Balancing Military Girlfriend and Widowhood

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George’s death is a central part of my life, and widowhood has taught me valuable lessons on coping skills and managing the cold breeze of loneliness. Something I’ve utilized and applied these past several months while my boyfriend is deployed. Being widowed has helped me transition into my new role of being a military girlfriend. However, in a few weeks, my boyfriend will return from the Middle East, and I am ready to have him home and back sharing our lives together. But I’m having flashback again.

On Thursday, with my purple camelback snuggled up to me, headphones in and podcast ready to go, I galloped onto the streets beginning my 17-mile run. It took me about 3 hours to complete. The morning was hot, but the humidity wasn’t as restrictive as usual. I cut through the first 10 miles well until I hit a road block between miles 11 and 12 with hamstring and calf cramps. So I walked for a bit and munched on some snacks and refilled my water at the local country club. I was on the count down.

Just five more miles, I thought to myself. Just five more.

As I was running, I saw George, but not the way most of my memories travel through my skull. But it was a flashback to when he died. And I’m having a hard time shaking the sharpness of the image. His skin coloring, empty eyes, the putrid smell of ammonia, his stained clothes, the dimness in the room, it lingers in my mind like a bad taste in your mouth. It is just one swift thought away.

And I don’t know how to address it or talk about it, so instead, I’ll write about it. If someone with similar experiences can relate, it would help me tremendously to connect.

With getting along by myself over the last few months, I think it has become natural to me. I need to tread lightly here because I do love my boyfriend and I want him home. It hasn’t been easy having him away, but truthfully, I spoke with him about this as well, it’s not the worst thing I’ve had to do. Though I miss him deeply, and I wish I can snuggle up with him on the couch, when I get a text from him, it helps me understand that his deployment is temporary. George is dead. But with the first few months of grief, I remember not being able to differentiate anger and anxiety, which resulted in total irascible and explosive reactions. I am beginning to think I am having a hard time differentiating excitement and anxiety which is beginning to transform into worry. And the inability to understand my emotions are causing this numbing return to grief.

However, there’s something between dealing with deployment and being widowed that has brought me back to this familiar pain, but in an evolved state. In the first few months of grief, I remember not being able to differentiate anger and anxiety, which resulted in total irascible and explosive reactions. Whereas now I am having a hard time differentiating excitement and anxiety, which is beginning to transform into worry. And the inability to understand my emotions are causing this numbness.

The inability to understand my emotions is causing an overwhelming sadness. But just moments of sadness, like every time I walk my dogs, I’ve been crying. When I take a shower, I cry. And it’s haunting and I keep reminding myself, I’m on the downhill.

Just five more weeks. I say to myself. Just five more.

 

 

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About J.

Fitness professional, fitness & nutrition writer, widowed at 28. Writing about getting through grief through self-care, physical activity, and the ​constant feeling of being uncomfortable.
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