Our favorite photo, that we always carried with us anytime we were away from one another. We thought it was the perfect photo to have at our wedding. 

After Frankie was killed, I had to go back to Hawaii to take care of our belongings --- 
I decided to stay for six months to be by myself away from everyone. Hawaii was home for our first two years of married life. Our paradise. Our blessing of a duty station.  Moving back was my way of trying to find healing, to be in a place that we loved so much and to force myself to face doing things on my own again.

I did the things we would have done, only solo most of the time. The grief was overwhelming and made me fear what was ahead sometimes, but all I had to do was go to a place I loved, or a place Frankie would have loved, (usually one in the same) and I would feel better.  The beach, a hike, to the movies, out to dinner, take a swim in the ocean, on a bike ride, or a long run.  It was strange at first doing everything on my own, but I thought --- well... I better get used to it, because I knew long before he was killed that if anything ever happened to one of us, we were still married for time and all eternity.  We talked about it once, after a grand-parent had passed, when we were only  a few months into dating, and we both locked eyes, tears formed --- and we both said without saying it that we would wait... while our heads nodded in agreement.  It was too difficult even then to imagine life without one another, and six years later even more unbearable to fathom. 

I lived in a different town on a different shore of the island, only because I found a beautiful, safe place to live, and I know Frankie would have been adamant about me finding somewhere with a gated complex, security, a parking garage, and a dead-bolt lock; all on the highest floor, of course. 
He was always nervous about me being alone.  I have always been very independent, with a good head on my shoulders. I moved to New York at 17 just after graduating high school by myself, but Frankie never wanted anything to happen to me while he was away... I think it was his worst fear --- I know exactly how he felt.  

So here I was alone --- without Frankie --- but with him too.  With him in our love, and in our memories.  It was such a difficult time for me, but a beautiful time for me as well.  I learned so much more about how our love truly would never fade and how I know without a doubt that our marriage is eternal.  I learned that he is with me where ever I choose to take him.  I learned that my heart, though shattered at the thought of facing this life without him, would make it through, and that it was because of the gift of him that I am able to feel peaceful and somehow content at facing the deepest void a human being can possibly feel. I felt that peace almost immediately, and always in my darkest hours.

I learned that our love, our beautiful gift of love from God would always give me joy, and that I have so much to be thankful for.  So much beyond description really.  I learned I will take Frankie with me everywhere I go.  Any path I choose to take is mine for the taking, because I know he wants me to experience this life as fully as possible, and I know he will be waiting and preparing for my return, and then we will know true paradise and we will be home together forever.
And I know he will be proud that I did it by myself --- all alone....but not really. 

I am so in love with you Frankie.  I can't wait to take your love everywhere with me.

Frankie would have loved it here --- so I had to take a semi-illegal photo... :)


The Hunts said...

Beautiful. I love that you take your favorite picture with you everywhere. What a sweet momento.

Anonymous said...

First off, I read this when you first posted it, but the darn iphone deleted my comment. in all honesty, your posts do it for me! They bring a slice of that feeling...you know it...the feeling that they're on their way home from work and you have his love...and his embrace to follow...

I think each of us can sustain on this world without them here...solely by the knowledge that we still share that eternal love and will reunite...but when the candles wick fades...your posts and your love for frankie, reminds me that I'm not alone...and the flame bursts yet again...never ever going out.

Love you both and thank you for the strength you give me..and know that Michael is forever grateful, as well.

Jenielle said...

As always, the sinccerity of your beautiful words makes me proud to call you friend. Dear your love is a miracle!

Lacey said...

I second the notion that your post does it for me! I know that I can use Elliott's love to get by. But, sometimes the grief gets so dark that I can't see the light and I doubt my ability to hold on. I want to live in his love until I find him again and we are reunited. Reading your posts give me back some sanity, like waiting to be with my husband isn't a grief stricken widows crazy idea. But the conviction of a strong woman who's tasted the sweetness of true love. Thanks for helping me to remember i'm not the only one...