I Need You Tonight

Dear Philsie D.D.”s   You know it is bad if I am using that name.  It is.  I am scared.  Really scared.  I am standing here where everyone thinks I am strong and unbreakable.  I am shaking.  W…

Source: I Need You Tonight

I Need You Tonight

Dear Philsie D.D.”s

 

You know it is bad if I am using that name.  It is.  I am scared.  Really scared.  I am standing here where everyone thinks I am strong and unbreakable.  I am shaking.  While I know that I have never been more successful workwise and I feel a fire that only a few understand, I am unsure of me.  I get that people see my worth with your story.  It isn’t even my story.  It is the story of the man who strutted into the MHAFB swimming pool in a blue hammock swimming suit.  It is the story of the man who saw beneath that hard cold exterior of one said lifeguard who didn’t want anything to do with him.  It is the story of a man who died a hero.  I am just the mouth piece.  The invisible mouth piece.

 

I am moving to a state to take a job that I know is the right job.  I have never lived there or done that job.  While once I was the queen of making moving fun, I am not any more.  You see, I could be the strong one when I knew I had you to lean on and you that believed in me.  Now, I am scared.  Really scared.  I am afraid of getting there and not having any friends.  I am afraid of driving across the country.  I am afraid of not having anyone to share any of the adventure with.  What if I get it wrong?  What if I am moving to this beautiful house and everyone sees me as invisible?  What if I let people down?

 

Lately, I have felt like less than nothing.  The skills that you valued are hopelessly outdated.  I am loyal and I made a good wife and mother.  I withstood so many storms.  I am tired, Phil.  When is okay for me to drop my sword and crumple to the ground for a little while?  I try so hard to be the woman that you saw and that you believed in.  I try with every breath to be the woman that God is calling me to be, but I am weary.  I am battered.  I want to lean for awhile.  I want someone to bring me a Starbucks coffee, a Sante Fe sandwhich (no mayo, lots of extra jalepeno peppers), and fruit tort from Whole Foods.  Mostly, I want someone to wrap their arms around me and say, “I believe in you.  Just breathe.  I have you tonight.  Rest.”   I know that I only needed that a handful of times in the 23.5 years we had, but Phil, I need a soft place to lean.  I need someone to believe in me.  Someone who is team Linda.

 

You knew I would get here.  Damn you for that.  I felt you and Klepto as I ran sobbing through Alaska.  My heart was imploding and I recognized something that broke my heart.  I knew you had me, but Phils, I need more than a memory to lean on, to stay warm with.  You made me laugh as you chased me all over the house using your ten languages.  You made me soft when you waved the white hankie when you messed up.  You made me believe when you called me your little bride after so many years.  You made me see when you still looked at me like I was all of that.  You gave me dreams when you encouraged me to run all over the place and to go to school.  You gave me a sense of home with your friendship and the man you were.  My anchor is gone.  I am afraid.

 

I am scared of getting it wrong.  I fall so often and the big crash recently caused me to question my running, my writing, my friendships, and my ability to have anything more than a job.  That is what scares me the very most.  If work is my life, then what if I get that wrong too?  Please send me a sign.  Show me that you are still Team Linda.  You were wrong about the Chapter 2.  I can’t because I don’t have the skills or the confidence to try.  I need some friends, a church family, a running group, and  to feel confidence at my new job and at my new house.  I would like to believe that you and God have this.  I know—God has it, but Phil, I need my cheerleader, my rock, my soft place.

 

I miss you so much recently.  All I want to do is lean in and hear what you think.  I want to see your eyes and feel your hand in mine.  I want you to tell me what you think and lead me to what next.  I am tired…..

 

Loved you then, love you now, love you forever,

Linda Lou Lou’s’

Dating? Where is the Manual

I am a widow. I became a widow with no time to prepare for a brutal death that instilled fear, destroyed my confidence, and caused me to question my relationships. My Phil was brutally assassinated…

Source: Dating? Where is the Manual

Dating? Where is the Manual

I am a widow. I became a widow with no time to prepare for a brutal death that instilled fear, destroyed my confidence, and caused me to question my relationships. My Phil was brutally assassinated…

Source: Dating? Where is the Manual

Dating? Where is the Manual

I am a widow. I became a widow with no time to prepare for a brutal death that instilled fear, destroyed my confidence, and caused me to question my relationships. My Phil was brutally assassinated by someone he liked and trusted—should have been able to like and trust. Phil died just past his 44th birthday. He was young and he looked much younger than he indeed was. He was popular with men and women, vibrant, and he was the man that liked to help people. I was deeply in love with him for 23 years. Sure we had rough moments and sure there were times he was not sensitive or there for me, but from the start it was the two of us standing against the world. I know a relationship that bears the test of time, deployments. children, financial strain, illness, and I could go on. His traumatic death stripped all my normal relationship barriers because I know how short life can be and I no longer wait to tell people how I feel or to give the time or energy into that relationship. That is my standard for a relationship. I simply do not have the skills for anything less. This change, this expectation, unfortunately, causes me and many other widows to put too much validity into a relationship too soon or with a person that should not be an option.

