Even If

Even If

It hit me that next month it will be three years since Phil was killed.  The journey of finding who I am without my Phil, who I have been called to be since the death of my Phil, and trying to dream of a future without my Phil has been fraught with land mines and set backs.  Granted, as time marches on, the setbacks and land mines are fewer, however life looms large without those dreams, that love, Phil’s shining star, and dare I say, happiness and humor?  I am not unhappy, but it is a sense of being adrift without an anchor or a home base.  Time has dulled the pain of knowing that I will never have the home that was Phil.  Time has dulled the ache of thinking he will walk through the door with his jaunty, “Hi, honey!.”  Time has muted the crushing pain of thinking of living without my Phil, yet what now?  Is my life really over at 52?  
I have been feeling less than stellar health-wise.  My body hurts.  Come to find out it was a thyroid that doesn’t want to work and that medication will kick in at some point, however, hurting, feeling blah, and dealing with the the grayness of winter, has put the self-doubt back into my heart.  Is there ever going to be more than work, running, and school?  School ends in 8 weeks.  My five children live all over the world.  School has consumed my time, but what happens 9 May?  What happens when I do not have papers and tests to fill those lonely hours?  I have changed and that change is the singular reason that I can’t even begin to say with certainty that I know where I will live, what I will be doing professionally, or even if there will be room to love again.
For many years, I was the quiet shy girl who was quite content to live in the orbit of Phil and the military world.  I knew who I was in this world.  I fit.  Even if the moves came more frequent than I sometimes wanted, and even if I had to give up jobs or friendships, I knew that I would find a way to make my base house a home again.  You see, we lived on base until we got to Colorado.  I liked that my neighbors all understood the life, the pressures, and that we all shared certain experiences.  It was a sisterhood where I knew the rules and where I always fit.  
I don’t fit any where right now.  I still feel like a military spouse, but I am not.  I am filled with a longing and a sense of purpose, however, to work with the military.  I am not sure if it is my way to stay connected to the only life I have known in my adulthood, but I think it is about something more.  I finally get this life on so many levels.  I was an enlisted wife for 22 years (if you count my first marriage) and an officer’s wife for ten years.  I am a military mom of four children serving.  I have worked federal service both NAF and APF.  More than that, I know the cost of tdys, moves, RIFS, Force Shaping, but more than that, I understand military loss.  I understand what it is to be waiting for someone that is never going to come home.  I understand what it is like to have but every dream and hope into a life that is no longer mine.  I understand what it is to feel like I no longer fit and that nobody can understand the journey, yet never has the fire blazed hotter than now.  I was called for this moment.
I know that there are others better equipped to speak and to write, however, I write to process the pain and the journey.  It touches some people and in that sharing of my painful journey, a purpose has sparked.  Unbelievably, healing has happened as a part of sharing my journey because I have let people share it with me.  I stand at crossroads right now, though.  What if do not get a job?   It is a scary thought to leap without a safety net.  It is a scary thought to have to trust myself.  I never have.  I know that I will know more on 29 April, but either way, it involves risk and knowing that this risk will be the path for the next 7 years at least.  Trusting myself?  I am not good at that, but I am getting better at taking some chances.
It is in the making of plans for a future and a location, it is in the small steps of eating out once in awhile or in taking a risk and trying new things alone, that I am discovering that I am capable, more than capable, but I want more.  I want a looking glass into my future.  I hope for the job, but even if that does not happen, I will keep working and speaking on the impact of military loss and the walking wounded.  I want a chapter two, but I do not know if that will happen.  I hope that I do not have to face illness or death alone, but even if I do, I will fall into my faith and find strength there.  I want to share the happy times and to share dreams again, but even if that is in the past, I am thankful for the life I have had and the life I still have left. 
I am not sure how to deal with the acute loneliness and the longing I have to share the journey with another person, but even if I am alone for the rest of my days, I am thankful that there is absolutely no desire to date just to date, sleep with people just to ease the loneliness, and there is no desire to be someone that I am not.  I am a patient girl, but even if this is all there is, I trust that it will become enough at some point.  Three years in, I am learning that I am enough and even if….even if this is all there is, it will be enough.


  1. Hugs! I never felt at home or OK with our military life at the our first station until we moved on base. We have only lived on base less than a year and will be moving, but you nailed it. It is a sisterhood and feeling like nothing else.

    • You know, when I became a military wife at 21, I felt like I would never fit into the world of the military spouses, yet these women became my sisters. We laughed together, cried together, got through holidays and births of our children without our spouses, surgeries, and even PCSed alone. From the minute I moved into base housing any where, there was always a sister waiting.


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