On the fifth day of Christmas, we’re honored to feature Linda.
What were the greatest blessings of 2010?
The greatest blessings of this year were granted during my darkest days. I had always been insular, quiet, and shy. When my husband, Phil, deployed to Afghanistan, I was waiting, always waiting for him to come home to me.
On April 27, 2011, Phil was assassinated by somebody he trusted.
God provided so many blessings. People reached me even at my most unlovable state. Acquaintences and people I have never met have become my lifelines and best friends.
For instance, the amazing women of Colorado Springs who decided that I needed a wonderful 50th birthday party in July. They rented a house, took me zip lining and surprised me with my daughter flying in.
A second example is the man who noticed I was always online all night long. He was the photojournalist stationed with Phil in Afghanistan. He carried me through the darkest hours by praying, listening online, making me laugh, and just being there. He is home to his family, but he always remembers the 27th of each month and he still checks in on me all of the time.
How has your approach to finding a mate evolved?
At first I couldn’t imagine dating or being with another man. Two hours before Phil deployed, we had the what-if talk. I laughed at him. I told him that if I was going to date, he would have to shove somebody into my arms and make it abundantly clear. I wanted my Phil to be happy should something happen to me and he wanted the same for me.
In June I was cowering under the sheets of my bed crying. I had just seen the pictures of my husband’s broken body. I cried my soul to God. I didn’t want to live, but I wasn’t doing anything about it.
Across my mind and in my heart, a picture flashed of me standing with a tall man at the altar. I couldn’t see his face, but I knew. When I got to Germany for a teaching position, I was lonely, really lonely. I didn’t have access to grief support, so I went looking online.
CatholicMatch had the widow/widower support forum. I joined for that reason – not to date. I made many friends, but I effectively shut every man down until one man touched me with so many coincidences that I knew he was getting pushed into my arms. I have started the slow walk forward. We live 8,000 miles away from each other.
What’s your CatholicMatch strategy?
I have no strategy. I was looking for friendship. I responded to everyone with friendship chats.
Why do you stay on CatholicMatch?
I stay because CatholicMatch feeds me spiritually. I have made so many friends who still think of me and walk with me. While I may have my one special CatholicMatch man, I need the spiritual questions, thoughts, and friends I have made.
What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?
My favorite Christmas tradition is playing family bingo for small gift cards on Christmas Eve before midnight Mass. My children are all grown up, so the traditions of their youth evolved into bingo, complete with booby prizes and a cut-out of my daughter Emily the year she was deployed to Afghanistan over the holidays.
I love Christmas. My traditions are going to have to change again, but I love the spirit of hope.
What is your hope for 2011?
My hope for this year is to continue to step forward with my special CatholicMatch man and to be more aware of other people’s pain. My other goal is to start another master’s degree in creative writing and get my blog published as a book.
Make a prediction for 2012.
2012 will probably mean lots of frequent flyer miles and Skype conversations. I predict it will be a year of new beginnings.