Thursday, June 30, 2011

"A leper came to [Jesus] and kneeling down begged him and said, 'If you wish, you can make me clean.' Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, 'I do will it. Be made clean.'"

As I read through Mark's Gospel tonight, I found that passage so touching. Oftentimes I pray, demanding God to help me, or begging his help. Wanting the control back. Wanting to maintain power. This man knelt before Jesus, and left the power where it belongs: Jesus. And he was rewarded...he was cured.

I've struggled since Richard left. After our good-bye, I refused to admit that it hurt as badly as it did; I refused to admit I was vulnerable and alone. So, I pretended...and crashed. This last week has been super tough for me, and I was literally brought to my knees in my sadness over Richard leaving again. I frantically searched for answers as to why I was so sad, in my desperation to maintain control. I begged God to take away my sadness.

And then, I hit bottom. I sat in the corner of my room, sobbing. I looked up and out my bedroom window into the evening sky and finally admitted it. "I miss him, God. Will you please help me?" And He did. He has given me such graces the last few days, and made clear His message. "It's okay to hurt--it's going to hurt," the old Irish priest said. And relief entered me. "It's what you do with that hurt--give it to Jesus." And I have. Repeatedly. It's not gone, but I feel better. Each day, I feel more peace.

No one told me this chapter was going to be easy, no one told me it would be short. No one told me I'd have a beautiful year without my husband. They were honest. It's going to be really hard, they said. It's going to seem like a lifetime. It's going to hurt. And it does. But, it's what I do with that hurt, with the occasional grief, that matters. And I know, now. Humbly present it to Jesus, and He will give me peace.

If you wish, Lord, you can make me clean....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hope isn't just a virtue. For some, it's a way to survive.

I sat for two hours looking at them. Dreaming. Hoping. Envisioning the three, er four, of us living there. Living there together. At the same time. Imagining the feet walking through the rooms, the dinners around the table. Scouring the floor plans, drinking in the photos.

In one, the morning sun streamed through giant windows into the room--across the wooden floors and up the sunshine-colored walls. It took my breath away. In a moment, I could see myself standing there in the morning, holding my coffee and watching my husband finish his breakfast while the children played in the other room.

I felt peace. I felt hope.

And those virtues get me through.

I must have something to cling to--some happy thought or possibility. And there are some right now. Most known to one person, who is a world away wishing for the same dreams, hoping for the same possibilities. Little things. We speak of them often the last few days, and that makes me feel worlds closer to him. Makes me feel more happy and the days more bearable. Especially right now.

And so, as we move forward, I continue to dream those quiet dreams, foster that intimate hope. I imagine our lives. Together. In the same house. Finally living the same life.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"I breathe in...

I breathe out...

Put one foot in front of the other...

Take one day at a time..."

I am a control freak. Having a firm grasp on day to day life and my foreseeable future gives me confidence and, yes, control. So, when I feel as though the rug has been torn out from under me, when I feel like I am having to start again, it's the most frustrating thing.

"Old habits die hard." Not always. I thought that, when Richard left, I'd be okay. Cry a little, go to bed that night, and wake up in the groove which we'd had for four months before he came home. After all, that's a long time--four months. Especially compared to fourteen days. So, I thought we'd enjoy his time home and revert to our previous routine.


I'm not as discouraged and saddened as I was the day he boarded that bus--that was probably the hardest day and week of my life. However, I am surprised just how sad I am. He was only home two weeks. Yet, in a matter of days, that man had ingrained himself back into my life, our daughter's life, our home life. Part of me wanted to fight it, especially knowing he'd be going again. But, I caved. I made myself cave. Even with only fourteen days at home, I wanted as close to normal as we could have.

And we got it.

And now, I am left, once again, readjusting. And I hate readjusting (Yes, that did just come from a former military brat and current military wife). I feel...out of control. The tears, the ache, the loneliness. All of them are signs I am not on top of things. So, I slowly tighten my grip on what I do have in my grasp.

One breath. One Prayer. This moment.

And I move one putting one foot in front of the other, this time having the comfort of knowing that I will again gain a sense of confidence and routine. Knowing that this time, I will see him again, that we will be a family again. That may be a long time off, but I am just working on today. Right now. This moment.

The rest will come. And, before I know it, I will be okay again.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It felt like a prolonged sunset--there was a sense of relaxation and letting go after long and arduous work. There was a definitive and nearly tangible sense of evading peace, something that had been missing before. He was home.

I'll never forget seeing his real live self walk into the airport. Seeing our daughter instantly recognize her Daddy and leap into his arms. I'll never forget the feeling of that first hug--a real hug from my husband. Giving him a kiss for the first time in months. The whole way home, I kept wanting to reach out and touch him, to make sure it was real. We were finally whole again, in so many ways.

I prayed time would crawl. And it did. As I look back, R&R seemed to have lasted a month, instead of a mere fourteen days. But, oh, was it sweet. Mornings of sleeping in with my husband, sliding over and cuddling. Waking up our daughter together, having breakfast, lunch, dinner. Together. Everything. Together. Vacations, family visits, Mass. Together.

He felt the baby kick. Elizabeth played with him on the floor. I hugged him. So much. I wanted to take very opportunity to touch him as possible, and I did. Hugs, kisses, holding his hand. We cooked together, talked together, prayed together. We shared laughs over silly things again.

And now he's gone. Again. The house has that pervading emptiness, and my heart aches deeply. The man I love has returned to the mission. And now, I sit by a computer and phone constantly again. I wait and worry. Again.

This lifestyle is so hard, with its ups and downs. Watching my daughter frantically search for Daddy all afternoon and evening, desperately calling his name. Hearing her scream from her crib every few minutes this evening, hoping he'll come in again and snuggle with her in the dark. Feeling as though this pain in my chest will never subside, that seven months is awfully long time to go without seeing one's best friend.

I will never take my husband for granted again. I did before. His presence, his realness. The constant opportunity to tangibly feel his presence. The help, the silent little favors done everyday. Someone to talk to, sit with, live with.

I know that will come. I know we will be family again someday. Until then, I move forward for the same reason I shared with him in the car today: I move forward for him. When the chips are down, when I feel as though I can't go on, I tell myself I must. For my Soldier. And I do.

So, tonight, as the pain and heartache tear into me, I move forward. I take each breath and put one foot forward for him. We will get through this, just as he said. We had to say good-bye so that we can say hello again. And, God willing, next time we say hello, it won't be followed by another good-bye.