monique

Woolgathering
2005-01-28 19:31:16 (UTC)

Friend

I've been fortunate to find an email friend who went through
what I did when we were in our 20's. She too was married
only a few months when her husband was deployed to Vietnam
and was killed and she too was pregnant with a child who was
stillborn soon after her husband's death and she too now has
a happy second marriage.

We talk about how our first husbands will never grow old. We
talk about how their deaths still affects us now, even so
many years later. She is someone I can talk to about things
which happened more than thirty years ago and she
understands that one never gets over it, one just learns to
live with it. For the most part, we don't talk about it to
family members because it makes so many people
uncomfortable. They haven't been there so they don't
understand. We're both thankful we have each other to talk to.

We've endured. We've moved forward. But that familiar,
horrible stab of loss strikes when TV screens show young
women dressed in black holding folded U.S. flags. We know
the pain will diminish, that life will go on but still we
continue to mourn the husbands we've lost and know that will
never go away.

We talk about how difficult the first few weeks are. The
funeral is especially difficult. Watching the body of the
man you love being put in the ground, hearing taps being
played, being handed the folded flag is so solemn, so
formal, so final.

We talk about how we've dealt with our feelings in different
ways. I knit hats and little outfits for premature babies
in honor of my daughter. I made a memorial quilt for
Steven. I'm making a quilt which has appliqués of four
little boys to represent my sons and I've added a little
angel in pink to represent my daughter. But my friend is
much stronger than I. She volunteers with support groups
for women who have lost their husbands while serving. She
helps these new widows deal with the paperwork and the
grief. She helps them get through the funeral. She can
only do it for so long and then she has to take a break from
it but then she goes back and volunteers again. I admire
her enormously.