Left Behind, a Prequel

Or Women: Can’t Live with Them

God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.

  • Psalm 46:5

Okay, first, the Scripture.  The ‘she’ is God’s Holy city, not a woman, but I feel like taking this out of context for a special reason.

I wanted to title this “Women: Can’t live with them” leaving off the “can’t live without them” line.  The original line is a quote from Desiderius Erasmus.

My wife, who this is about, sort of, wanted the title of “Left Behind”.  She likes the series, Kurt Cameron videos and the books.

I wrote last week that my wife was going to stay in Tennessee until late Spring, early summer.  Our daughter-in-law is taking day classes this semester and she needs a babysitter as our five-year-old grandson is not in kindergarten yet.  The timely addition of our son’s health condition allows my wife to help with the housework, and thus help to reduce his stress level.  She was already driving them crazy by readjusting the menu each day that we were there, adding an extra day, adjusting for the existence of leftovers, etc.  Washing clothing is a daily thing.  There are now six under the same roof.

This may be our longest time apart.  I do not use the term “separation”.  That has a legal connotation and the thought of conflict.  We are fine in that regard.  She has been wanting to live near the grandchildren, the little ones, and at this point they need her.  What I hope to do in her absence is clean up the house.  I want to throw away a lot, and I want to organize what is left.  When she returns in the summer, my wife and I might decide to live in something smaller.  We’ll need to have less stuff.

I was thinking of the two early separations when I left my son’s home this time.  I did not cry this time.  The first two times, I did.  I was called into the Army.  I was an officer, a 2nd lieutenant, so I could not show my emotions to my wife and ten-month-old son, but I sobbed as I drove the car from Texas to Virginia, reporting in at Fort Belvoir, outside Washington, DC.  The second time was again in the Army.  I asked my sister to drop off my wife and two children (then 4 and 1) in Texas while I drove to Boston, MA.  We thought the first separation would be for 4 months, but my wife quit her semester of college and joined me two months later in time to celebrate our son’s first birthday.  The second separation was open-ended.  My wife was going to stay with her family in Texas until I found a place for us to live.  I found a hayloft – literally.  At the old Watertown Arsenal in Watertown, MA, the stables, not used for horses in 70-80 years by that time, was converted into a number of apartments.  Ours was a second-floor apartment where the hayloft had been.  This apartment was about 600 square feet, and oddly shaped.  One niche fit the crib perfectly.  Some other corners were totally unusable and, since I had a garage across the street, I parked in the employee parking lot and used the garage to store what would not fit in the apartment.  I was a captain by this point; with two children, I was authorized more than twice the space.  Nothing of that size was available.  The separation was only about a month.

I have had a few month-long separations due to projects with my employment, India, Thailand, and Florida.  So, I got used to leaving.  I just didn’t like it.  Also, the children are grown and have families of their own.  There was no need to cry.  This time, she was needed and she stayed behind.

Yet, I prayed for a long time about how our days together are limited, and we needed to make the most of them.  I do not want to be left with the regret that I missed out on being with her for these months.  Odd, I mourned leaving my young wife and children behind, because the boys might take their first steps or say a word.  I wanted to be there for those milestones.  Now, I lamented not knowing how many days we have left together – a totally different perspective.  The dawn of life versus the fragility near the end of life.

And as for having this all organized in my mind:  This is the first full day since being back in PA.  I have not slept well – opting for the couch and recliner to the bed due to sinus drainage clogging my nose, but I have slept often, each time waking up, having dreamed of my wife and getting up to go into the next room to tell her about the dream – yet, realizing after taking a couple of steps that she is not there.  So, my brain has this figured out, but the heart does not.

As for my wife, I pray, like the Scripture above, that my wife does not fall.  She is taking blood thinners, and a fall might be an immediate trip to the emergency room – especially if she hits her head.  As for the strength at the break of day, my wife often has bad nights of sleep – like no sleep at all.  With nothing to do before going to Tennessee, she often slept until noon, not going to sleep until near dawn.  With a very active grandson, she can’t do that now.

