You know what’s kind of crazy? We interact with broken people on a daily basis. Whether they are trudging through heartbreak or there’s something else they’re dealing with, these blank faces surround us. They’re shopping in grocery stores, standing in line at Starbucks, walking around the mall, and even sleeping in the homes beside our own.
It makes my heart hurt thinking about others in pain. People reach out to me on a regular basis about recent breakups or tricky situations with their significant other, and I always wish there was more that I could do to help than offer a hug, ear to listen, and a handwritten letter reminding them that they are not alone and things always get better.
We all have different ways of dealing with sadness and loneliness. Some people go out into the world and try to distract themselves with a good time, while others struggle to get out of bed. Just because someone is smiling on the outside doesn’t mean they don’t feel broken on the inside. I have had times in my life where I couldn’t hold everything together, so I rushed to the bathroom to cry. A restroom — whether it’s public or in a home — is a private space that absorbs tears well. There are times where you are surrounded by people but couldn’t feel more alone.
My heart has been content and full for awhile now, but I am often reminded of how brokenness feels through friends and my beautiful readers. I can sense when something is off, and it isn’t difficult to spot emptiness in someone’s eyes. A damaged heart is something that everyone can relate to in some way or another, and I think it’s so important for humans to stick together in every way they can in this world. With things that cannot be controlled like sickness and death, there are already so many difficult things to deal with. Why not stand up for one another and choose to love each other every single day?
Today’s lesson: Be a light for people in your life. Whether they’re strangers or your very best friends, leave each person better than you found them. Use words to build confidence, companionship, and joy, and realize that you absolutely can make a difference in someone’s life whether or not you’ll ever see them again. Choose to love people each and every day. Love and compassion are absolutely a choice, and they are so easy to freely give to people. Why not try to make the world a better place, one broken heart at a time?
Sometimes I forget the way the world is. I trust most people I meet, I don’t think that almost anyone would ever mean to hurt me, and even if someone does something not so nice, I often still think their heart is probably good — they just don’t have the empathy for a situation simply because they cannot understand it.
One of my friends and I were talking about relationships and dating — as many of my real-life conversations totally revolve around that too — and we got on the topic of cheating. We both agreed that’s one way a guy could never get a second chance with us, as it’s one unforgivable sin in a relationship. I know some people feel differently; I just personally couldn’t be with someone who treated another girl the way he should always only treat me.
“I wonder how many people in the population cheat at some point,” I questioned aloud. I thought about my friends and family and don’t think there’s been a lot of that kind of thing, but I suppose there are people who kept their affairs quiet that I don’t know anything about. “What do you think the number is?” I asked as I went for my phone to Google it.
“Hmmm,” she thought.
“I’d say 5% of people have cheated on a partner,” I said confidently happy with my number.
“What?!” she exclaimed. “There’s no way that’s right!”
My eyes got wide with embarrassment. I had overshot my number. Of course it couldn’t be 5%. That’s 5 out of 100 people; there’s no way that many people have cheated on their partner. What a foolish guess!
“Uhh, OK, you’re right,” I backtracked. “I’ll go with 1% for my guess.” I felt good about that number. 1 in 100; that seems about right!
She looked at me like I was insane. “Krista,” she started, “It’s at least like, 30%. Are you kidding me?! Think about it for a second!”
I did. I couldn’t imagine that 30…. 30! people in 100 would cheat on their partner. Like, that’s a huge offense! It’s not something that is a little mistake you could ever accidentally make. Cheating takes some calculated measures and steps toward that action. It’s not like it “just happens.” You have to form a bond to someone — at least in some capacity. You have to let yourself think about them in a way that isn’t appropriate when you’re in a relationship with someone else. You have to actively pursue some sort of relationship with a person who isn’t your partner. That’s a pretty long string of mistakes. All of that in my opinion is already just as bad as the physical act of cheating, but it still seems like a lot of these things could be prevented.
