I know, we don’t truly wave “Goodbye”. It’s more of “I’ll see you later.” Except we don’t know when later really is. You don’t know any of the details, atleast not the ones you want to know about.
Like the fact that you have no idea when they’re coming home, but you do know that somewhere on your nightstand lies a Will that you hope you never have to look at.
You don’t know when you’ll hear their voice again, but you do know that there are roughly 10 pairs of green socks scattered across your bedroom floor right now from this morning’s scramble.
You don’t know when you’ll hold them again, but you do know they have 4 duffle bags full of everything that matters most.
There’s absolutely nothing that can drown out the way you feel, because believe me, I’ve tried. There’s a pit in your stomach and an ache in your throat that wants to give way to tears, but you keep fighting back. Because once it starts, you’re afraid you won’t stop. It might feel like a tornado is coming, and everything you hold dear is being pulled out the door. All of the things you know are changing, and the only thing that’s physically left to endure that change, is you.
I’d be lying if I said it isn’t terrifying. There were times before my husband left that I would wake up in the middle of the night, and just stare at him. I would wonder what he was afraid of. Was it the same things I thought about? Was he afraid at all? And I would tell myself to remember these moments, even the ones that seemed so simple. I wanted to capture them and hold them close, because they’re the very things I think of when missing him feels insurmountable.
When the days get hard and life just doesn’t want to cut us a break, I think of the first day we met. I think of the way he laughed when I asked him to dance in the kitchen of our first apartment, and the way he cried when I walked down the aisle towards him on our wedding day. I think of the night we moved all of our belongings into our first home, and how we realized the next morning that we didn’t have any shower curtains. I think of how life has changed, but that waking up next to him has always been enough, and how it always will be.
I think of the beautiful life we have built, and how this is just one part of our future. A part that will only make us more grateful.
So, if you’re standing at port or on a tarmac somewhere, this is for you. It might seem like the “light at the end of the tunnel” that you hear people talking about is 10 miles away, and you can’t even imagine how or when you’ll get there. Your reality is crumbling around you, and I’ve been there and felt those things too. You can’t imagine a day when life without your spouse will feel normal, because none of this is normal and why would you want it to be? You just want to hit the fast forward button, and skip all of the hard stuff.
But you’re still here. And it’s time for them to leave.
So take a deep breath. Just like you captured all of those happy moments before, I want you to capture this one too. You’re going to remember the pain and the heartache, but I want you to remember the love and the pride that comes with this experience. There’s a love so rare and special, and it can only be shared between the two of you. A love that endures, overcomes, and grows with each passing day.
And that love is bigger than all of this.