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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Think I Smelled a Ghost

***** Before we begin - a side note.  I have pulled all of my work related information and put it in the Royal Inspirations blog I hope that you follow me there too :)  *****

I am learning that it is okay to cry.

Honestly, I fought crying back every time it presented itself over the past few months.  I think because I was terrified that if I started, I wouldn't be able to stop.  I am starting to understand that dealing with this deployment is not something that I can not internalize.  These emotions live in a small glass jar and are jagged and treacherous on their own.   Eventually, they will shatter that jar and rip you apart inside, out.  The caveat of the situation:  I didn't deal with negative emotions until my wonderful husband.  I collected them, folded them very small and placed them inside of their little glass nest and left them their to expand.  With him, we took them out and let them unfurl and picked them apart one by one until they became so small, so obsolete that they vanished into thin air. How in the world am I supposed to unravel this mess ... alone?   It is one of those parts of daily life that I have to learn to do on my own, just like work, house work, spirituality, errands - all of those things that we did together, I have to relearn how to do, on my own.

This week there were two things that caused this introspective revelation.

Our daughter wanted to send a letter in this weeks care package.  Despite the fact that she is young and just learning to write enough to compose a full letter, she is very mature and worldly.  She understands completely why he had to go and the possible consequences of him going.  As she begins, she proudly tells him how well she is doing in school, in spite of some earlier issues with her not paying attention in class.  She reminds him that she wants to wait to have her birthday party for six months after her actual birthday so that they can have a combined birthday-coming home Marine Corps Hoorah party!  (Really ... what 7 year old, only child would stay getting presents and a party for six months, willingly?!?!  I really am incredibly lucky to have such an amazing princess!)  She continues on telling him how much she misses him and what all she misses.  Here is where she catches me off guard.  She asks him to "... please not die, because it would make her sad forever."  Then she sweetly asks, "... if it is God's will that you go to heaven, will you promise to watch over Mommy and Me?"  She looks up at me with her deep, sapphire blue eyes and asks me "Do you think Pot Pie will be happy with my handwriting?  Is it a good letter, Mom?"  I lean down, kiss her on the forehead, utter "It is a great letter" and have to leave the room as to not let her see me brake down.  I am so very grateful that she is to the point that she can communicate her worries and fears.  Never in a million years did I think that I would have to sit down with her and walk that fine line between reassurance and reality.   How do you tell a innocent child, with a faith deeper than most adults I have met in my life time, that you pray every day for it to be God's will that the most wonderful man in the world will return to us and know that he very well may not?  The emotional scars of losing one that you love that much are deeply devastating and irreversible.  How do you over come the fear that such a loss would do spiritual damage?  Needless to say, I cried, long and hard over that one.

A few nights later, I had finally found my stride a little bit.  I rearranged a few things in the bed room, picked up some clutter and had started laundry.  I came down to flop the laundry and as I hit the bottom of the stairs I swear that I smelled my husband.  For a moment, I breathed deeply and then pure fear set in.  I dropped the laundry basket and traced each room - I went out the front door and then the back, I looked in the garage.  Like a child playing hide and seek with an imaginary friend, I surveyed every inch of the house searching for my husband.  Of course, my husband was no where to be found.  I sat on the last step of the stair case and tears started to pour down my cheeks.  I cried in silence.  It only took a few moments for my mind to travel back almost ten years to when my moms oldest sister passed of Multiple Sclerosis.  She had been sick my entire life and we knew that the end would come sooner than later.  The morning that she went to be with the Lord, I woke up sick to my stomach.  I knew that something was terribly wrong and then phone rang and she had left us.  At that point, my tears were pooling at my feet at the idea that something had happened.  I put my face in my hands and prayed that he and his men were safe.  The only thing left to do is wait.  Wait to hear his voice.  Wait to receive an email.  Wait for the uniforms to show up at my door.  It is all a vicious waiting game.