When we looked it up, we found that my friend was right. In fact, it seems like 30 is a low estimate in most of the articles we found. The next time I’m in a room of 100 people I don’t think I’ll be able to look at it the same way. I always assume most people who are married or dating are generally faithful because in my mind it is impossible to ever even consider straying from someone you’re supposed to be loyal to. You’ve promised your heart to them, so how could you give a part of it to someone else?
These statistics definitely shook me. I don’t like to think that anyone I know would hurt their partner in a way like this, much less such a large percentage of people.
You can’t control what other people do or how you’re treated, but you can choose how to react to things that happen in your life. People can absolutely learn to control their thoughts as adult human beings, and if they aren’t making an effort to treat you in the way you deserve, please remember your worth. I can’t speak on anyone else’s behalf, but I can say with absolute certainty that I will never stray from a committed relationship. I make a million-and-one other mistakes in my life, but this is something I take so incredibly seriously and would never even picture any part of my life with another individual when I am invested in someone. I have always been careful about what I think, what kind of media I consume, and who I look up to; all of this has played a part in making it really easy to keep my thoughts and actions all in check. I like to think most people feel the same way I do. I still somehow believe those numbers listed are high and that whoever conducted the surveys just chose people who aren’t the norm.
What do you think? Do you believe the guesstimates that were made in articles like the one above or do you think they’re incorrect, too?
You know what’s such a mindblowingly amazing thing? There are 7.4 billion people in the world, and God decided He still needed you here. That’s how absolutely special you are.
Like, He thought about it and decided that we need a “Krista” somewhere on this earth, and He has a great purpose just for me. I can’t even really wrap my mind around that, other than the fact that I try my best to make a positive impact on those I come into contact with every day… Because maybe part of my purpose of being here on this earth is to help touch an individual — or a group of individuals. I don’t know what my big purpose in life is, but I do think I have a bunch of small reasons I am here and valuable to others, which are just as important.
There is absolutely a purpose each and every one of us is here, and my hope for you is that you realize that and continue to work toward whatever it is that makes your heart beat fast. I know for me that some of the scariest things I have done have been the most rewarding. The writing that makes me the most nervous to post on here is what really moves people and makes them feel less alone in the world. At the end of the day, I believe that’s one of the biggest reasons God created me — to help others realize their heart might feel a little broken sometimes, but that our Creator can heal them and put them back together again. It’s okay to feel lost in a broken world and as long as you keep pushing forward something beautiful can come from heartbreak.
Keep going, and never forget that you are loved, and that YOU MATTER. I can’t say that enough. You matter, you are loved, and you belong here.
I’m someone who feels deeply. That’s what makes me a great friend, listener, girlfriend, and a decent writer. I don’t think I am incredibly unique in most things in life, but one thing I think I do better than most is feel empathy.
The reason I say I feel too deeply is that I sometimes let other people’s feelings dictate my own. Those feelings aren’t always even necessarily real; for example, if I see someone eating lunch all alone, instead of immediately realizing that they might be enjoying some time to themselves to think, I make up a story in my mind about how they are unhappy about being alone because of the way they look down at the table when they take a bite of their sandwich. My heart immediately tells my head that I want to give that person a hug, and wish that it was socially appropriate to do so to make other people feel better.
There are many times in my life I have prayed to God, begging him to take a friend or family member’s pain and transfer it to myself instead. I hate seeing others hurting in any capacity, which is why my ultimate goal of writing so much is to help people feel less alone in life. I want everyone — even the people who read my blog that I haven’t met in real life — to feel like they always have me around to hold their hand through tough times.
Warning: If you don’t want to hear a sad story, stop reading now!
There, I said it. You’ve been warned.
The past ten days had been really exciting for me. As most of you know, Robert bought his first home soon after he got back from his deployment and I spend a lot of my time hanging out over there. About ten days ago I found a nest on one of the beams of his top deck. He told me excitedly that a Robin had been building her nest there for several days now, and that she had been gathering ribbons, pieces of hay, twigs, and grass to construct her little home while he worked on his yard.
I’m a huge animal lover, so I was elated to hear that we had a new little pet — and would soon have little babies to watch grow up! This was such a special gift from God, and I was going to document all of it. After all, my yard back home has a lot of baby squirrels and chipmunks, but I’ve never seen a bird’s nest so close to the ground before.
