It could happen in any number of ways.
A knock on the door. A phone call from a family member. Or you might be on a walk with your kids when you see a black car stalking your neighborhood.
For a split second you pray, “Not my house. Don’t knock on my door.” It’s not that you want the uniformed men behind those tinted windows—you can’t see them but you know they are there—to go to your neighbor’s house—you wouldn’t wish that on anyone. You just don’t want them to come to your house.
In the time that it takes for the realm of all possibilities to narrow down to you and your family, you try to quiet the panic that threatens to take hold or you go weak all over. You might think about the crooked little smile that means he’s teasing you, or how tender he is with your children. In the midst of everyone saying words you cannot possibly process, you try to hold on to all the little things that make him yours.
Maybe your best friend will be there, standing in front of the strangers, with a look on her face that tells you she would do anything to save you from the reality that just knocked on your door. Sometimes, there’s a chaplain who tries to offer words of solace. But, really, all you see is the blur of death. And in that blur, you realize—this is it; it’s happening to me.
Then it hits you. You’re a widow. But first, you’re a Team wife.