She may attend the Memorial Day ceremony at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, where the keynote address will be made by a Marine general.
"I want to see it," she said of the ceremony. "I want to feel it. Maybe if I see the love and support, it will feel right again, because now nothing feels right. I don't want to go to a pool party or barbecue."
Heather was at the Dover base when her husband's casket arrived. She was accompanied by a casualty assistance officer from Camp Pendleton. Four other Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians were on the tarmac, along with the white-gloved Marine "carry team" to lift the casket gently from the cargo plane.
Days later, when her husband's body arrived at the mortuary in Oceanside, she stayed with the casket all night. "I couldn't leave him alone," she said.
When his unit returns from Afghanistan later this year, there will be a ceremony and his ashes will be interred at Rosecrans.
Until then, they are in an urn that she keeps in her bedroom. "It's like he's somehow still with me," Heather said. "There's no right way to do this; there's no right way to be a widow."
She could stay in her Camp Pendleton home for another year, but she may leave sooner. The Fankhausers had a plan in case he did not return from deployment: She would buy a home in San Diego and go to college, maybe become a therapist or counselor.
"When your husband is EOD," she said, "you have to have a plan."