Every time I went to Robert’s I looked forward to seeing my Robin friend. She was so beautiful and sweet, and I couldn’t believe how dedicated she was to her little unborn babies. She would only leave her nest for ten minutes at a time to go out for food or to patch up her bed. I took pictures of her whenever I’d go over, and seeing her little tail feathers always made me so happy. Even though her back was to me, she would turn her head to the side to watch me out of the corner of her eye. I liked to think that she knew that I was kind too, and that she appreciated the little snacks I would sometimes leave her. After all, I was like a member of her little family, and I wanted to take care of her and her babies.
About a week after meeting our Robin friend I woke up with a start. I was at home, but my thoughts weren’t there with me. I heard the rain pouring on our roof, and I immediately felt sick. My sweet girl and her eggs don’t have any shelter from the rain, I thought. I need to fix this.
I got out of bed and hurried to get my POTS symptoms under control before I made the trip over to Robert’s house. It was a work day so he wasn’t there, but I knew I needed to go take care of our little friend. I grabbed some potential things to create a shelter with, such as a rain poncho and an oversized trash bag, and set off.
When I arrived to his home I rushed downstairs to see if she was still there. Low and behold, she was still sitting diligently on what I had imagined was a trio of light blue eggs. I smiled at her, but I knew I had work to do. A little bit of rain was coming through the cracks of the porch, but I was even more concerned with the cool temperature mixed with the dampness.
I hurried upstairs and began rearranging the deck furniture by pushing it around with my butt since my arms aren’t much of a help for heavy objects. As I was doing this, I knew I would hurt immensely the next day, but I was determined to help this innocent little animal and her family. Her needs were greater than my own, and I would rather feel like I did everything I could to help her be comfortable than have anything happen to her.
I ripped through the poncho to make it expand to it’s greatest possible size, and began sticking little objects on all four corners of the plastic to keep it from moving. I tried to place it directly above where I suspected the nest was, but it was hard to tell, as the slats were so small and it was difficult to see through the pouring rain. I was cold and wet even through my rain jacket, but all I could think about was our little pet.
After adjusting the poncho several times, the Robin flew over and perched on the fence, almost as if she was asking me, “What the heck are you doing up there, Krista?! Stop frightening my babies. We’ll be fine in the rain; God made us so that we can survive through it.”
That was when I realized my efforts, though they were well-intended, were unnecessary. I figured if it was still raining later that evening I would get some help placing the canopy above her so that I didn’t have to keep disturbing our guest.
After Robert and I saw a late showing of Guardians of The Galaxy, we trekked back to his house to relax and check on our friend. I was worried about her. I was wearing sweatpants and a windbreaker and I was cold. Cold and wet are never a good combination, and I was concerned about the possibility of hypothermia.
“Can birds catch hypothermia?” I Googled. The answer was yes, and I wondered whether or not the nest our Robin had built was as good as a typical bird’s nest. Somehow it seemed a bit strange to me that she built it on a man-made object, rather than high up in a tree, and I hoped that our bird was smart enough to trust her animal instincts.
Robert told me that we could take she and her nest into his basement if it seemed like she really needed it. I smiled at the thought, and was happy that he was either willing to humor me or genuinely wanted to take great care of this bird. Either way, I felt like I had a really great boyfriend.
We made it home and I rushed downstairs to check on her. I noticed that her tail was facing toward the door still, but she turned around to peek at me as soon as the back light went on. I smiled at her, told her she was a beautiful little bird, and to sleep well. I felt good that she looked warm and taken care of. I would be able to rest easy, and her eggs would hatch in the next few days when the sun came out again.
They didn’t, though.
Two days later as I was preparing to go to Robert’s house he texted me a heads up that he hadn’t seen our Robin in quite some time. We knew she was only supposed to leave her nest for ten minutes at a time, so it was suspect that he hadn’t seen her for 12+ hours. He said he didn’t want to tell me sooner because he had hoped she would come back home before I went back to his house.
