If absence makes the heart grow fonder, why do I feel mine break a little more every day that I spend away from my husband? It’s been almost two months since I’ve seen him, almost two years since we’ve been doing this torturous dance….a couple weeks together, a few months apart…a few weeks together, a couple months apart. You’d think I’d be used to it by now. Quite the opposite, in fact. My husband’s absence gets harder and harder to bear with each passing day.
I’m not sure what has changed, exactly, but something has. I’m no longer as optimistic and hopeful as I once was about us being able to maintain a successful marriage even though we live 1,300 miles apart. I struggle to still find romanticism in the whole “Army thing”, sending letters and care packages, late night phone calls, joyful reunions, tearful goodbyes, sleeping next to a teddy bear that wears his dog tags more often than I sleep next to him. I feel…..bitter.
People tell me and my husband all the time that our love story is like a fairytale. I’ve said it myself, more than once. And I suppose it’s true. The thing about fairytales is this: the best part begins after the story ends. In the “and they all lived happily ever after” at the end of every fairytale lies the realness. And that’s what I want. Real. I want my marriage to be real. I want my husband to be real. Sometimes I feel like he’s just a figment of my imagination. “When my husband comes home” plans are becoming as hopeless to me as my “when I win the lotto” plans. It’s a nice dream to have, but it’s not practical to pin all my hopes for the future on it.
And therein lies the problem. Because I have pinned all my hopes and dreams on this marriage. Giving up is not an option. As hard as it is to go through the hell of living across the country from my husband, the only worse thing I can think of would be to not have him in my life at all. There’s a reason I continue to hold on, even when I’m 99% sure it would be easier in the long run to just let go. That reason is that my husband is my soul mate. He not only has my heart, he is my heart. I could never live without him, even if that means I have to live apart from him for the time being. So the torture continues.
Every night I lie in bed, close my eyes, and pretend my husband’s lying next to me, sleeping soundly. Then I laugh, because I know in reality that there’s no way he could ever sleep that quietly. He’s the loudest sleeper I know. I miss having to punch him in the arm at least five times a night to get him to shut up. And then I start thinking about all the other little things I miss about having him home, many of them the same things that drive me completely bonkers when he is here. And then I realize that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. But it breaks it, too.