Your remark, I never not once complained about his lack of being there because I knew for him it was integral to his sense of self worth, was a subtle insight. How did you figure that out? It seems that one of the important foundations that allowed you to accept his frequent times away from home was that you felt you could trust him absolutely.
I hope that men are not intimidated by your future Phd. If you decide to change Phd to Phood, let me know.
I hope my PhD doesn't intimidate lol but I suppose it might :-(.
I've been pondering this response with far more difficulty that I thought I would, and after writing and rewriting, the answer finally came to me. How was I able to figure that out? Plain and simple, a gift from the Holy Spirit. As Catholics we should remember and believe that a Sacramental marriage is infused with gifts that assist us in marriage. For me, I think one of them was being able to truly see and deeply and unconditionally love Pete. Perhaps seeing in him what God sees in him. As remarkable as Pete could be, he was also deeply flawed by a childhood that was substantially lacking in true love and care. He set rigid standards for himself and when he felt he had violated them, he was harsher than I could ever have been with him. But, no matter what the exterior appeared to be, I somehow always knew what was really there. And, I can only say that it was a gift of the Holy Spirit, because had I been left to my own human frailties, there were times I might have taken things as personal affronts and bailed.
A few weeks before Pete was killed, we were in the car and all of a sudden he reached over and grabbed my hand and kissed the back of it. There were tears on his cheek. And, he said, "I am so glad you never gave up on me." I smiled and kissed the back of his hand and said, "Well, I couldn't give up on you, not ever." He whispered, "Me neither."
We built a good life, we weathered some serious storms, we enjoyed some perfectly calm seas, we raised four strong, loving, capable children. We were strong when the other was weak. And, through it all, somehow we were able to just love each other, despite our flaws and inconsiderate moments. And, I know we made it because we had help in doing so.
Now if the Holy Spirit would give me some clue as to what the next phase of my life is supposed to be, I would feel so much better. He has been very quiet since Pete was killed and I feel a bit adrift.