I am a Vietnam ‘widow of the heart’
I just watched a short video about this project and was reminded of my own story in 1968 during the Vietnam War. I came to this website and felt inspired to write my story for the first time. Just as your stories touched me deeply as the story of my past, I hope you will be uplifted by my story ‘from the future’ of all of your lives.
The first story I read was Katie Swenson’s, and it was like reading my own story. The difference between Katie and I is that Tom and I didn’t get married before he deployed for Vietnam. So I didn’t have a ring or a title, but he had my heart and my dreams. And six months later when I received the news right before finals week at college, my entire world fell apart.
I was 18. And I cried for a very long time, years. Even decades later when I was happily married, I went through several emotional ‘processes’ to try to clear the ‘residual’ pain, which will never fade completely, and you don’t want it to, and I have grateful tears in my eyes even now as I write this 43 years later.
What I’d like to share with all of you, as difficult as it may be right now, is to be grateful for the time you had. We all had so little, and each moment is so precious. And as so many of you have expressed, I also hadn’t loved anyone before the way I loved Tom. He touched a place inside of me that I didn’t know existed. He opened me to love. And for that I am so very grateful.
So please allow the pain, treasure it. It is a gift to have opened your heart and loved someone so much. The pain will learn to live at first side by side with the joy you find in your life, and then it will live beneath the joy. And you have to live in total utter joy to celebrate life enough for both of you.
You are all so very blessed to have this way to connect with each other, to share the pain and to celebrate. I had no one to reflect my experience back to me, and I just went on trying to make sense of it all. This is the first time I’ve shared my story in this way.
Eventually I found my joy again. After struggling with two marriages (the first one, although I loved him, I really wasn’t ready to love again, so take your time), I married a very wonderful man whom I dearly love, and we have shared a deeply meaningful and spirit-filled life. This year we celebrate our 25th anniversary.
I am now 61. I have lived, I am still living, I am very happy and grateful for a magical and expansive life. And I am very grateful for the special place Tom has in my heart where he lives through the joy I have created in my life.
The beautiful thing about the heart is that it is so expansive it is infinite in its capacity to love. So please continue to walk the path of your heart and allow your heart to seek out what it does best, which is always to love more and live a greater life than you thought possible.
My love and support to each of you,
4 thoughts on “A Vietnam Widow’s Letter to AWP”
Thank you Faith for sharing your courage, hope, life experience and wisdom. It does my heart good to see another Vietnam widow of war post and share after all these years. (((hugs))) to you. You can contact me personally through my web site. tworainbowspublishing.com. Would love to connect up with you.
“The beautiful thing about the heart is that it is so expansive it is infinite in its capacity to love. So please continue to walk the path of your heart and allow your heart to seek out what it does best, which is always to love more and live a greater life than you thought possible.”
Thank you so much for writing down your story here. Your story and all the stories at this website have helped me in my healing. We are not alone anymore.
My Richard and I were not married either. He did return from Vietnam in December of 1970 when we were 21 years old but remained haunted by his war experiences until his death in April of 2008 in a VA hospital. We lived together for the first five months after his return from Vietnam. It was a bewildering and frightening time for both of us. In so many ways, he never came home from Vietnam. I lost him in 1971 to PTSD, drugs, and alcoholism and then lost him again in April of 2008.
I was with him in the ICU in the last week of his life. The love we shared didn’t die. I am a American Widow, too. All of us have come a long way — together in spirit.
Glenda’s book has a special place on my shelf of healing books. I recommend it.
“Talking 37th Dream (Rumors of Peace)” is the blog I started on December 8, 2006, in order to find peace with myself and Richard. That was 36 years from the painful day that he returned from Vietnam, broken in spirit.
I, too, send love and encouragement to the new generation of widows.
Thank you for sharing this. I have been a widow for almost two months now, even though I didn’t marry my honey either. It is so hard to think that life will go on, and reading stories like yours is inspiring, especially because I learn that the pain won’t go away and that I’ll always miss him and wonder what if, and that this is ok.
Once again, thank you.
Ladies, I so admire you for speaking out about your grief. I have buried mine for so many years after Bob died. (5-13-70) I re married way to soon after but I was young and scared with a 9 month oldI Also., I was hopeless in love with a man that I never dreamed would betray me….but he did in more ways than one.
Amanda, I have always thought that if Bob had come back that his
spirit would have been broken, because he was such a gentle man.
Comments are closed.