20 Years Have Slipped Away:

Reality is seeing her name etched in stone.  The only visible evidence of her existence, on this earth.  Yet, after all these years, it is still grievous to face the fact that this has happened in my family.

Rebecca and I met in the late summer of 1963.  She was preparing to return for her sophomore year at Baylor University.  I had received my first Navy transfer orders having completed Avionic and flight training.  For the next 18 months, I would be based in Newfoundland and begin a 14-day /16-day rotation deploying to a NATO base in Keflavik, Iceland.

I left the US thinking we were committed to each other and we corresponded that way for months via snail mail.

Beginning her junior year, she found Tommy.  We returned each other's things and our commitment dissolved.  The only reflections into that period come from details shared by her roommate and college friends along with a half-dozen pages from a journal she tucked away.

I went on to start a relationship with Margie. We met during a stop-over at a US Air Force base in Scotland.  That ended in heartbreak as well.

Rebecca and I reconnected via mail just before I returned to the states.

During the summer before her senior year, we became engaged, and after a sequence of Navy, interruptions were married in the weeks following her graduation.

Was our time together more or less consistent with other's relationship?  I continue to mull that thought over all the while realizing it is irrelevant, now.  All relationships are unique, and over the years I find that others dealt with similar baggage to ours.

Rebecca and I were closing in on 33 years of marriage.  But March 14th, 1999, changed the course of life for me.  I would not know for another two days.

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