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I did not realize that saying goodbye, or saying “See you later” as it is known in military circles would be so hard. Sure, no goodbye is easy, but this- this was a lot harder than anticipated. And you know what the ironic thing is? Saying goodbye wasn’t even the hardest part…
My First Military Goodbye
I had a ton to do that morning. I got up, put myself in super-wife mode and did what I had to do. I even made it through my shower without crying. I just felt numb. I had a list of things to do that morning on top of getting ready. I had to run to the store to get my son more baby food and milk, pick up water-proof mascara (because apparently, I didn’t have any), pick up my friend who was coming with us so I didn’t have to drive home alone from the airport, and pick up my son’s babysitter.
I ran my errands, picked up my friend, knowing full well she was probably wondering why I wasn’t crying yet. But I was in my zone, I was not going to cry until it was absolutely necessary. We got home, I ran over the schedule with my son’s sitter and tried to think of anything else that could prevent us from leaving any sooner than we had to. My friend knew what I was doing. So did my husband, and so he made us leave.
The drive to the airport wasn’t bad. It was filled with chatter about the day and about life. We stopped for breakfast on the way to the airport, and that was when I had a few moments to think. Bad idea. My stomach was tied in knots, and for a moment I didn’t even want to eat. But I did. We were back on the road quicker than I wanted and soon arrived at the airport.
We were getting out of the car now, and I knew this was it. My stomach felt sick, and now I was wishing I really hadn’t eaten. It was a quick walk into the airport where my husband dropped off his bags. There were no lines and everything was going by too fast. I wanted to beg him to slow down to take our time, to do anything that could give us just a few more minutes together.
We slowly made our way toward security. My friend took several pictures. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. I wanted to look back and remember this, remember how God got me through, and remember how strong I was.
My husband and I walked closer to the security entrance alone, and then the time had come. I knew: this is it. And the tears came. Nothing up until that point had mattered because at that last moment you realize everything you have, everything you are is going away. I had held it together up until now and I now I just told him how badly I didn’t want him to go. My husband tried to make me laugh, tried to make me feel better, but I know it was hard for him too. I clung to him, hugging him not once, not twice, not even three times, but more like six or seven times. I could not let him go. Letting go and watching him walk away, that was the hardest part.
Eventually, I did let go, and once I did I knew there was no turning back. So I turned and headed back. I was still wiping tears by the time I made it back to my friend. She gave me a hug and told me everything was going to be ok. The hardest part was over now, and I slowly slipped back into super-wife mode.
The rest of the day went by without incident. We made it home, and I asked my friend if she would come stay at my house for a bit. I didn’t want to be alone. We chatted and made pumpkin bread. I felt like I was a robot just going through the motions. I was in a fog, but so eager to keep busy so I didn’t have to think.
That night after I put my son to bed. I went to my room, laid down on my bed and cried. I was finally able to let go, at least a little. I had been strong for myself, my husband, and my son, and now it was time to let go. I gave myself a few more minutes in bed, and then decided I needed to press on. I got up, ate some dinner, and went on into the fog that I called life at the moment.
To my Love:
I read somewhere that “Goodbye” is the shortened form of “God be with you.” Honey, I know God was with you, and I know God is with you now. I know that He will protect you, and get you through this even better than I could ever imagine. It’s not my job to be “God” and I’m sure glad it’s not. He is going to take care of you even better than I could ever do. Just remember my touch, remember my kiss, and always know that I love you.