"This has been a hard, horrible, terrible thing, for our family and for all of the other families involved," she said. "But I've felt the comfort of other people's prayer for us, and I've been comforted by my faith as I've tried to focus on the bigger, more eternal perspective.
"I've always been a believer," she continued, "but this week, going through this, I've really had to come to terms with everything I've thought and believed. And now that Andrew is gone, I find that I don't think or hope or believe that I'll be with him again — I know that I will. Through this hard, hard time, I've felt my hope turning into belief and then turning into knowledge."
And as she prepares to say her final earthly goodbyes to her beloved Andrew this week — his funeral will be held at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, Ariz., on Wednesday at 1 p.m. — she finds herself responding to one question over and over.
“People ask me, 'Were you always afraid this would happen?' " Juliann said. "And yes, the possibilities are always in the back of your mind. But I was never really afraid. Maybe I should have been. I just knew that he loved what he did. It’s who he was. And I didn’t want to live every day worried. So our family just prayed for him and loved him and enjoyed each other, every day we were together.”
Still, she understands how an event like this can trigger fearful feelings in the hearts and minds of countless others who send loved ones off to work every day as firefighters, police officers, military personnel and other high-risk jobs. To them she simply says, "Treasure every day."
"These men and women, all of them, are heroes," she continued. "I just keep thinking about how incredible they all are, the important work they do and how they do it for the well-being and benefit of others. As far as I'm concerned, I'm just humbled and honored that one of them chose to marry me."
The one they called "Choice."
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