An American soldier’s wife is remembering her late husband through the love letters he wrote to her before his deployment.
Caela Marie Collette, 27, married her husband, Spc. Joseph P. Collette, 29, in December just before he was deployed to Afghanistan. But after finding out that he died in combat on Thursday evening, Caela is sharing on how she’s keeping Joey’s legacy alive.
In an interview with Stars and Stripes, Caela called her husband “the most genuine person you’ll ever meet,” and talked about the plans that they had as a couple for the summer when he was supposed to be returning stateside.
“We didn’t have our full ceremony yet because we didn’t have time,” she told the publication. “We got married less than a month before he deployed, and then when he returned in June we were going to fly to Florida and have a ceremony there.”
The couple even had plans to have children together (each have two kids from prior relationships). Now, Caela’s been left to mourn what could have been, while also making sure that people remember her husband and how dedicated he was to serving his country.
“He told me that as soon as 9/11 happened, when we were kids, he knew right then that he wanted to join the Army,” Caela said. “He was getting out of the Army in February next year and had never been on deployment. He wanted to go on deployment badly.”
And although his death is hard to come to terms with, the widow was faced with a pleasant surprise from her husband just after he left for Afghanistan that’s been allowing her to get through her grief.
“He wrote about 30 love letters and hid them in random places around the house for me to find, which I found most of them,” she explained. “It was really comforting sitting down, reading through those, because it’s almost like he was preparing for this exact scenario.”
Caela took to her Facebook page to share the sad news of Joseph’s death with friends and family, along with one of his favorite photos.
She has since posted again to ask for privacy so that their family can “grieve privately.”
“Thank you all so much,” she wrote. “All of this support really means the world to me.”
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