My mind darted from one scenario to the next. Maybe she was just out searching for food? Maybe she was watching her nest from afar? Maybe Robert had just been checking at the wrong times? Deep down in the pit of my stomach, though, I knew something bad had happened. I wasn’t sure if it was only to the mother, though, or to everything that was in the nest.
I told him to peek inside the nest to see if there were eggs there. He couldn’t see, as it was too high, so I told him to take a photo with his iPhone. As he worked on that, I hung up and called the local animal shelter to see if they would have an egg incubator. Something told me that the mother bird hadn’t come back to the nest because something had happened to her while she was gone searching for food.
“Hello?” a friendly voice answered.
“Yes, hi, I know this is probably a really goofy request, but I — well, actually my boyfriend — has a bird’s nest in his backyard and the Robin who has been sitting in it has been gone for a long time and I’m afraid her eggs are going to get cold and the babies are going to die so I need an incubator to take care of them. Can you help me with that?” My sentences barely made sense and all ran together like mush.
“I’ll transfer you to the right people to help you with that,” she said, still happy despite the fact she probably thought she was speaking with a crazy person. “You’re going to be speaking with the fire and rescue department.”
I’m still not quite sure that was who she actually transferred me to, as I was feeling a bit overwhelmed at the time, but it was something to do with the fire department. I felt really bad inconveniencing them, and hoped that they had enough people manning the phones that I wouldn’t get in the way of a real emergency, but they immediately helped me get into contact with “animal control.” After explaining my situation a third time, they said that the mother would hopefully come back, but that there wasn’t really much humans could do to help in this instance. We just had to sit back and wait.
I figured this would be the case, but I wanted to make absolutely certain that I had done my part. I even went as far as to create a Facebook status asking if anyone had egg incubators, and was prepared to drain my bank account to make these fragile little eggs turn into tiny bodies that I could care for if the mother was gone for good. I would do whatever it took to take care of these birds.
That was when I got Robert’s text, accompanied by a picture.
“The nest is empty!”
What? How strange, I thought. I had considered that something might have happened to the Robin, but somehow the nest seemed safe since there were no signs of an intruder on the ground. Maybe she was just confused, I thought. Could she have been a little bit crazy and just thought that she was sitting on eggs in the nest? Maybe this Robin was a first-time mother and had just done something wrong.
My heart felt so much relief. Our girl is okay, and we didn’t lose any babies! I was happy. I would surely miss our beautiful friend, but she was probably just off to bigger and better things.
I arrived at Robert’s house a few moments later. I had been rushing over to his place because I wanted to be there to help in any way I could once we had reached the proper authorities.
I parked my car and walked happily up to his home. Even though we didn’t have any of our guardian duties left, I told him I would come wait at his house until my best friend came to pick me up for our lunch date.
When I walked inside, I greeted Robert and his friend who were just getting ready to play Madden. We had a friendly conversation, and I distractedly went to the kitchen to prepare for mine and Audrey’s best friend date. I had created a little box of presents for her and wanted the presentation to look nice when she opened it, so I rearranged everything.
“I’m going to go see if the Robin is hanging out somewhere close to your backyard!” I said as I started toward the basement stairs. The look Robert and his friend gave me was unnerving. I immediately knew they had found something that wasn’t good. In true male fashion, they went back and forth about how bad the scene was in the yard, and warned that I did not want to go back there. I felt tears behind my eyes, but I didn’t want to cry in front of them, so I said I had to meet my friend and rushed out.
I went to my car and cried. Like, the Kim Kardashian, “I just lost my $100,000 diamond earrings” kind of ugly cry. I buried my face in my hands and didn’t try to make myself stop. I called Audrey, as I knew she would understand — after all, she was the person I had left dozens of messages about our Robin to, and share everything with.
She offered some comfort, and told me she would be there soon enough so we could go out and have a better day together.
