From Chicken Soup for the Military Wife's Soul

How fighter pilots ' wives get their husbands' letters.

© 2004. Reprinted by permission of Jonny Hawkins.


Five o’clock came with the clock every day. The walk came from love.

R. J. Foco

Evangeline was blessed with a loving husband and three gentle children. Her husband Angelito was truly her soul mate and her angel. Angelito enjoyed cooking meals for his young family, playing with his children and helping Evangeline with daily household tasks. He had no aversion to scouring bathrooms, mopping floors, washing dishes or folding laundry. He encouraged his young wife to go out and enjoy her friends while he stayed home looking after the little ones.

Angelito had brought his family to the Hawaiian Islands for a tour of duty in the military service. Evangeline was far from her home in Pampanga, Philippines. She left behind her mother and father to be with her husband. Her husband wrapped her in a blanket of love and her children filled her days. Time went by.

One morning, as Angelito was getting ready to go out for a run, Evangeline noticed a lump on his upper thigh. She encouraged him to have it examined. It was cancer.

Their sweet life together would now be spent hoping, praying and learning to live with the inevitable. Angelito fought for his life for two years and then quietly lost the battle. Three children were left fatherless: fourteen-year-old B. J., ten-year-old Einar, and little Davin, only two years old. Evangeline lost her partner in life and was left all alone to care for her bereft family.

She was lost on an island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in despair. Evangeline managed to care for the needs of her children, but would collapse in anguish at the end of the day. The most bitter hour for Evangeline was 5:00 P.M.—the big hour. Her husband had always walked in the door at 5:00 P.M., and each day, she couldn’t help but wait for him. Of course, he would never come home, and Evangeline would go to bed alone and cry herself to sleep.

Her dear friend recognized this particular agony. And one day, at precisely 5:00 P.M., her friend knocked at the door and insisted Evangeline join her for a walk. After much urging, Evangeline acquiesced. After that, her friend came every day. Sometimes, she would have to come in the house, go into Evangeline’s bedroom and insist she get out of bed and walk with her. During these walks, Evangeline would cry and cry. She knew she was free to share her innermost pain and anguish. Her friend just quietly walked beside her, hour after hour, day after day.

They walked in rainstorms. They walked in the summer heat. They walked through the gentle breezes scented with the plumeria blossoms. They walked with the trade winds gusting at their backs. Winter, spring, summer and fall, these two friends walked the road of grief together. This friend walked beside Evangeline for three years! For three years, not a day was missed. Not a day was Evangeline left alone during “the big hour”; not until her friend sensed that she was strong enough to walk alone.

Mother Teresa remarked: “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” Such a small thing to walk with a friend in her loneliest hour. Such a great love to walk with a friend, day after day, year after year. Such an act of Mercy. And the name of Evangeline’s friend? Mercy is her name. Her name is Mercy.

Evangeline Dionisio
As told to Shelly Mecum

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