Ooh, That Smell

I carry a stench, the rotting odor of one who has been touched by death.  I carry the putrid smell of one who has lost so tragically and so horrifically that no words can soothe or gloss over the details.  After four years, one would assume that I would be looked at as more than my story, but I am left to wonder if I will always be someone set off, broken, or a titillating story to most people.  While I recognize that these days leading to the 27th will always cause me to take pause, this year I am cowering in a very real way.  I am ready to shut down and run away.

I had come so far.  I even began to actively engage in wanting to date again.  It was exciting for about one second.  What is it about me?  I get very little attention and the attention I get is not what I want.  I feel attraction and want, but I cannot be with a married man.  I can’t be the tartlet option.  I felt a connection with someone just to find out that he felt it also, but that he is engaged.  I call it the trauma connection.  We both have had major trauma in our lives.  The problem is that I do not want that to be why I am with somebody.  I do not want my trauma or tragedy to bring people who want to fix me or “make me feel better.”

I am shutting down because it is horrifying to be seen as someone who needs to be fixed or a plaything on the side.  It is crazy awful to be considered attractive and unapproachable due to events beyond my control.  I am not interested in being fixed or fixing.  I am just interested in being better with someone than apart, laughing until my sides hurt, experiencing life together, and growing old with someone.  I want someone to be proud of me and to see me as a person to show the world versus hiding the stinky widow.

While I am not going to run away, I fight for that one, I am closing off my heart.  There are no choices.  Perhaps it is the job I do.  Perhaps it is the transparent journey, but I am about so much more.  Who knew that becoming a widow at 49 would mean that my life as someone who can be the best friend, the lover, the helpmate, all of it, would be over the moment Phil died.  I want to believe it is possible to be seen as someone who is more than the sum of what happened, but my job and my lifework involve  telling my story.  Perhaps that is the problem, but I cannot quench the blazing fire.  I am well aware that I have a small window of opportunity to work (retirement looms).  I am well aware that I am in a unique position to change my big Air Force in small ways that can help those coming after me.  I am cognizant of the fact that my training is unique enough that our future leaders are seeing first hand the importance of resiliency.  I just can’t have a life with it.  I carry that smell, that cloying smell, of a girl who has seen too much and lost even more.


  1. Pete Murray says:

    Hang in there, Linda. We keep you in our thoughts and prayers
    Claudia & Pete


  1. […] Ooh, That Smell. […]

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