Overall I realize that losing a few baby birds isn’t an “end of the world” moment or even something that will define the rest of my life in any way. It’s unfortunately just part of the circle of life, and things like this happen every single day. I do think it’s really beautiful, though, that human beings can feel so connected to little creatures that don’t have anything to showcase except their beauty and innocence. It’s amazing that we want so desperately to protect little lives that seem so fragile and how our hearts can care so deeply for creatures that we really don’t even know very much about.
The way people treat animals and show compassion and care toward others can be one of the most incredible things life has to offer. A gentle heart can be a world-changer, even if it’s just the world of a small animal or a stranger you will never see again. For these little reasons, I think that it’s so important to give a compassionate heart to everyone you meet and always be kind. You never know when just a tiny bit of your love will offer someone the hope they need to keep pushing forward and working toward a better life.
The last thing this little bird reminded me was that life is such a fragile thing and we should appreciate every second we have with our loved ones on this earth. It may sound kind of strange, but every time I see a bird now I think of what a little miracle he is. He has overcome all of the crazy obstacles life throws at him — like inclement weather and predators — and continues to fight every single day to take care of himself and keep himself alive. The circle of life can be sad, but it’s also one of the most inspirational things I could possibly think of.
Robert has since seen our Robin sitting on his yard’s fence. He said that she looks happy, but she hasn’t made a trip back to her nest. We decided that we are going to discourage any other birds from building there since it is probably too low to the ground to really be safe from predators, but I know our Robin is going to be the mother of some sweet little red-breasted babies one day, and I’ll surely always think of her when I see a robin in the wild.
One of the hardest things in the world is learning how to forgive yourself. At least for me it is.
You know when people proclaim, “I live with no regrets!” and you nod and are like, “Yeah, what this person is saying is so wise and great. I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done either. Ever.”
When I sit back and really think about it, though, I do have regrets in life. I have regrets that make me sick to my stomach and keep me up at night. I can easily forgive myself for any kind of mistakes I’ve made that affect my own life but when it comes to bringing my loved ones into the picture I have a really hard time cutting myself any sort of slack. I want the very best for the people I love, and I would do anything to make them happy. I kick myself whenever I do anything that hurts them, and would take any and every sort of pain life has to offer away from those I care about in an instant. Whenever I see someone I love hurting I wish my superpower could be taking pain away from others and giving it to myself instead. Even after knowing Robert only for a short time I knew with all my heart that I was glad I was sick instead of him. I know illness isn’t a realistic “Either/or” scenario, but I think about sickness a lot and am always relieved that I am the one with health problems, rather than someone I care about. Even after we had only been dating a few months I remember feeling like I wanted to be the one to protect his heart, and that I would do anything for this new, special person in my life — the exact same way I feel about my closest friends and entire family.
Something I used to think about a lot was how I got POTS. Doctors haven’t been able to pinpoint a cause yet, as POTS has really only been studied since 1993 or so, and they need more information on it. One theory is that people can get sick with POTS after a traumatic event. My “event” happened to be a boy, and very constantly and consistently being stressed and weighed down in a relationship.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t regret worrying so much about someone who would later not even be a part of my life. In fact, I didn’t know it then, but I would later feel like I didn’t even know what real, deep, true love was until I found it for the first time in the passenger seat of a Ford pickup truck.
I have other regrets, though, that haunt me far more than my illness.
In the same relationship I didn’t stay true to myself — in a lot of ways. I gave up pieces of myself I held near and dear to my heart, all in hopes to avoid ever having to go through any sort of heartbreak. I didn’t think that I was strong enough to handle a breakup, and decided that all the pain my heart was feeling must just be “normal” in a relationship. I thought that love was supposed to hurt, and that men just didn’t care as much about having their partner be a part of their everyday life as women did. I thought that I must be crazy, clingy, and unreasonable for wanting a boyfriend who would be a significant part of my life. I thought the jitters I felt in my heart and stomach were butterflies, when they were really just anxiety. Little did I know way back then that I was already in the middle of a terrible heartbreak — one where I was losing myself completely.
There are things I changed in that relationship that I will never be able to get back. I wish with all my heart I could rewind time and do everything over again so I wouldn’t make the mistakes that I did, but clearly that’s impossible. My next-best tactic will have to be learning to forgive myself.
