Loneliness That Stretches Into Forever

Loneliness That Stretches Into Forever

I am too young to be alone.  At 53, all I have known is being married and having children at home.  I never expected that the year my last child left the house my husband of 23 years would deploy and not come home.  Through the many military moves, my Phil and I drew closer and closer until our circle of support was the two of us and our children.  I expected my children to grow up and leave the house, but never once on this deployment did I worry about his safety.  Sure, the year was a nuisance, but I could be lonely and waiting for a year.  What happens when he didn’t come home?

It has been almost four years since Phil’s death and the loneliness that was once masked by the body aching grief and shock I felt initially is multiplying.  Everywhere I turn, I am alone.  Even in work, I am largely in a solitary office.  I run alone, I live alone, and I travel alone.  When I travel, the hardest part is the airport.  There are so many happy reunions and families traveling together that it literally reminds me of all that is gone.  My dream of growing old and sitting on a porch watching our grandchildren in WA state evaporated into a mirage of nothingness when one man decided that Phil’s life didn’t matter.  We had put off vacations together, dreamt of grandchildren, and eagerly awaited out next and last assignment before returning to the United States Air Force Academy to finish a career that we had walked together. I didn’t prepare for any deviations and nobody prepared me for the ache of loneliness, the ache of wanting, and the silence that echoes off of the walls as the screams and laughter of five children once resounded.

Just as I once felt that the loud chaos of having many children would never end, this is twenty times worse.  Instead of having the chaos to fill my hours, I have time and resources where I want to do things with someone.  I once relished quiet, but I find myself yearning for someone to laugh with, experience life with, and a new dream of growing old.  While it is far too soon to know if there will be a chapter two, I do know that Phil recognized that I would grow lonely.  In our last face to face conversation, we had the what if talk.  I wanted nothing to do with it until he stopped me with one simple question, “Would you want me to be happy again if you died first?”  Why yes, yes I would.  That is what he wanted for me, but I haven’t a clue where to begin, what I want, or even if it is possible.

There is no preparation and no mental game I can play to “get over” the loneliness.  In the initial aftermath of Phil’s death, my days were consumed by gut wrenching pain that never seemed to end.  That pain was followed by a numbness that allowed me to automatically persevere through the days.  I have found my footing in many ways, but my struggle is in wanting companionship and the laughter and fun my life once held.  That desire creates a conflict because it requires me to trust myself, others, and it requires leaning into that hope and letting go of the shroud of grief without losing sight of the love I once shared.

I do think it is more possible that I will spend the rest of my days alone and that is scary, horrifying, and crushing.  I am afraid of getting sick or dealing with a life event and having nobody to lean on just as much as I miss being the rock that was leaned on in times of crisis.  I miss being excited to go to a new place and being excited with someone.  I miss the laughter and knowing that nothing was ever as bad when the two of us faced whatever it was together.  I miss the hand on the small of my back and the eyes that lit up every time I walked in the door.  I miss sharing the life events of our children, the successes and the fears I carry. I ache for the laughter I once had in my life.  Loneliness is cold and unforgiving. Grief brought this imposter into my life and I do not think it is going any time soon.

Loneliness That Stretches Into Forever

I am too young to be alone.  At 53, all I have known is being married and having children at home.  I never expected that the year my last child left the house my husband of 23 years would deploy and not come home.  Through the many military moves, my Phil and I drew closer and closer until our circle of support was the two of us and our children.  I expected my children to grow up and leave the house, but never once on this deployment did I worry about his safety.  Sure, the year was a nuisance, but I could be lonely and waiting for a year.  What happens when he didn’t come home?

It has been almost four years since Phil’s death and the loneliness that was once masked by the body aching grief and shock I felt initially is multiplying.  Everywhere I turn, I am alone.  Even in work, I am largely in a solitary office.  I run alone, I live alone, and I travel alone.  When I travel, the hardest part is the airport.  There are so many happy reunions and families traveling together that it literally reminds me of all that is gone.  My dream of growing old and sitting on a porch watching our grandchildren in WA state evaporated into a mirage of nothingness when one man decided that Phil’s life didn’t matter.  We had put off vacations together, dreamt of grandchildren, and eagerly awaited out next and last assignment before returning to the United States Air Force Academy to finish a career that we had walked together. I didn’t prepare for any deviations and nobody prepared me for the ache of loneliness, the ache of wanting, and the silence that echoes off of the walls as the screams and laughter of five children once resounded.