It is now that I have learned to take solace in the fact that I can and do cry.  To me it shows that I have someone who has touched me to the point that I am literally moved to tears.  I cry tears of fear and sadness, but I also cry tears of joy for the extremely wonderful man that God placed in my life and the spectacular memories that we have forged over the past year.

I have finally learned that it is okay to cry.

Monday, March 7, 2011

And So it Begins.

There was a large part of me that had hoped that my husband would not end up deploying.  The idea of having to spend another second away from him, let alone another several months, was heart breaking.  On average, a reservist deploys every five years.  My husband on the other hand was facing his fourth in almost eight years.  He is dedicated to the cause and his men.  There was a small chance that he would not go, and even though deep down I knew that he would end up going, my heart sank when he called to tell me that he would be leaving and soon. When there was a chance of him not going, I was able to be completely confident that my happily ever after would be just that and I didn't have to deal with the idea of losing my best friend.  Now, a whole new era of possibilities and fears came rushing to the surface.  So, I dropped everything -well, no, not really.  It was more like I popped the clutch and shifted from 5th to 3rd, instantly.  I was already running a day or so behind on everything and somehow managed to get everything crammed into a few days and, with a very heavy heart, boarded a plane to go spend the weekend with my love.

When I got to California, I headed straight to the rental car office only to find that Advantage (a Hertz company) is the most unprofessional and horrid group of people to deal with, but that is a different complication to be explained at a later date.  All I can say is that I would NEVER do business with them - EVER.  This was not the way this trip was supposed to start and it only made me worry that much more about things to come.  Three hours later and thanks to the awesome customer service at Enterprise, my prince came to rescue me!  I was so glad to see him!  He didn't even have the rental car in park before I had hoped the barrier and was jumping towards him.    

He had to work Friday, so I tried to keep myself occupied with an order that I needed to complete.  We grabbed a bite to eat and went to see a movie that night.  It was just what I needed.  It had been 6 months since we had enjoyed a "real date" and I can't even remember the last time we went to see a movie together.   

Saturday, we headed to San Diego.  We drove around Coronado Island, walked on the beach and spent the rest of the day in Balboa Park visiting museums, holding hands and living in the moment.  It was chilly, but it was an incredibly beautiful day.  It was so easy to get lost in just being with the man of my dreams.

On Coronado Island

A fat Seagull hanging out on a pier.

A monument at the Military Museum in Balboa.  The inscription reads, "You have never lived until  you have almost died.  For those who have fought for it, life has a flavor that the protected will never know." 

Look at that Cupola!  The colors in this structure were incredible!!

Outside of the botanical gardens building.

Inside of the Botanical Gardens.

All of the buildings had similar architecture.  It was breath taking!

Look at those roots!  A couple had just gotten married and was taking pictures down there.

I had to come back home on Sunday so that he could get ready to go and to be home with our princess when she got home from school on Monday.  We headed back down to San Diego that morning and had lunch in Little Italy.  From there we walked the entire Port of San Diego.

Our Flag, a sight that is awe inspiring to me.

The Port of San Diego

My Handsome Hubby studying a war memorial.

This sweet statue is HUGE!

All too soon, it was time for me to fly back home ... alone.  In the airport, he held my face and kissed my forehead as we stood there and, despite trying with all of my might, I couldn't hold back my tears.  You tell yourself you are only saying "see you later,"  but there is a part of you that knows that this could be the last time that you can savor the embrace of the one that you love.  It could be the last time to see the love in their eyes and express that love with a kiss.  Not wanting to let go and choked by emotion, I pull him closer.  He kisses me one last time, turns and walks away.  I watch him go through the glass doors and it is everything I can do not to hit the ground and pray that this is not the end.  On the inside, I feel like every ounce of good and light just walked out that door and I had no way of knowing if it would ever return.  I check the time and my plane leaves in 45 minutes, so I do what every good Marine wife does.  I hold my head up high, turn and walk to the security lines, tears silently falling with every step I take.  I take my seat on the plane and think to myself, " ... and so it beings ... dear God ... please let it be your will that this is just the beginning."