If I knew then what I do now, I would have ended things and stayed single for a few years until I met the person who would completely turn the way I felt about love upside down. I would have known that I wasn’t being treated right, that people should never pressure you to do anything you aren’t comfortable with, and I would have known that there are men who care about my heart so much that they will be able to put aside some of their own dreams for mine too.
My heart still hurts often because of mistakes I can’t take back and the way they affect those I love. Sometimes I worry that I won’t ever be able to be fully loved by someone for forever with the baggage from my past.
Love is patient, love is kind.
This verse often plays in my head when I hear the word “love,” but something told me to dig deeper today. I Google “1 Corinthians 13,” as I don’t know the Bible well enough to recite the entire verse to myself verbatim. I skim until a small collection of words hit me and my heart drops into my stomach.
“LOVE KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS.”
I want to cry with relief.
God is speaking to me in a way I’ve never really felt before. I know Jesus came to this earth to die for my sins, and I know He forgives me, but for the first time in a long time I feel like I can forgive myself. I realize a real, true love can caress me gently and understand that just because I am scarred and imperfect doesn’t mean I am not worthy. Just because I made mistakes that really hurt in my past doesn’t mean my future can’t still be bright, healthy, and filled with the authentic love I have always wanted. Even though I can’t make everything right with the mistakes I have made in my life, I can look forward to creating a beautiful life with someone really special. The best thing I can do now is move on with my life and continue to look towards the bright future I have with someone who will be my forever and always, rather than dwell on the things that used to hurt me and tear me down. After all, at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter who you have been with. All that matters is who you end up with.
Dysautonomia International does not believe POTS is caused by stress or anxiety, so odds are it is not. Stress does very negatively affect the way I feel, though, which is why I now try to keep my life as stress-free as it can be.
I stayed in a relationship that wasn’t meant to be far too long. Deep down I think I somehow knew it wasn’t going to end well — or rather, if we did end up together that we would have a long, rough road ahead of us.
After the smoke cleared I realized that although any relationship will have trials, every single decision doesn’t have to be difficult. Now I am with someone who thinks I’m worth making sacrifices for, and someone who is really excited about having a future with me. I have learned that there are people in this world who are beautifully selfless and know how to love someone with a chronic illness. There are people who are as fiercely loyal as I am, and who won’t give up on a relationship just because things get tough.
Here are a few behaviors that are major red flags in a relationship:
Your significant other puts you down for things you can’t control. In my case this was my illness and the fact that I couldn’t physically work. I was a recent college graduate when I first got sick and had dreams of being an entertainment journalist. I had always been incredibly hard-working, but although I wanted more than anything to work, I physically could not have a normal job with my new chronic health condition. I was constantly told about how it “wasn’t my fault,” but that POTS was the thing keeping us in a rut. If I hadn’t gotten sick, we would be in a much happier place because there wouldn’t have to work through such a new, heavy road block.
Your concerns are always your problem. When someone treats you like you’re crazy because of seemingly normal concerns, it is called “gaslighting.” It’s funny how I never knew what this term was until a few months ago, but if your significant other acts like you wanting some of his time every week is your problem and that you are being needy, this is not normal. Your puppet master will surely turn any conflict in the relationship back on your own insecurities until you really begin questioning whether what you are asking for really is too much (Take note: if what you want seems like a very basic need in a relationship, such as quality time together, it absolutely normal. You are not crazy, and you should get out as fast as you can so that you can find someone who understands the basic fundamentals of a healthy relationship).
Your well-being is completely your own responsibility. This is a tricky one. Although I do believe people need to be happy by themselves before they can add someone else into the picture, I also believe a significant other should want to take care of you, as you would do the same for them. I’ve always been very independent and balanced my boyfriend/friend time well, but my one of my exes thought that his actions shouldn’t affect the way I felt. He didn’t understand why drunk texting me then disappearing for the night made me upset, and said that the anxiety I felt was entirely on me.