It did for me. I dated someone for ten months and recently we had a painful breakup. Rather, I suffered. He did not. He wasn’t a bad man, but he did not have the skills for a long term relationship. He readily admitted it early on. I hadn’t been interested in dating at all at that point and it took him months of a friendship before I finally began to let down my walls. I should have listened to my gut instinct, but like many widows, loneliness and the want of the companionship and friendship that Phil and I once had seemed possible in a new manner. Part of what made this seem like it could be a reality is how different this man was from my Phil. He looked and behaved nothing like my Phil. Initially, it made it easy because it was fun and I never once thought of Phil when we were together. I hadn’t expected that.

I overlooked many things because as time went on, I thought in terms of a progressing ten month relationship. I thought we were both on the same trajectory. That was mistake one. Because of traumatic loss, I know how short time can be, thus I was always available and willing to go to where he was and invest in his friends, family, and goals. While he did some of that, it wasn’t on the same level and when he began to have work and life pressures, he didn’t want me as much as he wanted his other friends because it was easier. I wanted face to face interaction on a deeper level where the computer offered an easier relationship and quick interactions that asked nothing more than a ten minute interaction. I wanted and did run to him when I was assaulted and when I had hard days. I missed him when I returned home and realized how much I liked having someone at home again. I wanted love again and companionship so much that I missed all of the signs I should have seen.

I think that is the problem with being a widow. I just kept waiting for things to get better. I just kept explaining the lack. It wasn’t until three people came to me—three different people from three different ways, that I finally listened. I need that village to help. The first person asked me, “What are you getting out of this relationship?” You should not have to apologize for needing time, reassurance, or for wanting the niceties that come with a relationship. You know. When a girl is being pursued, she knows it. Phil had no money and yet he would send an e-mail, write a letter or card, or call for no reason when we were dating. Yes, this man made an effort because we were not even in the same time zone, but he began to resent it and it never moved past messages and an occasional phone call because he had so many other friends that needed his time. My son put this into perspective.

I was saying how much I had afforded the man because of his busy work and family schedule this summer. I said that it was easy to do because I had done the same with my Phil. My son got indignant. He said, “Mom, XX is nothing like dad. Nothing.” He went on to tell me that his dad had been married to his job and the job was his dad’s mistress. He reminded me that his dad always felt like he had to prove that he was worthy of the citizenship given to him with his military service at 18, BUT that there was one key difference between his dad and this guy (who he had liked, by the way). The difference was that when Phil was home, there was nobody else. It was us. We were his investment and his time. We always were. If we did anything, we were all invited and we did it as a unit. That wasn’t happening in the relationship always. There were times I wasn’t invited, and I certainly wasn’t showed off or even named in social media. Where there were pictures of many female running friends, I was a footnote.

The third person who caused me to recognize that I had been guilty of the same traps I knew to look for, talked to me about the moth analogy. Some people make better friends (and I hope to keep him as one) than boyfriends. They need people hovering and fluttering around to build their self confidence. Where I reset my batteries with this man, he needed me to be in the shadows while many circled around him. I loved that he was needed and liked by so many, but it was difficult to wait and want his attention and time. When time became difficult, the time didn’t come to me. While he made an effort every day, the interactions changed. The resentment started creeping in. I kept trying to fix it and in that act of neediness and clutching, I began to lose pieces of myself.
I started apologizing all of the time for knowing that what I was asking was normal, but that he was not able to give it. I began to hate myself because I couldn’t walk away because I had put too much validity into the relationship. The defining moment came when I got my dream job that just fit about 90 miles from him. I was excited about the job and also about the opportunity to see if we could grow our relationship in a semi normal manner. 8 hours later he dumped me. It devastated me and it took me weeks to get up off of the ground, but bit by bit, I have. He did me a favor and he warned me early. Now? The problem is this. Where do I start?
I know it is possible to give my heart away now and I know that I am capable of having a Chapter Two. I just need to figure out how and where to start. I have no dating skills. I have long term relationship skills. I am a woman of faith and I am quite active. Unfortunately, at my age that doesn’t make it easy to find someone. Throw in this huge public journey and my voice for military causes and I want to cry uncle now. This man opened my eyes to possibility and hope in this area, however. I just need help. The kind of help that few understand. I once dated a ton (college) and I once trusted my instincts on every level. I don’t so much any more. The dating world has changed and many men are not the same open books they were in their youth. They have been broken in a different manner than death. I am not that girl who is looking for casual flings or to fill my hours. I am a simple girl looking for it all. I just do not think that I have the heart to try because I fear that I will put too much validity into a relationship and I fear that I won’t recognize the behaviors that should make me end a relationship soon enough. I fear wanting too much too soon and I fear losing myself. There is no manual and most military widows are younger than I am. I want to try…I guess that means that I have to figure this out as much as I would rather not. It will take a village to be my voice of reason, my eyes, and my logic. I will need for my village to be my courage and my encouragement. I stand on the edge of the ice cold pool poised and ready, but holding back.

Let Us Not Forget

Let Us Not Forget

All of us in this room can probably share where they were on 9/11, a day that changed America. It was the day when I began to realize that the big bad wolf was here. Until then? I lived in my fantasy world of thinking that my country, my military, my life was safe from terrorism. Yet, terrorism is something that has come to me and left lasting scars.

