, each with our own stories, and I dedicate it to all of them. I’ve seen some of these women at their worst, and find joy in seeing them get to a place where they CAN truly say “I’m OK”. I also dedicate it to my daughter – (who already calls Sugarland her favorite…I’ve started her young!). I hope someday to be able to show her she doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as love leads her heart she will be alright.
I know that things can be “alright again”, that I am strong and that I can persevere even in the worst of circumstances. Though I am not there yet this time. It will be 3 months on the 17th since we lost our daughter, but not a day goes by where she, and my late husband aren’t on my mind and in my heart. Life isn’t perfect, and we all must deal with the hand we’re dealt. Even after all I’ve been through I know there are still others out there that are worse off than I am. I am lucky still to have a beautiful daughter, and a man who loves me entirely. I hope one day to work with bereaved families and share love and optimism in their most troubling of times. I am forever indebted to my wonderful family and friends, and also Sugarland because of the wonders their music has done for me. On those desperate days with nothing left to care for, a song like “Little Miss” comes and reminds me that I am a strong woman. I have been through Hell and back, and I can make it through…I will be OK.
On a much lighter side note, my boyfriend and I plan to get married and our wedding song of choice: Sugarland’s “Shine the Light”.