Time: Friend or Foe

When Phil was killed, it was all I could so to get through the day. Sometimes I measured time by minutes. As the minutes lapsed into days and then weeks, I could tell you exactly how many days or weeks or months it had been since life as I knew it ended. I no longer dreamed and I no longer had anything I looked forward to. Sure, I should have looked at the blessings in my life, but I just became a walking robot. I was afraid to feel because it hurt too damn much. In my cocoon, I langored staying busy and aloof. It was safer that way. While eventually I was able to let in girlfriends, I believed with everything that I was that the Linda who was capable of feeling, giving, and loving another was  I didn’t want to. It hurt to feel and it was easier to consume myself with business and giving to others. The weekends and nights loomed large and I stopped believing in a life where there were things to look forward to or in myself in a relationship with another. It was simply too hard.

I didn’t pray about it, didn’t hope for it, didn’t even consider another person. I just couldn’t consider letting another into my heart because to do so meant opening myself up to hurt again. I was the safe ship in the harbor hiding. When someone was persistent enough and offered a friendship that began not in being looked at as broken or a sensational story, I still couldn’t take the risk. It took time–two steps forward, one step back. I am still scared. Today, I realized that my first and last thoughts are no longer Phil’s, but of another. I literally gasped when realizing I couldn’t exactly tell how long it has been. I found myself reeling in self-doubt and insecurity because I recognize that I have begun dreaming and looking forward to new memories with this person. To dream means to be vulnerable. I feel incredibly vulnerable.

I stand exposed for I no longer have the ability to hide how I feel nor do I know how to play normal dating games. I am simply just standing and believing. I was married 23.5 years and Phil was the only man I dreamt of, wanted, stood with, and saw. That man has slipped away. I wonder what he would think. If he could even love me or the me I have morphed into. I wonder if my story and my journey of transparency is too much for anyone else. It is easier and safer to stay moored in the harbor, but today I realized, I am in the raging sea waters. I am afraid of getting it wrong and of believing in myself, another, us. I can’t go back to the harbor, I know I can’t, but I don’t know how to charter these roiling waves.

Being married for almost 25 years isn’t helpful. I know how to love a person through good times and bad times. I know adapting and giving when it isn’t easy. I know moving and aging with another. I do not know how to navigate the dating world, how to contain my feelings, how to make a relationship work at my age or in my situation. I don’t want to dream or to hope, but I am. I realize that in my vulnerability, I am risking an already scarred heart imploding again. Time is measuered in a new way (by shared races and months). Time looms large in the anticipation of another weekend together, but now time is something that I savor. That change is perhaps the biggest change in my year of striving to thrive versus survive. There is no thriving without risking the waves. Throw me a life line if you see me going under. Please?

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