Just as I once felt that the loud chaos of having many children would never end, this is twenty times worse.  Instead of having the chaos to fill my hours, I have time and resources where I want to do things with someone.  I once relished quiet, but I find myself yearning for someone to laugh with, experience life with, and a new dream of growing old.  While it is far too soon to know if there will be a chapter two, I do know that Phil recognized that I would grow lonely.  In our last face to face conversation, we had the what if talk.  I wanted nothing to do with it until he stopped me with one simple question, “Would you want me to be happy again if you died first?”  Why yes, yes I would.  That is what he wanted for me, but I haven’t a clue where to begin, what I want, or even if it is possible.

There is no preparation and no mental game I can play to “get over” the loneliness.  In the initial aftermath of Phil’s death, my days were consumed by gut wrenching pain that never seemed to end.  That pain was followed by a numbness that allowed me to automatically persevere through the days.  I have found my footing in many ways, but my struggle is in wanting companionship and the laughter and fun my life once held.  That desire creates a conflict because it requires me to trust myself, others, and it requires leaning into that hope and letting go of the shroud of grief without losing sight of the love I once shared.

I do think it is more possible that I will spend the rest of my days alone and that is scary, horrifying, and crushing.  I am afraid of getting sick or dealing with a life event and having nobody to lean on just as much as I miss being the rock that was leaned on in times of crisis.  I miss being excited to go to a new place and being excited with someone.  I miss the laughter and knowing that nothing was ever as bad when the two of us faced whatever it was together.  I miss the hand on the small of my back and the eyes that lit up every time I walked in the door.  I miss sharing the life events of our children, the successes and the fears I carry. I ache for the laughter I once had in my life.  Loneliness is cold and unforgiving. Grief brought this imposter into my life and I do not think it is going any time soon.

Loneliness That Stretches Into Forever

I am too young to be alone.  At 53, all I have known is being married and having children at home.  I never expected that the year my last child left the house my husband of 23 years would deploy and not come home.  Through the many military moves, my Phil and I drew closer and closer until our circle of support was the two of us and our children.  I expected my children to grow up and leave the house, but never once on this deployment did I worry about his safety.  Sure, the year was a nuisance, but I could be lonely and waiting for a year.  What happens when he didn’t come home?

It has been almost four years since Phil’s death and the loneliness that was once masked by the body aching grief and shock I felt initially is multiplying.  Everywhere I turn, I am alone.  Even in work, I am largely in a solitary office.  I run alone, I live alone, and I travel alone.  When I travel, the hardest part is the airport.  There are so many happy reunions and families traveling together that it literally reminds me of all that is gone.  My dream of growing old and sitting on a porch watching our grandchildren in WA state evaporated into a mirage of nothingness when one man decided that Phil’s life didn’t matter.  We had put off vacations together, dreamt of grandchildren, and eagerly awaited out next and last assignment before returning to the United States Air Force Academy to finish a career that we had walked together. I didn’t prepare for any deviations and nobody prepared me for the ache of loneliness, the ache of wanting, and the silence that echoes off of the walls as the screams and laughter of five children once resounded.

Just as I once felt that the loud chaos of having many children would never end, this is twenty times worse.  Instead of having the chaos to fill my hours, I have time and resources where I want to do things with someone.  I once relished quiet, but I find myself yearning for someone to laugh with, experience life with, and a new dream of growing old.  While it is far too soon to know if there will be a chapter two, I do know that Phil recognized that I would grow lonely.  In our last face to face conversation, we had the what if talk.  I wanted nothing to do with it until he stopped me with one simple question, “Would you want me to be happy again if you died first?”  Why yes, yes I would.  That is what he wanted for me, but I haven’t a clue where to begin, what I want, or even if it is possible.

There is no preparation and no mental game I can play to “get over” the loneliness.  In the initial aftermath of Phil’s death, my days were consumed by gut wrenching pain that never seemed to end.  That pain was followed by a numbness that allowed me to automatically persevere through the days.  I have found my footing in many ways, but my struggle is in wanting companionship and the laughter and fun my life once held.  That desire creates a conflict because it requires me to trust myself, others, and it requires leaning into that hope and letting go of the shroud of grief without losing sight of the love I once shared.

I do think it is more possible that I will spend the rest of my days alone and that is scary, horrifying, and crushing.  I am afraid of getting sick or dealing with a life event and having nobody to lean on just as much as I miss being the rock that was leaned on in times of crisis.  I miss being excited to go to a new place and being excited with someone.  I miss the laughter and knowing that nothing was ever as bad when the two of us faced whatever it was together.  I miss the hand on the small of my back and the eyes that lit up every time I walked in the door.  I miss sharing the life events of our children, the successes and the fears I carry. I ache for the laughter I once had in my life.  Loneliness is cold and unforgiving. Grief brought this imposter into my life and I do not think it is going any time soon.

Comments

  1. It is difficult to imagine how you feel. I am so very sorry for your loneliness. I will pray that you find some consolation.

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