Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Wife recalls Edward Garvin

As Melissa Garvin sat at her sister-in-law’s kitchen table she quietly and deliberately spread out pictures of her husband, Marine Lance Cpl. Edward Garvin.

She is trying to come to terms with the horrible news that she received last Wednesday, that her husband - a Malden native and 2005 graduate of Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School in Wakefield - was killed in action in Iraq last Wednesday, along with a fellow member of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force. Cpl. Garvin was 19 years old.

In the pictures she has chosen, he is not depicted in his military uniform. Rather he is shown in the way she will always remember him, in street clothing, laughing with friends, enjoying life and playing with their 2-year-old son.

Garvin points to a picture of the Marine whom friends affectionately called "Eddie," soaking wet and cleaning up a kitchen filled with soapsuds after using the wrong soap in the dishwasher. She then chuckles at another of him and his friends sharing a laugh about the incident.

"We called it our wedding shower," she remembers.

These are the pictures, she said, that show who her husband really was: A funny, happy optimistic man who loved his family and friends, and was looking forward to starting his new life with his childhood soul mate.

"We talked about this possibility of something like this before he left, although you never really expect it to happen," she said. "But he told me that if this happened he didn’t want anyone to cry for him. He wanted us to laugh and remember him for who he really was. I don’t want people to remember him as someone who died in Iraq. That wasn’t who he was. When he came home that uniform was off and he was just Eddie."

Cpl. Garvin was one of 10 Northeast seniors that joined the military in 2005. At the graduation ceremony, "God Bless America" was sung as those who enlisted stood on stage. He studied culinary arts and worked in a student-run dining room where he interacted with many people everyday.

"He was just a happy-go-lucky kind of kid," said Principal John Crowley. A moment of silence was observed in the school Oct. 6. A sign will be placed at the bottom of the hill in Garvin’s memory. "He was the first student from Malden and the first from Northeast," Crowley said. "Two terrible firsts."

Cpl. Garvin married Melissa, his childhood friend, in May of 2006, and was living near the Marine base in North Carolina when he was sent to Iraq. Despite an opportunity to request being one of 50 Marines to stay behind, his wife said that he made a selfless decision to go over, despite her pleas. He was there only one month before he was killed.

"I was mad at him when he told me because I knew that there were only 150 slots to go over there and there were 200 people in his unit, so I asked why he wouldn’t stay here," Melissa said. "And he told me that if he didn’t go over there then someone else would have to go and be away from their family."

As of Oct. 5, at least 2,736 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. At least 45 Massachusetts natives or residents have died in Iraq, according to an AP count.

Garvin said that the family appreciates the outpouring of support they have received since hearing of the news last week, but have also requested that people keep their distance so the family can have time to grieve and remember her husband.

She continues to look at her pictures and try to make sense of all that has happened in the last week. She is trying to come to terms with losing the man that she calls her soul mate and best friend, the man whom she hasn’t spent more than three days apart from since second grade, and the man she said will always be with her, no matter what has happened.

"They say when you get married ’till death do us part’ but that is a lie. I will always be with him," she said. "All I can ask people is to think of a memory that you have of Eddie and laugh about it. Even if it is just for two minutes, two seconds, just think of him as he really was and laugh, because that is what he would have really wanted."

Along with his wife, Melissa, Cpl. Garvin leaves behind his 2 year-old son, Grant, his mother Catherine Edwards and two siblings. Funeral arrangements are yet to be announced.

From the Wakefield Observer

Related Link:
Edward Garvin killed in combat operations