His hand reaches out to me, but he’s too distant for me to touch. Steadily I weep as I struggle to meet him on common ground, but my perseverance has gone in vain. When he left for duty, a part of me knew there was a chance I wouldn’t see him again, and that our unborn daughter may never know her father. Despite the odds of him being killed, I somehow convinced myself that he would return. Patiently I waited while silently convincing our daughter that her father would be happy to see her.
A week before Christmas, is the day I learn Joshua was killed. Cursing the commander for playing a cruel joke, and ripping Joshua’s farewell letter to shreds. I knew that if I opened it, it confirmed his death. No matter the contents may be something that would help console me. I needed Joshua to tell me everything in person.
Waking up in the morning has been a nightmare in itself. I’m reminded that I must spend another day without my soul mate. The life we built together is now one I must live alone. I can’t help the tears as they flow constantly down my face. What have we done to deserve this? I look in the mirror and face an unrecognizable image – a woman with eyes as red as tomatoes and skin as dead as my great grandmother. God help me recover…if there is recovery.
Surrounded by silence and a small ray of morning light that seeps through the kitchen curtain, I sort through old photos replaying all of the goodness about him. One of the photos captures his thrill for adrenaline as he bungee jumps from one of the highest bridges in our city. I remember that day, it was the first time we hitchhiked from one city to another. Boy do I wish he’d hitch a ride back to the physical world and release me from anguish.
His mother stopped by yesterday and we didn’t say much to one another. I guess it was mostly my fault that we didn’t. But how can I comfort another woman, when no one is here to comfort me? My heart won’t allow for me to comprehend our reality.
Enthusiastically, I’m living in fantasy and hoping that if God sees my despair, he’d bring my husband home. I refuse to believe that Joshua is destined to meet me in my dreams for the rest of my life. Wasn’t it enough that I waited my entire life for this man before we married?
One night I almost lost it and summoned Joshua to speak to me. I called out repeatedly for him, and when that got old, I spoke to him as if he were sitting on the edge of the bed listening. “Joshua – come back to me! Please come back, I can’t do this alone….Joshua…” I pause as if I expect an answer, “…can you hear me?”
Life has stopped and I wish that time would stop with it, or at least backtrack to the day Joshua left to serve his country. Maybe I could’ve held him a little longer. Maybe I could’ve told him that he better come back to me. If I hadn’t underestimated the dangers of war, I could’ve saved him…couldn’t I?
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and also the day of Joshua’s funeral. I take a deep sigh as I try my hardest to quiet my mind enough to get sleep. Just as I shut my eyes, a cold gush of air passed me. I looked around nervously as the heat from the vent warmed my body. A few moments passed before I figured that the cold air was Joshua’s spirit. For the first time in two weeks I feel him next to me. Feeling crazy and desperate, I call to him, “Joshua, are you here?”
A few moments later, my belly rumbles. Our daughter is kicking – but it’s an unusual feeling. It feels as if she is somehow playing. I sit still and try to get in tune with what is happening. For a quick second I thought I was crazy…I heard a baby laugh. Is it possible? Could Joshua be playing with her! I listen a little while longer and the kicks get softer. Sensing she was asleep, I smiled. Call me crazy, but I believe that Joshua put our daughter to sleep. I lay back on the bed and embrace the cold air as it hovers around me.
I guess in my crazy mind Joshua was telling me that although he’s no longer protecting his country, he’s always here protecting us.