Yesterday was an awful day. Well, it wasn’t completely awful, but the end of it wasn’t so great. My daughter is going to her first sleepover (other than at my parents or sisters house) and I am scared! Not because I think anything will happen, or because I don’t think she will be okay, but because it is her first time doing anything without me or a family member since Mike died. It is her “after the season” soccer party. There are so many more things to think about now. I had to tell the other Moms whose husbands are deployed about Mike. I had never divulged that information before, but today I felt it was necessary. I didn’t want Olivia to go to this sleepover and scare the other little girls because their Daddies are in Afghanistan right now. I know she will talk about Mike, because she always does at school. Right after I had this conversation with several soccer Moms (who were shocked because my daughter has been on the team for a year and they didn’t know) I lost my wallet.
To most people this would be a big deal because of the cash or cards that they had in it and need. For me it was a big deal because I have a picture of Michael in there. It has been in every wallet since the first deployment that we went through together in 2005. It moves with me and I only remove it to put it into a new wallet. I love the picture because I can clearly see Michael’s deviated septum, and I always told him I fell in love with him because of his nose. He was laying on my couch in my apartment covered with a blanket and smiling a big smile. I love that moment that is captured in that picture. On the last deployment that we went through Michael came home for the birth of our third child. He was only home 2 weeks, but in that time he took that picture out of my wallet and wrote me a message on the back of it. I remember pulling the picture out right before he died to look at it and switch it to a new wallet and discovering his message. It was the sweetest thing that he had ever done for me. It topped all the foot rubs, flowers, candy, cards, pretty much everything. It became a treasure to me in that moment and especially after Michael died. That photo is my tangible evidence that despite the fact that he was a Marine going back to fight in a war HE LOVED ME. I was his number one. Sometimes, as a military wife, it did not feel like I was first. There was always another training to attend, another deployment to endure. His job often seemed like the priority. In reality I know that in his heart and his mind I was the priority. I was the one thing that he always put first and I have the tangible evidence. Even more so, on days where I feel like maybe my life with Michael was a dream (despite the children we have), it brings me back to a full reality that he was here. I did share my life with him. We did love each other more than anything.
The happy ending to the story is that a little boy found my wallet and happened to give it to the director of my daughter’s soccer program. So I have my picture again. When I thought that I lost it and that I would never look at or touch that picture again I felt the same panic and sense of loss that I did on “my worst day”. Yesterday, despite the recovery of the picture, was a set back. I felt like most of what I have gained back since that day has been emptied out of me again. I realized last night how much of me is still connected to my “loss” and how much I am going to be affected by it for the rest of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I knew that I would always be affected by it, but I guess that I thought I was further along. I do not talk a lot about losing Mike, but I think that it still defines me in a huge way. I don’t really know how that translates to me, my new love, and the rest of our life. When it happened he asked me if I had another copy of the picture…I do, but it doesn’t matter. It is less about the picture than it is about the words he had written. I want to get to the point where I can let go and just LIVE.