I’m sitting here tonight, sipping a margarita and listening to music, and that old familiar feeling is creeping up again. I just can’t believe I’ll never see this face staring back at me again.
You know, the funny thing is I used to always comfort myself during your deployments by thinking of all the people we knew who had deployed and come home safely. (Not that I want any of you to feel badly, stop it! I love you guys.) I used to think, ‘What are the odds, really? All these people deployed, many of them multiple times, and they are just fine. The odds are in our favor, it won’t happen to us.’ What a fool I was.
This deployment, something felt different from the very beginning. We both kept telling ourselves, and each other, that it was because of Little Man. Having him added a whole new element. It was harder for you to leave, it was harder for me to be without you. But I think, deep down, we both knew something else was up. You found ways to call me more, we spoke deeper and about things of more substance. I remember your last phone call, in particular. I felt especially afraid about what lay ahead of you that day and distinctly remember saying, “We’re so close. Please be extra careful. Most everyone we know who has died over there were in their last few weeks.” And you reassured me that you would be extra vigilant and on top of your game, because you were a few weeks away. And I never doubted your ability, I never thought anything would happen because of anything you did. If it did, it would be because of something completely beyond anyone’s control. And that was what scared me the most. How do you not fear the unknown?
Now my life without you is nothing but the unknown. These days a few new emotions have been added the sadness, grieving, and shock: anger and complete bewilderment. I just don’t understand. How can something so completely random, a freak chance when everything was being done right, choose YOU? Out of all of those odds that used to comfort me, how were we the ones who fell in the unfortunate percentage this time? And why? I swear, if one more person tells me that everything has a reason and there was a purpose behind this, I’m going to finally let the scream out that has been building for 19 months. There is no reason in taking a new father from his son he only got 3 months with. There is no reason in parting two soul mates who exist synchronously. There is no reason behind two parent losing their first born, or a young man embarking on adulthood losing his older brother’s guidance. There is no reason behind two teammates watching their friend die right in front them.
I’m angry at God, there I said it. I can’t help but question a God who allowed to happen the very thing I prayed continuously not to happen. The God I knew was a God of love, and there is no love in this. There is no love in taking away someone so important to so many. If He has a reason, I want to know it. And I can only hope that one day I will. Because I’ve never felt further away from Him as I do now. At the time when I should be able to rely on His comfort and peace, I feel nothing but resentment and doubt. I can only hope that He understands why I feel this way and will show me one day. Maybe that will guide me back, maybe not.
This grieving thing sucks. So many times I’ve wished it would just all go away, but it won’t. I’ve finally accepted that I’ll always be a grieving widow, no matter where life takes me from here. It’s a tough thing to handle, to know that I will never be the same and will never be quite whole or blindly happy or live life without a care again. It’s my goal to try to find a way to get back there again, for you. I know you would want that, you said it yourself several times. But I also know you would understand. You would also grieve the loss of carefree happy Erin, just as I do some days. Oh what I would give for a single day, a single hour, of that back. Of us, of you. But here we are.
Sometimes, on nights like tonight, I’ve never felt further away from you. I can’t feel you, I can’t sense you, I can’t even picture you as clearly as I would like. The little details, like how your eyes would crinkle when you smiled and what your hands looked like….they are starting to slip away. Our many amazing memories, they are getting harder to recall. It breaks the small pieces of my heart that are left into even smaller pieces. How can something that defines me so much and means so much to me, be slipping out of my grasp? If this is happening now, what will I remember when I’m 70? When we were supposed to be sitting in the rocking chairs on our front porch, scaring the neighborhood children by yelling at imaginary squirrels? I can’t stand the thought of sitting in that chair alone, struggling to even remember you, much less have you next to me.
Oh boy. This post is getting away from me. Time for another margarita.