He is not a man of his word. No, it is not okay to leave you hanging for hours on end, and it is not okay to constantly break plans you have together. Yes, things sometimes come up in life that you cannot control, but if you feel like you cannot get excited about future plans with someone because they are unreliable, it’s time to find a person who will remember what they tell you and follow through in their actions.
You no longer recognize yourself when you’re with him. My ex made me anxious, pessimistic, depressed, and short-tempered. None of these are typical “Krista qualities,” and I didn’t like the person I was when we were together. The first 75% of our relationship I was myself. When he decided to change the course of his life drastically,though, and leave our relationship in the background of his life, I became a complete mess. I hadn’t realized how dependent on him I had become and quickly fell apart.
Today’s lesson: Now I am with someone who is kind, patient, and wants to take care of my heart. My boyfriend wants to spend time with me, take me out, give me little gifts “just because,” and remind me that I’m special. If you let go of what is hurting you in life, you make room for new things that are better. It’s really, really scary to let go of something that is familiar and comfortable, but if you are brave enough to, you might just learn how strong you really are.
My friends who know Robert know he’s not crazy active on social media; he definitely doesn’t have a blog I can go to and read about all of his thoughts and feelings when I miss him (And in a lot of ways I’m glad there aren’t two of us who pour our hearts out to the world — that might just be a little much in one relationship, ha!).
I was missing him a little more than usual last night and did what any millennial would — I went to his Facebook page to feel like I had some sort of connection with him while he was away at work. We don’t get to talk a ton except during my mornings or afternoons, so nighttime is a particularly difficult time for me.
I smiled at the pictures I’ve come to know so well, and teared up at the one of us the day before we had to say goodbye. Then I saw something really strange on his page. He had written a Facebook status on Thanksgiving expressing gratitude towards his friends, family, and coworkers, but included this little line in the middle of it:
“I can’t believe the holiday season is here… It was over 8 months ago that I left Virginia, but the time has gone by quickly.”
What. The. Heck?!?!
IN WHAT WORLD HAS TIME GONE BY QUICKLY?!
I flash back to February when we said “goodbye” to our weekend visits. I barely even remember what it’s like to see someone outside my family that regularly.
Then I think back to March and saying goodbye in Richmond. Okay, I’ll give him that, the emotions are still raw from watching him leave at 4:30 in the morning. I still can’t go back to that day without feeling really torn up about it. I am certain deep down to my core that the day we said goodbye in Richmond is exactly what leaving for a deployment is supposed to feel like. I remember walking him out to the bus, holding his hand and feeling tears dance right behind my eyes, but holding them in as best as I possibly could until I was able to run back into the lobby and break down. I remember feeling the way Kim Kardashian must when she does her signature “ugly cry” in front of everyone in the hotel lobby. When the man at the front desk asked if I was okay and came over to try to help me feel better, he put his hand on my shoulder and had a look of pity in his eyes I didn’t recognize because I hadn’t ever earned it before. This was the first time I showed that much of myself to a stranger. I remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realized in that moment that I was now one of the people I had always felt bad for in the past. I was someone who had to watch a loved one leave to serve for my country, and I had someone to worry about for the next ten months.
I think back to Baltimore in April and the two precious days we had together after we thought we wouldn’t see each other again until January or February. I remember that day so well too, but it feels so long ago.
As does the first week of him being gone and the many little moments I’ve collected along the way where I’ve tried my hardest to muster up just enough strength to keep pressing forward, even when I feel like my heart might not be able to handle another day of everything a deployment has to offer. Missing him often feels kind of the same day-to-day, but I can think back to several particularly difficult moments. Pulling my car to the side of the road to cry, attending weddings and events as the only couple-less one of our group, and spending many chilly fall evenings in my PJs by myself wishing I had a snuggle buddy to name just a few.
Time is such a funny thing, and though it’s seemed very different to each of us, we both have experienced the exact same amount of time apart. We’ve also been blessed to spend the same amount with each other; it just somehow never feels like enough to me.
I’m hoping we’ll get lots of time together when he’s back. Time is easily the most valuable thing I own, and I love spending it on the people I care about most in life. I may hate deployments, but I absolutely love my soldier.