It is hoped that our son will be back to work next week, but he is having misgivings, maybe a little concerned.  I bought him a wheelchair so that he can sit and teach the children.  He still falls occasionally.

But why do happily married people feel … off … when they are separated from their spouse?  Maybe it’s what the Bible says in Genesis 2:24 and quoted by Jesus in Matthew 2:4-5.  Marriage is between a man and a woman and the two become one flesh.  If we are apart, there is a part of me that is not here with me.  My wife, as she chases an active child, may not have this reflection, but she has already said that she misses me.  It is natural, for we have definitely become one flesh.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

10 Comments

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  1. That must be hard, may He bless you both with strength for everything that comes your way. For she was made a help meet to him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can understand Mark—
    Ever since the Mayor came along, we’ve experienced some similar situations.

    Currently now, later in our married life, my husband and I have only been separated when he might go on the occasional brief hunting trip or when my aunt and I would go on a travel adventure here and there…but for the majority of the time, since our son left home for college and has since married and moved on, it’s pretty much just us. Together.
    All the time.
    For better or worse right ?! 🙂

    But when the Mayor came, I found myself having to go over to be with them and staying for weeks at a time when she first came home from the hospital…and then when she’d get sick and they’d need me there—
    Add in now the Sheriff, and I’m there almost more than I am here…or so it feels.

    When my husband still had his business, it wasn’t so bad for him to be here without me as he was gone all day working. However, he did miss coming home to someone being home—especially someone who always had a hot meal waiting.

    Now retired, our days revolve around “us”— especially in the winter months as we’re both here in the house.

    During warmer weather, he’s always outside working in the yard or doing something with the house—the rainy winters pretty much keep him hemmed in, much like a caged animal pacing (or more like bored and napping in his recliner).

    So these days now, when I’m gone, be it for even a day or two, he has a hard time with the loneliness.
    As would I if he was the one always going.

    It’s funny, he was a confirmed bachelor when we married 37 years ago. He was ten years older than me—he was 33 and I was 23. So when he wasn’t working at the store ( a six day’s a week retail business) he was fishing or hunting…thus never being home.
    Being young and without children and having moved to his home town where I knew no one, I was the one struggling asI felt very lonely.

    I will say that when I am away and swamped helping with the cooking, cleaning, and childcare, much as your wife is now, I will find myself falling into bed (aka sofa sleeper) exhausted but missing my husband terribly…just missing that connecting puzzle piece to my world–the comfort found in my other half—

    So I certainly imagine that this separation, although seemingly necessary, is indeed hard for both of you yet perhaps oddly, for different reasons.

    We miss out connected half.

    And like you, I think about time…and how much or how little we have left.
    Even when my aunt and I would go on our trips…I would grow very “homesick” fretting I was losing time yet I longed to travel and see things I knew he’d never want to see.

    And yet I think of that young gal sports reporter whose father-n-law is the assistant coach for LSU— she was one of those killed in that small plane crash that was headed to Peach Bowl this past week.
    She was only 30 years old—she and her husband were just starting a life together.
    And what they imagined to be a lifetime ahead of them was suddenly over.

    So we just never know do we?

    Have ya’ll thought about moving southward, leaving Pennsylvania?
    Or is your other son’s family there?

    With our son transitioning to working from home—we’re pushing that maybe they could move back here…so much so that we’d take the loan out for them to help with a new house…
    We just want them close.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As for the caged animal asleep on the recliner – Guilty! As for moving South? I don’t know. This past summer I got extremely hot, in the mid to high 80s, Low 90s. I literally would get ill. A daily diet? My wife wants to be where she is right now, but with a house of her own. My goal is to spend the next few months throwing things away and organizing. If we can go small, we could move to western TN, but is there any guarantee that our son would stay there? We have no guarantee that he’ll continue teaching music. He is still rather shaky. My problem is that 10-20 times each day, I will jump up to check on my wife and then sit back down, remembering that she is too far away to check. How long does that last?

      Liked by 1 person

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