Thursday, May 3, 2012

Every goodbye makes the next hello closer

The morning Evan had to leave was kind of surreal. The anticipation of him leaving was the real part that was bugging me. I hate him being away, but at the same time I knew the sooner we said "goodbye", the sooner we could just start this deployment thing and start counting down the days to "hello" again. We got all his packed bags in the car, and he gave Scout some loving to say bye.

We got to his unit meeting spot and did the usual standing around waiting, while the guys did the last minute packing up of things. I talked to a few other Army wives, who were about to embark on their very first deployment. We chatted about the usual things, but underneath I could see the worry, sadness, and dread of saying goodbye in their eyes. I absolutely hate that. I wish I could somehow know the exact thing to say or do to make it easier...but really is there anything you can say to comfort someone when their husband is deploying? They are all so brave and strong. I wanted to grab them all in a bear hug, let him bawl their eyes out, and scream about how horrible and stupid this all is. But we couldn't. We had to be strong for our guys. They don't want to leave either, so why make it harder on them? That's just what Army Wives do. They push smiles through tears, act steadily confident through shaking uncertainty, and do anything that their duty requires them to do. I've never been prouder to know these amazing women who stand behind their husbands through anything; its such a stirring feeling of honor to see.

This time I didn't have that hysterical feeling tightening around my chest like I did the last time I had to ship him off. Its a feeling of overwhelming sadness, worry, and panic crushing you all at the same time; add a dash of wanting to hurl your guts up and that's about the exact feeling of you'll have. Fun, right? I'll admit it was probably one of the worst feelings I've ever experienced in my life. The first deployment when I told him goodbye, I immediately ran to my car and cried until I was completely broken. I am happy to say that this time around, those feelings didn't happen. I think Evan and I both felt unnaturally peaceful and a little detached about it all. We knew what to expect, and how to deal with it. The time came where they had to board the bus to the plane. I gave Evan one last hug and kiss goodbye. I made sure to tell him to "Be safe" like I always do. He responded how to normally does, by telling me that "Be safe" doesn't control the situation, if something is going to happen, it's going to happen. Typical Evan, always blatantly honest. I told him to shut-up and that I just needed to say it. That made us laugh. He heaved his pack on and made his way towards the bus. Halfway to the bus and he turned and told me "I love you; see you soon buddy." With a wave and a step on to the bus he was gone. I slowly walked to my car, wishing I felt more. I felt guilty not feeling more perturbed about it all. I guess maybe its a good thing; this time I have a clearer mind to help the girls out.

The guys are in Afghanistan taking care of each other, while we do the same thing on the home front here. In situations like this, you quickly become like close family to people, who just a few months before, were complete strangers. The military really is a world of its own. In its own strange way, maybe that's why some of us stick around so long, even when there are so many things that undoubtedly suck about it. If you're in the military the moment you meet another Army wife, you can already relate to them on some level, because we already know exactly how each other feels without saying a word. "There is a special bond between soldiers created by the harsh realities of their service; a bond which is incomprehensible to the civilian world.  Like their men—Army wives have a bond all their own. (via)" 

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