Missing 4 P’s

Sgt Patrick Tainsh, USA Sgt Major David Tainsh, USMC

When our son. Sgt Patrick Tainsh, was killed in action in Iraq, February 11, 2004, media came out of the woodwork to interview me and my husband.  Of course they wanted comments about Patrick and where we stood with the war. But the dumbest question they asked us was, “What do you miss most about your son?”

Well Duh!!  And Yes annoying, but at least we could call Patrick’s name out loud and remember him from reckless surfer dude to a Silver Star recipient soldier.

And what did we miss?  My heavens, he was his father’s progeny. We wouldn’t be able to watch him continue to grow as a man and soldier, get married and have children. Or hear his laid back surfer dude comment, “Whatever.”  Or see him and his step-brother return from a golf game together and make us laugh while they told their stories of the day.  I could no longer buy him birthday or Christmas presents.  Yes, I could go on and on, just as we could have with media.

So, what does talking about a deceased son have to do with “Becoming a Widow?” Well, it has to do with a new question, “What do I miss most about my husband?”   And the question has been answered for me with some defining words, thanks to Steve Harvey, the host of Family Feud and Steve Harvey’s Happy Wife, Happy Life program.

Recently I watched the Happy Wife, Happy Life show.  Steve’s lesson about the 4 P’s to husbands that night became my clarity on why immediately after my husband’s death I felt totally lost, alone, and without an anchor to secure me, and still, with 2 years under my belt, I’m still wobbling a bit.  It has to do with those 4 P’s that my husband blessed me with in the chapters of life we wrote together.

4 P’s that at the age of 62 I can talk about having been blessed with in my past life, and pretty confident that they will not make a repeat appearance.  And this is where I have to accept that if a relationship at age 60 plus comes along in my future, it will look totally different from that one built over a 30 year time span that began after Dave and I met and started from the ground up at ages 28 and 38, even though we had each been married before.

So what are these 4 P’s that I miss so much in the present, and have to talk about in past tense?The 4 P’s I’ll probably never experience again and that possibly other widows can now put a name to for what they greatly miss about their spouses.

    • P-  Pedestal–  I was my husband’s queen.  He placed me on a pedestal so high even with my flaws, temperment, idiosyncracies, highs and lows, and bi-polar depression that I often had to remind him that I was human, just a woman, and if I fell I would surely break into shards at his feet!  But he was my king with all his flaws, yet possessing the other 3 P’s.   (I doubt that I can ever count on anyone else feeling this way about me!)
    • P-Profess – Professing his love!  Oh how I miss hearing those words, “I love you, baby.”  Or special cards with words, “I love you, Punkin” which was his nickname for me. Those unexpected kisses and hugs, foot and back rubs. And the silent professing like having coffee ready for me in the mornings, washing my car, filling up the gas tank, on and on, he professed his love in so many small ways.    (Would Someone else? Maybe, probably not.)
    • P- Provide – My husband was a wonderful provider for our class in life.  Although his last years of 28 with the Marine Corps made him irritable, and sometimes unpleasant to be around, he went to work on days he was sick and in pain, or under a commanding officer he couldn’t stand while never missing a beat.  He worked another job after his Marine Corps life. He made sure I would be provided for in the event of his death before me.  He made sure his queen lacked for nothing within reason.  Because of my late husband, the great provider, I as a widow, have a roof over my head, a car to drive, and an income.    (Someone else?  I doubt it.  What they earned belongs to their children.)
    • P- Protector – Without doubt my late husband would have laid down his life for me.  I do not consider his protection that of just standing between me and danger, but of being beside me when I was sick, bringing chicken soup, making sure I had medication, or rushing me to the emergency room like he did when my appendix was about to burst. And worry if I didn’t arrive at home in a reasonable amount of time from an event or shopping.
    • (Would someone else? MMMM…maybe… I hope so)

IN the new remaining chapters of my life, I really don’t expect to be placed on a pedestal again by a man, or possibly never again hear the words “I love you” and made to feel deeply loved, protected, or provided for, but I’ve been one blessed woman to have experienced the 4 P’s, although I have to admit, I appreciate these 4 P’s now more than before my husband’s death, because I never thought he could die and leave me, and I more than likely took them all for granted.

I believe the 4 P’s sometime enhance my grief and feeling alone at times for these things are part of what helped me feel secure and stable in this life with the man who completed me, even as an imperfect couple with our ups and downs, issues, and flaws, squabbles and arguments and sometimes the slamming of doors.

At my age now, I expect that if anyone new comes into my life in the near future, they will be the same or a couple of years older.  That would hopefully give us at least 20 to 25 good years to share companionship and build our own new kind of love.  At 60 plus, a new relationship for me will not mean giving up my home to live in another’s home, or have another leave their home to live in mine.  What I own is my son’s inheritance.  What a new partner owns is their children’s inheritance. A new relationship for me will be sharing in the cost of travel and fun.  If the relationship is truly meaningful, I will make and bring the chicken soup when needed, but I would expect the same consideration.

My late husband, my Marine, will remain forever in a special place in my heart and never forgotten as I look forward with hope in my future and a new chapter offering a mutual new and different, but special love with or without the 4 P’s.

A prayer:

Father, in every marriage there is opportunity to show and give the love, support, respect and adoration that every man and woman deserves.  Although it does come with difficulties and hard work to overcome them, just as Dave and I experienced.

But in every marriage one of the partners will leave this earth before the other and it is the greatest heartache as is the loss of a child.  Just as some couples don’t survive marriages with the loss of a child, there are widows and widowers who struggle with themselves to survive their grief, emptiness, loneliness, and other issues.  It is so difficult to be “one” when we’ve been “two” for a long time, and we as “one” get sick, lose income, a home, or other things.  We want to give up  because we’ve lost our 4 P’s and believe that no one else will ever really care again.

Give us all strength to move forward at our own pace with grief and to a healthy place.  Send angels to help us along the way.  Amen

Locate my books:  Heart of a Hawk: One family’s sacrifice & journey toward healing  AND Surviving the Folded Flag: Parents of war share stories of coping, courage, and faith at  www.militaryfamilybooks.com  or Amazon.com

Love’s Return @ Amazon.com

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