My husband returns home tomorrow. It’s been two week since he sat next to me on the couch watching Orange is the New Black. Two weeks since he fired up the grill for a fajita dinner. Two weeks since I kissed his sleepy face goodbye as I ran off to bootcamp at some ungodly hour. My husband had been summoned to Japan to take tours of facilities and sit in hours of meetings for work. It was been a long two weeks.
For a year and a half of our dating life we lived apart. When he applied to the competitive two year rotational program at work, knowing he could be placed time zones away from me for eight month periods, I said to him, “Ok. But I want you know that I’m in this for the long haul. If you go away, I expect that we’ll still be together when you get back.” For sixteen months he was in Pennsylvania, commuting back to Connecticut on the weekends to see his girlfriend. It could have been worse, I know. It could have been Canada or Puerto Rico or Troy, Alabama, but it still wasn’t Connecticut. After sixteen months he came back and three months later we were married. Turns out he was in it for the long haul too.
In the scheme of things two weeks may not seem like much, but this will actually be the longest we’ve ever been apart. It comes at a tough time too. I’m still actively grieving, adjusting to my return to a job full of triggers and battling emotional mood swings. Enough time has passed and I appear to be functioning, so I’m not on people’s radar as much. The first week, I turned out to be quite busy, which was nice. The second week, I have had less invites (not none, though), but that turned out to be a good thing. I was a bit in the doldrums and needed time by myself, something I haven’t felt I needed in a long time. I guess without my rock, my Chris, I don’t function as well. The thirteen hour time difference didn’t help- his morning is my night and so we were always catching each other on our way out the door.
Right now he is on a direct flight from Tokyo to New York. I can’t help but be worried. In the past few months I’ve developed an acute sense of worry about my husband’s well being. I have him email me when he gets to work every day, just so that I know he didn’t get in a car accident. This year I’ve faced what many would call one of the worst possible things- but I know differently; it could be worse. I could lose even more. I could lose Chris. Being struck by tragedy once has made me sensitive to the idea that other tragedies can happen, as unlikely as they might be. This is a normal process of grief, I know, but normalizing it doesn’t lessen it. A commercial plane was just shot down mistakenly and almost three hundred people lost their lives. That news story has amplified my worry about Chris’s travel. Sixteen hours in the air, with no way to contact me to tell me he’s fine. I’m holding my breath until he lands.