Facebook keeps track of our daily lives more than we realize at times. This tragic story about love and loss between two young people as their relationship was documented on Facebook, and it all started with a simple beginning, “I don’t actually remember meeting Will for the first time. He came to my high school in Seattle sophomore year, but I didn’t develop a crush on him until the next summer…” Kimmy Kirkwood and Will Stacey went to the same high school and ran within the same group of friends. Kimmy had a crush on Will, but it wasn’t reciprocated. They lost touch after graduation. Kimmy went to school at Chapman University and Will enlisted in the Marines.
Kimmy soon learned Will was stationed only 20 miles south of her campus. He came to visit once with friends and they hit it off.
However, Kimmy was reluctant to get into a relationship. Then, Will was deployed for seven months.
“Will returned from his deployment in July 2008, and we met at a party in Seattle later that summer. We were surrounded by people, but somehow spent the entire night together, and fell asleep talking around 5 a.m. From the moment we woke up a couple of hours later, we were inseparable. I don’t know why it worked this time, but something clicked.”
Once they were together, Kimmy and Will were incredibly close. Unfortunately, she was set to study abroad and he was going back to Afghanistan, so they wouldn’t see each other for another 4 months.
“Babe, I hope and pray that this afternoon was not the last time I will ever see you again. I will never make promises that I cannot keep, and I cannot promise my absolute safety. But I can promise this. You are what drives me. I’ve already taped your picture to my rifle. You are what I wake up to in the morning, and what drives me through the day. Kimmy, you have finally given me something to fight to come home to. And until the day that I can step foot back on American soil, and come back to you, I will keep in my head every memory that I have of you and will hold close the memories that are to come. I love you too. Will”
Because of communication difficulties, Will and Kimmy wrote each other letters. Will didn’t have internet and his satellite phone couldn’t call her Italian number.
However, they found a way to keep in touch. In December 2008, Will returned home and they spent 10 months together. They were blissfully happy together, even though Will had to cope with aspects of being a soldier that were difficult for him.
In September 2009, Will began another 7 month deployment in the South Pacific. He was pulled away to do something he couldn’t tell Kimmy and was out of contact for 2 months.
Thankfully, he returned home that April after being off the coast of Yemen, at sea for more than 100 days.
In May 2010, Will surprised Kimmy with a Cavachon named Otis (even though she could see it coming). He didn’t want her to be alone while he was away.
They lived together in a small studio in California. They spent time with friends, went out together and experienced a happy life without separation.
“This was also the summer Will decided to re-enlist. It was something he had talked a lot about so it didn’t come as a big surprise, but it was really hard on us. I really wanted to move on with our lives, and not deal with more deployments. But one of the things that I loved most about Will was his passion for his career. He felt his job wasn’t done, and was not ready to leave the military.”
“He was meritoriously promoted to Sergeant before re-enlisting, which was a testament to the quality of Marine he had become, and also volunteered to be part of an Embedded Training Team with a unit in the National Afghan Army.”
Kimmy and Will planned on getting engaged once he was back from Afghanistan for the final time. After what seemed like countless goodbyes and reunions, tragedy struck. “My world fell apart on Jan. 31, 2012. I was walking Otis before work, when Will’s dad called. He had been hit by an IED on patrol and was killed.” Another soldier killed in combat.
It was only 54 days before Will was scheduled to return home for good.
Before boarding a plane and flying home, Kimmy posted the only thing she knew to say: I am truly lost without you and will love you forever. You’re the best person I’ve ever known — with Will Stacey
From that moment on, her life was filled with tears, loving messages and loneliness. She would post pictures or conversations that she and Will had together to Facebook, to show people the parts of their relationship no one else saw. It helped keep his memory alive.
Then she realized something. If she ever missed Will or needed to be reminded of all of the wonderful times they had together, she could just go online. “Our entire relationship was documented, like a digital scrapbook with letters, conversations, photos, and videos.”
It’s hard to wrap one’s mind around the sacrifices soldiers and their families make for our country. Keep Will and Kimmy in your thoughts, as well as anyone else like them. They aren’t the only ones with a heartbreaking story like this.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.