On 9/1l, I was try–away from home–at a Youth Programs training in OH. I got up to use the restroom and when I saw a bunch of people around a small television screen in a small office, I made a joke about how nice it was to be able to check out the news during the day. Nobody said a word. They turned and separated just enough that I could see the first plane crashing into the Twin Towers. As I was processing what that meant and what was going on, the second plane hit. My rose colored glasses and paradigms shifted that day.

That day surely impacted my family. I had a husband who had been in the military for 15 years at that point and 5 children ranging from 8-18. At this point let me digress for a moment and tell you about my Phil–the man who taught me to love my country.

He came to the United States from Venezuela at the age of 12. He had been raised in a French home in a Spanish country. He knew two words of English–sumateamus for sometimes and ewes for USA. At the age of 18, he enlisted in the Air Force to get his American citizenship. He spent 16 years enlisted, 10 as an officer.

He was an Air Force Academy professor who had finished his PhD five days earlier when he volunteered to go to Afghanistan believing that through education, service, and help, that countries can change. He knew 10 languages and was working the communications to set up the French clinic when he was assassinated by someone he should have been able to trust and by someone he considered an ally and friend. My Phil had time to see the face of evil. Time to feel fear and time to feel pain.

If he were alive, however, he would be here telling all of us not to grow weary standing for our country, believing in the good of humanity, and he would proudly don the uniform that made him an American. It was a choice for him and a calling. 4 of our children are following the same calling–to make the world a little safer through the wearing of the uniform.

I did mention that terrorism had hit me three times. The third time was at the Boston Marathon. A marathon. A safe place. I was running to remember and honor the sacrifice of Phil’s life. I was one stoplight from the finish line when the first boom hit. While I was processing what that boom, those smells, and that cloud meant, the second boom hit. At that point, the world exploded around me. I ran for my life. I found myself cowering in a Dunkin Donuts shop about a half mile away. Those scars, the scars from Phil’s death, the scars from 9/11 are my nightmares, but with each scar has come a strong steely resolve. I cannot let terrorism take any more from me. I choose life. I choose to fight for happiness and more than that, I choose to love my country through the many ups and downs.

As we pause to remember the lives given on 9/11 and the lives given through military service in a post 9/11 world, I urge all of us to remember what makes this country great and why we should honor the people who gave everything there was to give. I challenge you to look at our country–you country–and proudly stand together. In the unity and in the acceptance of people–all people, terrorism is defeated. My choice is to live a life worthy of those who gave theirs for me.

Thank you.

 

I’m Coming Home, I’m Coming Home…Finding my True North

True North is a concept of a home base where a person is grounded and fits. True North is a place that lives in the soul where a person comes and fills a space that nobody else can fill and …

Source: I’m Coming Home, I’m Coming Home…Finding my True North

I’m Coming Home, I’m Coming Home…Finding my True North

 

True North is a concept of a home base where a person is grounded and fits. True North is a place that lives in the soul where a person comes and fills a space that nobody else can fill and in that space, the person grows into the fabric. As an adult, home for me was a person versus a place because the military moved us about every three years. I never got too attached to a living area, a job, a church, a community, or even people because I knew that my roots and my fabric were with my Phil. When he was killed, I drifted. I wandered lost and afraid. Every time life got hard, I ran away to somewhere new. In the last five years, I have changed because there were no other choices.

It hasn’t been easy because I was scared of everything. I was afraid of getting it wrong. The military gave me one year to figure out where I wanted to live (and while that is wavetable, spouses would never know to ask). I ran to Germany to escape the prying eyes and the gossip. I fled Germany to get away from a principal who hated all of the military people coming to me. I felt like running away from MA, but I didn’t. I turned down job opportunities that were good opportunities even as I knew I should leave. I waited. This year, my year of learning to thrive versus survive, I knew, I really knew that I was going to be moving. Three jobs opened: CO, WA, and MO. I applied for MO only because it made sense to at least try because of a relationship I was in.

I didn’t expect what came next. MO, the last place I ever thought I wanted to live fit. My nerves quieted and it all felt right even as the relationship imploded. It would have been easier to run to CO or WA, but I recognized something. Even when I was in my darkest place, MO was calling me. My true North. Everything started to fall into place: the job, having family there, and a beautiful house on a lake. I sense more coming. I sense the Chapter Two and the community. I sense the peace in that space. My soul echoes what the heart wants.

MO? I know CO and CO knows me. I love my mountain and I have so many family memories there. I have so many memories with Phil and Phil’s life is etched all over the city in school gyms, football field, USAFA, etc. In CO, I am part of a unit. While I will not say that I will never live there, I can’t see it in the next few years. WA? That was where we wanted to retire. MO is for me. MO is for me to find my home base and to find home in a building, community, and job.

I have never lived in MO or even been to where I am going, but on blind faith and obedience I travel to what I cannot see, but only feel. I feel a new day coming and I sense that like Job, blessings are abounding. I get that community takes time. I am patient and I am excited to see what comes next. I’m coming home. I’m coming home.