Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Days We Don't Forget

There are days we don't forget.  Like, for instance, if I asked you, "What were you doing when you found out the planes had crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001?" you would be able to tell me.  Right away.  Just like that.

I'd tell you I remember walking into Mr. Eagan's early morning Algebra 2/Trig in that open, pretty room on the third floor of the old high school and looking up at the Channel 1 TV that was on.  The image of a plane crashing into a building.  World Trade Center.  A yellow Tupperware sippy cup with the lid on and chocolate chip Pop Tarts in hand.  Staring at the screen.  I had no idea what was going on.

Today is another day I don't forget.  Today is August 3.  The third of August.  The last day of my life.  Or at least the life I was comfortable in.  On August 3, 2005, my husband left to serve a two year mission for our church.  No more kissing him goodbye.  No more holding hands.  No more talking on the phone.  No more sound of his laughter.  For two years.

If somebody else wrote this and I was reading it I would think how cheesy it all sounded.  In my head I would call them a baby, stop reading, move on and not think of it again.  What a whiner.

But since I'm not somebody else and I'm me I don't say that.  I can honestly say that those two years without my husband (boyfriend at the time) was the hardest thing I've ever been through in my life.  Harder than divorced parents and visitation and all of that.  Harder than school and tests.  Harder than auditions for school plays.  Harder than deaths of family and friends.  Harder than pregnancy.  Harder than physical pain.  Because physical pain always seems to go away after a little while.  But I felt a constant ache for two years straight.  I felt a deep, long loneliness.  I cried more than I've ever cried in my life about any one thing.  I wrote him letters like I breathed.  I read those letters now and can't even finish one.  They make me want to barf from all the cheesiness.  But I really felt those things then.

I lived two years of my life not knowing.  But not knowing built quite a lot of faith.  I don't say that to boast.  But to say that, even though I didn't want to go through it, Heavenly Father used that terrible time to build me and shape me.  It was a time I don't forget.  I don't forget all the times when I felt reassured.  I don't forget all the ways I felt comforted in my despair.  And I don't forget the way it all worked out in the end.

Five years later it's August 3rd again.  It's a regular day.  I'm happily married to the man I missed so much.  Our daughter is napping.  I can honestly say that I don't have any real worries.  But five years ago I couldn't honestly say that.  And so, for the sake of all that I learned in the time in between, this is a day I don't forget.


Kathy Haynie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

My husband (then boyfriend of 4 years) left for the harvest crew out west on June 5, 2005; two days after he graduated. He was only gone four months and I felt like I'd never make it through. We even got to go visit him for a few days that summer. I know about those gushy letters you wrote. I know about the ache and the tears. But I also know the growth and the trust that was built in that time of not knowing what the future held. I too look at my life now...married to the man I have loved so long and thank God with deeper gratitude having an idea what life might have felt like without him. Blessings to you dear friend. And blessings to your husband for his service to the King of kings! A good reminder today of gratitude and the importance of memories :).

Bree said...

I don't think it's cheesy or sappy at all, and I don't think you're a baby for feeling any of this. I can't stand when my husband is gone for a week & can't imagine what it would be like to have to spend two years without him. You're a very strong woman to have made it through that!

Anonymous said...

o yes...and I also remember the day he returned...September 23...funny how those dates stick with you. Do you remember the day he came home?

Melinda said...

My husband and I started out as a long distance relationship - him stationed in CA, and me in VA. We did that for 4 years, with the last 6 months him being deployed to the middle east (the 6 months leading up to 9/11 in fact...) - so I understand where you're coming from. I have my fair share of cheesy letters!

Kathy Haynie said...

Oh, boy, that was a tough two years. Hard to watch a child endure that much pain/uncertainty/loneliness. You get the sense from others that it's not that big a deal - you were just dating, right? You're young, right? But you two knew what a good fit you were right from the start, and of course you developed a strong and close relationship, and then you had to go through two years of growing on your own, with very limited contact. Yes, it was cheesy at times, but life is like that. It's called being human. Good for both of you to have made it through. Love you!