The Finding of Me and A Breaking Point

The Finding of Me and A Breaking Point

In the past three weeks, I have been reminded in a cold water slap to the face just how public my life is. While I have chosen to live my journey publicly, there are limits to what I want to share, am able to share, and there is an end to what I am able to give.  Additionally, my journey is not my children’s journey, my friends’ journeys, or my guy’s journey.  It pains me that I even have to point out the obvious, but I do.  Events of late have shown me that there are some that want more than I can give.

When my journey started, I was the quiet shy PE/English teacher who was overshadowed by my Phil and by my children. I was comfortable as the athletic runner girl because nobody expected me to socialize or to share a whole lot about her life.  I was just the key spouse, the super mom, and the fun teacher.  From the start, I was thrust into a very public journey because the media knew before I knew about Phil’s assassination.  Imagine one’s worst nightmare and everyone knowing about the impending doom except for you.  The media camping outside of my school, my home, and my small Colorado Springs Airport before I had an inkling of what was to come was my reality.  Imagine flying to Dover to greet one’s spouse whose body was too broken to consider having an open casket, and watching the media glomming on to the story and to five children standing next to me—four in military uniforms.  Consider having a funeral the day after the weekend Osama Bin Laden had been killed and that one’s spouse was the first USAFA Professor killed like this.  I spoke to get the media off of my children so that my children could choose whether or not to speak.  My children were a product of Phil and I, but in the wearing of the military uniform, they were not afforded the opportunity to grieve normally.  They had to render proper courtesies and respect while their eyes leaked tears and their noses dripped.  I chose to speak and to get out of my comfort level because that is what a good mom does.  She circles the wagons and slays the dragons.

As time went on, my blogs became a positive way forward for me. My grief journey became a platform for the cost of wearing the military uniform.  My writing, speaking, and advocacy became a very positive way forward and it became a game changer.  I developed a voice and my way forward and I never regretted it until a few weeks ago.  It should be okay for me to have a bad few weeks, to question myself, and to wonder what next without people telling me I am a public person and that people need for me to be strong all of the time.  I am not.  Three weeks ago, I had a major event happen that included an assault, and ending of a friendship that was important to me, a family issue, and the hits kept coming.  I didn’t know which way was up and yet people expected me to be strong and to show the world my resiliency.  I needed to lick my wounds.  Part of resiliency is in the choices that come next.  I needed to run to the people in my life that were important and I needed to feel bad when my brokenness caused a speed bump in a relationship that means more to me than anything.

The problem was that people still wanted me to do more. I have little division between work, volunteerism, my personality which is to be everything to everyone, and the fire I carry.  People started crossing lines.  There are only so many ways I can be pulled.  I have said from the very start that I do not understand the fire that I have to speak and tell my story.  My choice to fall into my faith from the start has been my barometer.  I know where the skills, the courage, and the opportunities have come from.  I have only felt compelled to teach and write on my journey, the military issues.  While there are many people doing great things for the military, it does not mean that I have the fire for it.  When people want to use my name, my story, my heart, they have to realize that I may not be being called to do the same.  When they reach out to my family or my friends or my guy to get involved, I feel violated just as I feel violated when I am told that I am not being resilient enough.

I realized just how few boundaries I had when I chose to sign out of Facebook because I needed to lick my wounds and to fall into my faith. I didn’t know exactly what I would be able to see and not see if I signed out, thus I put a message in a private group and I put up one on Facebook.  I didn’t know how long I would be off, I just knew I needed to pray and to consider what next before I sabotaged what was important to me.  People assumed all sorts of things.  I was not suicidal.  I was not breaking up with my guy (and I wouldn’t publicly do it on Facebook anyway).  I just needed to know the direction God wants me to go.  I needed to know what my limits are.  I know them now.  I am not perfect.  I have a wicked sense of humor that isn’t always appropriate.  I am a flawed individual.  I struggle with feeling bad at times and I struggle with knowing what next.  I am in a relationship that took be by surprise and I am trying to figure that out too.  I am considering what next in terms of working and living.  I fall down and drop my sword sometimes.  It is not indicative of being fragile.  It just means that I am human; I am not Super Woman.

In that vein, I am setting boundaries. I am comfortable doing what I am doing right now.  My children and my guy are off limits and they always will be.  I may believe in a cause, but I may not be involved in a cause because at the end of the day, I want to be more than my story.  That story defines who I am, but it isn’t all of who I am.  I am a simple girl who wants to feel like she can be real.  I am a simple girl who loves her children enough to find a voice, and I am a simple girl that shouldn’t have to explain to the world why I am involved in some things and not others.  I am a simple girl trying to navigate and figure out someone who is really important to me, a someone who encouraged my writing and speaking so that others can see that they are not alone, and a someone that is supportive of my journey, but who is not a public entity.  I am just a girl who wants to have a normal life and not feel like I have to be on all of the time.




  1. Linda, my dear sister, I’m so sorry for the horrible experience you had. Be true to YOU and your family and your man… and know that those of us sisters who love you continue to pray for you daily and support you in everything you do. May God give you clear direction, peace, and joy in your heart. I love you!! Denise Kean

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