WESTPORT - Memorial Day can be difficult for those still reeling from the loss of loved ones.

Hannah Berg met Lance Cpl. Roger Muchnick in the seventh grade, at a YMCA teen night.

A jokester with a larger-than-life personality, Berg called Muchnick the "troublemaker" at Staples High School who stole her heart. But after graduating and moving on to college, she found out that Muchnick would be enlisting in the Marines.

Muchnick returned from one tour in Afghanistan and another in Kuwait, each time with smiles and lots of stories. But in March 2013, Berg received a call early in the morning. Muchnick was among seven Marines killed when a mortar exploded at an Army base in Nevada.

"I called his phone number. I just kept calling it. I was kind of sure it wasn't true," she said.

Berg found herself in denial.

"Sometimes I tell myself that it's just for a little while and then I realize no, he's really gone," she said.

Now two years later, the man she imagined growing old with is still living in her heart. And she's grateful that she knew him.

Muchnick died months before he was to leave for his third tour of duty. He was 23 years old.