(I wasn’t blogging at the time, so it didn’t get written down then. But for some reason, I’m feeling the desire and/or need to remember and record now.)
“I think the Army is going to send me to Iraq.” “What?! Wait! They can’t do that, you JUST got in your reserve unit!”
Then he proceeded to tell me how they could “cross-level” him into another unit that was deploying and needed a Chaplain to go with them–a unit in Wisconsin that we had no connection with and had not heard of before. I think I said something like, “You’re joking, right?” No joke.
That was in January. We didn’t tell the girls right away because we had some figuring out to do, like if we would stay here while he was gone or move closer to my family. I remember going to a Super Bowl party in February and not being able to let go of him physically. I sat on his lap, or snuggled up next to him during the game. Friends that were there noticed something was different, but didn’t ask what. At the end of February we told the girls what was going on, and by that point had decided to try and sell the house and the girls and I would move in with my parents during the deployment time. There were a lot of questions and tears, from all of us.
We let the church know in March, at which time he resigned because we were not planning on returning to this area after his year away was over. More questions and tears, from all of us. For the next 4 weeks, we got necessary things organized, power of attorney papers signed and notarized, financial stuff in order, and spent a lot of time just sitting and talking and crying. The week of April 19th came, and my parents surprised me (Ron knew about it) by flying out so they could be with me when I had to say goodbye to my husband. The day he left was unbelievably emotional. I can’t describe the depth of my feelings of love, pride, pain, and loneliness. After taking him to the airport I remember coming home and walking into our closet to grab a shirt of his to wear. I cried looking at his shoes sitting on the closet floor. I’m crying now as I remember it. I had no experience with this kind of thing at all. At that point I hadn’t been a military wife long enough to know about anything! And since he didn’t even leave with a unit from here, I had no one who understood–really. People were kind and offered support, but I didn’t even know what to tell them.
My daughters each handled it differently. Our oldest was just angry. Our youngest cried every night for the first weeks. We had to learn to talk through it so that we didn’t end up isolated from one another. It drew my girls and I closer together than ever before. I was so glad my parents stayed with us that first week after he left though, because they really helped lift all of our spirits…
(To be continued next Wednesday)