Advice from Kimberly Vaughn, wife of Navy SEAL Aaron C. Vaughn, killed in action in Afghanistan August 6, 2011.
I met Kimberly, a former Redskins cheerleader and absolute beauty inside and out, at the bus stop when we moved to our new house. Each morning without fail, her first grader gets on the bus, slides down the window, blows his mother a kiss and gives “air hugs.” If Kimberly isn’t able to be at the bus stop, her mother or dad bring her son and complete the same routine. I commented to her one morning, “Your family is so filled with love–I absolutely love watching your morning ritual.” She smiled and said, “Well,before we head off to school we have to make sure to give air hugs to our daddy in heaven.” I thought to myself, what a blessing to Aaron that their entire family makes him a daily, loving presence to his children–the youngest being only two months old when he lost his life serving our country. I am attaching links to an article featured in Redbook Magazine featuring Kimberly’s story, a link to her foundation, Operation 300, an adventure camp for children who have lost a parent as a result of military service, and a link to the Facebook page, Find Aaron Vaughn’s Wedding ring. I am a big believer in hope and I know someone out there found Aaron’s ring and just needs to know where to return it– the details following her advice.
My husband was a Navy SEAL, and I knew his career was high risk. And after his death I became acutely aware of how delicate life is. It doesn’t take having someone deployed overseas to lose someone you love. For us, every conversation about death felt like peeling back another layer of our relationship. My advice is to talk about the small stuff: the details of what your spouse wants if they die… from who should be with them for notification; what picture(s) to use for a memorial program; who should speak at the service, whether they want to be cremated or not and where they desire to be buried (or buried at all). These details should all be discussed…especially those pesky money details. Unfortunately, I’ve seen way to many families fall apart over money.
Just avoid the “I knew him/her best and know they would want XYZ.” If conversations are had now where you can make known what you want, and share that with your loved ones (spouse, parents, siblings, etc.) events become much easier should death occur. I understand that details and decisions can be made after the death of a loved one and often do, but during the mass chaos of a death with heightened feelings, especially an untimely death…decisions are very difficult to make and often everyone wants to weigh in. Because my husband and I had talked about death and he had already told me what he wanted, I was easily able to make decisions without second guessing myself and knew I was doing what he wanted.
Please don’t delay having a talk about death with your loved ones…you might be surprised how alive it makes you feel in your relationship.
IF YOU HAVE SEEN OR FOUND MY PRECIOUS MEMENTO, PLEASE CONTACT ME, KIMBERLY VAUGHN AT NavySEALring@gmail.com
Aaron Vaughn (US Navy SEAL) was Killed in Action in Afghanistan on August 6th, 2011. I (Kimberly) wore his wedding band as a constant reminder of our love. Unfortunately I lost it on October 1st while traveling from Houston, TX (Houston George Bush Intercontinental airport) through the Charlotte, NC airport on my way back to Washington DC. Hopefully someone will find it?!
My path of mayhem… Saturday morning, October 1st at 8:30am I left the Super 8 hotel in Deer Park, TX and then returned a rental car (Orange colored Kia Soul) to IAH from Thrifty Rental car.
I checked in for US Airways flight 1864 out of IAH (Houston George Bush Intercontinental) and then went through security boarding my flight at gate A19. I sat in seat 18E of flight 1864.
In Charlotte I switched planes boarding US Airways flight 3127 to DCA (Washington’s Reagan Airport) at gate C13. I did stop at a women’s restroom … hopefully it did not slip off my hand when I washed/dried them… Then a quick stop at TCBY and finally boarded at gate C13. I sat in seat 10A when the horrible realization hit me… I HAD LOST MY HUSBAND’S WEDDING BAND! A flight attendant took every step to help me find it aboard, but to no avail (even dismantling my seat to check every crevice!)
The ring is white gold with a flat edge and brushed satin finish. Size 9 1/2. “Kimberly” is engraved on the inside, but it’s so worn, it might not be visible.
Aaron Vaughn Memorial Page: https://www.facebook.com/In-Memory-of-Navy-SEAL-SOC-Aaron-Carson-Vaughn-176853535717084/
Kimberly is a Senior Program Manager for a government consulting, CACI. She’s also in her 4th year of studies with Bellevue University obtaining her PhD in Human Capital. Kimberly Vaughn currently resides in Virginia Beach, VA with her their two children, Reagan (7 yrs) and Chamberlyn (5 yrs). In her spare time, she helps support Operation300, a 501(c)3 not for profit organization started in her husband’s honor, which hosts adventure camps for children who have lost a parent as a result of military service and seeks to honor the families of the fallen. www.Operation300.com