Last week I was in Wilmington for a meeting, and as I was driving down the road I saw a restaurant sign “Asahi Ting” (say it fast, go ahead). When I saw that sign I laughed out loud, literally. I could hear Michael in my head saying it, and it made me laugh. I also thought, I need to call him right now and tell him so that I can hear him laugh about it. Yep, almost four years and I forgot that I can’t call him.
It is weird that I forgot, it is weird that it is almost four years, and it is even weird that he is gone. Maybe weird isn’t the right word…but I think you know what I am saying. So, I cried. I am sure you knew that was coming. And here is where things go off the tracks…
I cried because I couldn’t call Michael, and then I cried because I couldn’t call my brother and tell him that I couldn’t call Michael. My brother and I have an extremely crappy relationship now (work in progress), but it wasn’t always that way. So, the fact that I couldn’t call him, when I would have years ago, just sucked. And then I thought about Frank and I felt guilty for not thinking of him first (I get that might be hard for you to understand).
I am guessing that there will always be times where I think about Michael first, and because of Frank and who he is, I know that it is okay. It is still very hard and painful that people don’t accept my relationship with Frank, but then I realize those people were never really Michael’s friend, nor were they mine. The people that were Michael’s true friends would (and do) see past their own ideas of how things should be and realize how wonderful Frank is for the kids and I. The sad part is that there is a group of people who pretend to care about Michael, but if they did, they would not treat me, his wife, the way that they do.
I only say all this because it is an epidemic. I am not the only widow that this has happened to. It is pretty sickening to think about the number of Marines that turned their back on me and my children and what widows go through at the hands of people who were our heroes “brothers”. If they wanted to hurt me, they did that. If they wanted to impose their beliefs on me, they failed. They also failed miserably at honoring Michael, his memory, and his legacy (my kids). None of them had to like me or my decisions to continue to honor Michael, but somehow they forgot that. He would have done better than them, Frank does do better than them. I am glad that they are not in my life…but it still is sad that the number of people available to support my children is diminished. My hope is that by writing this, someone who knows another widow will think twice about what they do. Someone will remember that just because they are gone, does not mean that we have stopped loving them. Someone will remember that our heroes and our children deserve better.
Next time I see that sign I am going to laugh again…because Michael would have laughed and because it is funny. I am also going to laugh because as hard as people tried to keep me from laughing and honoring my husband by living a good, fulfilling life, that benefits my children and I, I haven’t let them hold me down. I saw a thing that day and it reminded me that Michael will forever be a part of our lives…he will always be a part of my heart and I will never stop missing him or loving him. And Frank, he will always be there to hold my hand, no matter what.