I Return

  • I return
    • Lonely,
    • Exhausted,
    • And expectant.
  • It has been
    • A very long time,
    • Measured in feelings.
  • In hours
    • And days,
    • Measurements have little meaning.
  • It has been counted and recounted
    • In heart beats,
    • And matters much.

Originally written:    12/11/1997

  • Time spent away from a loved one is measured differently by the minds and hearts involved. Before the journey there is an ache and a reluctance to depart.  The scene of departure of a loved one causes tears and physical pain.   I remember a story of a relative breaking down at the son’s departure for Iraq.  The son had to come back through security and took a later flight.  Even at the second flight it caused pain.   The worry of  mother for son about the dangers of  being apart.  The greater possibility of injury or death in a war increases the heart ache. This is true of all of the lovers kissing good-bye as one departs for war.  I know my Mom and Dad went through that moment when Dad left for WW II in April 1942. . 

Time is measured differently by those separated.  Minutes and hours, even days are exchanged for heartbeats, emptiness, and sighs of  longing.  As the aches and pains accumulate with a loved one parted,  they ebb and flow with the act of daily living, chores and dramas.  When quiet moments come, so does the anxiety, pains and even tears of longing.  Letter writing helped in the past.  Today, Skype, email, texting, Twitter, and Facebook helps keep families and loved ones in contact.   These help ease the agony of being separated but do not eliminate the desire to be together.

  • Then, there are the homecomings.  The memory of the parting, time apart, even the tears disappear into the memory graveyard.  All memory of the agony of  the parting is replaced with the joy of being in each other’s presence.    Then again, there are those rare, but too often occasions when a solemn knock on the door signals a life of grieving for a parted loved one.
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2 responses to “I Return

  1. Beautifully written piece. So much goes on in our hearts and minds that resists all numbers and equations. Our inner clock is so different from the clock on the wall.

  2. This was a very well written piece. Sir I am one of those sons, fathers, lovers sent to fight in a land far away. You are very right we often measure life in very broad terms that may not matter. I wrote an obituary for a friend and in it I addressed something I read about and it started me thinking. When we look at a gravestone, almost every one has something in common. Two dates connected by a dash, the date of birth and the date of death. This dash represents a person’s entire life. Such a simple short untelling symbol. Some dashes represent a longer period of time than others but they are all represent a condenced book that is that individuals life. We should strive to fill our books with those “heartbeats” you speak of and by realizing how much more the quality of those moments rather than their length, we can turn our book into a library touching the lives of others forever.

    I am returning to a broken home after 23 years of being married to a wonderful woman, and a very shakey financial and career future. But there is much solice in remembering the seconds and heartbeats of time that have made up my life. Life is not a destination in itself, but a journey to be enjoyed and savored. May your dash be filled with heatbeats and sighs that always take your breath away.

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