March 10, 2011

New Normal

After we lost Cale we heard a lot about a "new normal" and how it will take time to find it. You will eventually go on with your life after a loss or tragedy, or any momentous event for that matter, not just the sad ones. In the process of finding your new normal you are in this weird limbo stage in life. Where life is moving forward around you, but you don't feel like you are moving with it. For me, it was hard to even want to "move on." I felt like moving on meant I was leaving something behind and I wasn't ready to do that. But what I realized is that moving on in life doesn't mean you are leaving anything behind. You find a way to live your life with all that has happened.

These last two weeks have been busy and very emotional, especially for Miles and his family. There were two beautiful funeral services for Daren, one in Wisconsin and one at West Point. There was also a short, but touching service for the burial at West Point this past Monday. Sadly, Daren is in good company. Located two spots down from him is a friend of mine and Miles - Nick Dewhirst. Nick was killed in Afghanistan in July 2008. We were able to visit Nick for a little bit before Daren's service began. There is comfort in knowing that Daren is with other heroes, other people who gave their lives in service to this country and that they are all in a place where they will always be remembered and honored, even long after we, their friends and family, are all gone from this earth.

In the time it takes for Miles' family to find their new normal, I can only hope that the wonderful outpouring of support they've received in the last two weeks continues in the weeks and months (and years) to follow. Losing Cale was {hopefully} the hardest thing I've had to go through and ever will (I can't imagine much worse), but I lost a son I never got to know. Daren was with his family for almost 25 years. If you Google his name, you can read endless articles about him and get just a small glimpse at what an impact he had on so many. I know, firsthand, that it will NEVER get old for people to tell Miles and his family how sorry they are for their loss, or how they think of their son, their brother, from time to time, how they are thinking of them, praying for them, etc. So if you are reading this and you know them, please don't ever stop reaching out. Be the support that they will need to find their new normal. And if you don't know his family, don't feel that you can't reach out. There are so many other ways to help bring even the smallest bit of comfort to a grieving family. It doesn't have to be Daren's family either. Unfortunately, since Daren died, there have been thirteen other US Soldiers who have been killed in Afghanistan during combat. Thirteen other families are grieving the loss of their son, their brother, cousin, uncle, brother-in-law, nephew, etc. People all over the country, all over the world, are struggling to find their new normal. And it's not just those who have lost someone who was killed in action, maybe it was a grand-parent, a teenager, a baby. Every day someone is struggling just to get through the day and it's ok to help them. Because tomorrow it could be you.

So, after my little ramble, I've included some information about a Memorial Fund that has been established in honor of Daren. He wanted to help set up scholarships for wrestler's at his high school as well as help wounded Soldiers. But I didn't write all that to try to guilt anyone into making a donation. I wrote it in the hopes that you share the sentiment with others (heck, feel free to share the blog), and hopefully people will never stop reaching out, never stop acknowledging Daren and the way he lived his life, and that random acts of kindness and small gestures of love will help bring peace to all those with heavy hearts.

Daren M. Hidalgo Memorial Fund
US Bank (#182374571624)
2040 West Silvernail Road
Pewaukee, WI 53072
*Donations can be mailed to the above or made at any US Bank - all you have to do is give them Daren's name.


  1. Oh my goodness Caroline. I am so sorry to hear this news.

  2. Always thinking of you and Miles. Lots of love, my sweet friend.

  3. Daren sounds and looks like a wonderful man.
    I am so sorry, and so sad, that he died.

    What you wrote about moving forward and the new normal is so true. I've been there. I am there. I'm working on it, just as anyone who has loved a loved one has too.

  4. Stopping by from Rhiannon's blog. I'm so incredibly sorry to hear of the loss of Daren and sorry too that you have experienced the loss of your son. You're right it takes awhile to adjust to that new normal after losing such a significant person in your life. Sending hope that you and Daren's family are able to find the strength you need for this difficult journey ((hugs))

  5. I haven't stopped thinking of you and Miles and the rest of Daren's family since I found out about this. I've added you all to prayers lists and have prayed for you all without ceasing.

    Hoping that everyone is feeling the peace that passes understanding.

    Sending lots of love.

  6. Once again, Caroline, thank you for sharing your thoughts and emotions. May your new normal bring you peace. With much love, your "aunt-in-law" and friend!

  7. Caroline, I agree completely that everyone wants their loss acknowledged. I am so sorry for the loss of Darren, I love reading stories about him and seeing his pictures. I know that he had a full life, even in his short time.

    Praying for God's peace for MIles' family and you. Knowing that God is capable of healing our hurting hearts, it just often takes a long process. Praying that the process would be healing and just what they need.