Learning to Love Again

Weekends are difficult. I can stay busy and connected to people through the week, but on those weekends when I am not gone to a marathon, with my grandchildren, or doing something with TAPS, the hours mount. School consumes my hours outside of work, but there is going to come a day where I am finished. Then what? This loneliness is what Phil knew would happen to me and why he pressed on with the what if talk as our last face to face conversation.

Never would I have imagined that this critical conversation would come to mean so much to me. When I made jokes about Raul, the pool boy (and I do not know any Raul’s and I do not have a pool), Phil stopped me with one singular question: “If you die first, would you want me to find happiness again?” Why, yes, yes I would because I loved him that much. He loved me that much. As he drew me into his arms and tipped my chin to kiss me, he talked of my heart and how much I had to give to people. I had just sent my last two babies to college and I foolishly thought that I would like getting my house in order, having time and resources for Phil and I, and I even thought that the quiet would be nirvana. None of those inane thoughts are what happened.

In fact, the opposite happened. I realized really quickly how quiet the four walls were when Phil deployed. I missed the laughter and I missed the quiet conversations throughout the day and snuggled into one another at the end of the day. I pined for Phil, but a year seemed manageable; forever does not. After four years, I understand why Phil knew that I would need to love and be loved again. Where to start? It isn’t easy. I am warier now and all of the rules changed since I was single in my 20’s. Back then, men made the first move. They called on a phone and neither of us had any baggage. Now? I worry that my story, my job, my purpose will be too much.

I also find myself in positions where I am tempted. I struggle with doing the right thing, but I am staying true to the course because I want that chapter two that includes –God willing—someone that we are better together than apart. I don’t know if it will happen, but I do think about it on those long weekends. I am not looking to replace Phil or fill my hours, but I feel like something is missing . That feeling leads to an openness and a willingness to open my heart again. Wanting to love again will never negate my love for Phil, it just means that I can love again because I was loved well and I loved well before. It will look different and be different, but I see the possibility. In that glimpse, I believe and stay true to the course and the moral compass directing my faltering steps.

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