“So what’s going on?” The single mom’s dad asked when he realized how sad she was. This response to her constant outbreaks of crying was a bit shocking, and very uncharacteristic of her dad. She had expected angry accusations such as “What’s the matter with you?” She told her dad how devastated she was without her steady boyfriend and that she didn’t know how she was going to keep it together.

She thought he might offer some advice on how to get through her overwhelming sadness. Instead, he pushed her  even further down. If there were any remaining shreds of self-esteem left in the single mom, they ripped apart when her dad said, “If I were you I would forget about him. If you think this has been more than a fling for him, you are kidding yourself. He is never going to marry you. I would let it go.”

Interestingly, her dad thought he was giving fatherly advice, and cautioning the single mom.

“Wait a minute,” she thought to herself. “Is this what we have been about? A fling? Yeah, maybe so.”

Repeatedly, in her scrambled brain the single mom thought, “I’m not good enough for him. He has a bright future ahead of him as an officer in the Marine Corps. Why would he want to marry me, a loser, with three little kids?”

After the boyfriend had been gone about two weeks, the first letter came, the next day another, and the next day after that another. Almost every day a letter came; all with “I miss you” and “I love you” in between the details of his new life. The single mom never wrote back. After three weeks, the letters quit coming.

At the height of their relationship, the single mom had actually allowed herself to taste, ever so slightly, the sweetness of a shared life, one that would offer not only love and companionship, but also relief from single motherhood. She had ended the relationship, and by doing so, robbed herself of hope. A tragic tailspin ensued. She was feeling so sorry for herself; she chose not to even think about him.

One of the single mom and boyfriend’s mutual friends wanted to know what was going on.

“Why aren’t you answering his letters? It has really bothered him that you haven’t written him, not one time.”

“Because I don’t think he’s ever going to marry me, that’s why,” she said bitterly.

“Well, it has really hurt his feelings.” The single mom replied, “Well, I don’t know what else I can do.”

A year or more had passed, when the single mom got a sobering phone call from her friend about the boyfriend she had loved but rejected.

“I thought you should know that he was shot down over Vietnam and killed.”

By this time, the single mom’s life had gone in a different direction, and she said, “Oh, that’s too bad. I know this will be hard on his mother.” At that point and cold in her response, she buried the marine, along with the fond memories about their relationship.

To be continued …

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