Sunday, April 15, 2012

30 Day Challenge-Day 15 The Dreaded See You Later Day

This has to be, by far, one of the hardest days of my entire life. The men were required to report on a Wednesday, so M and I decided to drive to Orlando Tuesday evening and find a hotel room to stay in. That way we could spend our mornings and evenings together.Plus Little L and I would have a place to hang out during the day. At Yellow Ribbon 1 and 2, we were told by the XO that there would be a farewell ceremony that Sunday and they would be leaving shortly after that. Well, I'm not sure if he didn't know the actual date, or if things got moved, but that Wednesday when I brought M and his friend lunch I was told they moved the ceremony up to Saturday morning and they would be leaving sometime on Saturday! I was heartbroken! I was losing another night to be with him!!! I thankfully kept my composure until I was away from the guys. Little L and I had the task of finding a hotel room for Friday and Saturday nights at a hotel that had smoking rooms for M's parents. They of course need a smoking room because they refuse to walk outside to smoke. It was harder than I thought, but I found one, right next door to where we were staying. So, Little L and I hung out in the hotel room and went swimming while we waited for M to finish what he needed to do those last couple of days. We spent our evenings getting the last minute things M needed to take with him, going to dinner and just spending time together as a family.The days of course went by WAY too quickly.
It was finally THE day, the day I had been dreading since that previous February. I don't think I slept hardly at all the night before. I just laid in his arms trying to remember how it felt, his smell, and everything about him, so I could carry that with me through the next lonely year. That morning we got up, took Little L to stay with M's parents so we could go to breakfast together alone. I really appreciated the fact that we could do this. I know M LOVES spending time with Little L, but I needed some one on one time with him before he left. We went to breakfast, then hung out until it was time to drop him off with the unit. I needed to go back to the hotel room to shower and get ready. We packed everyone up and headed to the unit for the ceremony. When we got there we were told that the time they were supposed to have to be with families might be taken away because some stupid people decided to go out and get drunk the night before and showed up late that morning. Thankfully, they didn't take all of it away from us. I believe enough families complained about it. Once we got to the unit we found our seats out in the HOT sun and waited for everything to start. I tell you what, seeing all of those men in their uniforms, standing in formation is just amazing. Knowing they were leaving to go to war just makes you so proud, yet you just want to fall to your knees, crying and begging them not to go. I really think the heat helped keep me from breaking down. They decided to set up the ceremony in the parking lot. I'm not kidding it was HOT, there was no breeze and hardly a cloud in the sky. The chaplain, the previous CO,  and the current CO all spoke. Thankfully they made it quick.
M and Little L while we were waiting
After the ceremony some guys still had to fill out paperwork, so no one was allowed to leave. We all just sat around, waiting (sound familiar?) and waiting. We would see M from time to time. He would play with Little L, talk to us and then disappear again. Finally the guys were released to leave, but had to be back in three hours. :( We asked M where he wanted to go for lunch, he chose Taco Bell. :) One of his favorite places to eat. Then we hung out with his parents, everyone ignoring the huge elephant in the room. In no time at all it was time to go back.
I swear those three hours went by SOOOO quickly! We loaded all of his stuff in the car, and drove the short 10 mins to the unit. He placed his bags in his platoons spot and I finally convinced him to take a family picture. He hates getting his picture taken and to this day he hates the way he looks in the picture, but I needed it. I needed to be able to see us as a family, even though we were  going to be separated by thousands of miles.
We hung out and waited some more at the unit. It was starting to get dark. All of the kids were running around, having a great time, either unaware of what was happening or trying to ignore it. I was trying with everything I had to not break down. I know I was very quiet during this time. I was afraid if I opened my mouth I would just lose it. It was finally dark, I'm not sure what time it was because I wasn't watching the clock, but of course time was passing too quickly. Some families started to leave, not wanting to stay to see the buses leave. The men were given the half hour warning of when they had to board the buses. It was at this time that M said we needed to leave. He didn't want me staying to watch the buses leave. He had work to do, and was afraid it would be too hard on all of us. So, we said our "see you laters". I don't think I ever cried so much in my entire life. He promised to be safe and to come home to us. I held on to him as long and as hard as I could. I know Little L didn't understand what was going on. He has seen daddy put his uniform on, leave and come home, he didn't understand that it would be MONTHS before we would see each other again.
Watching your husband, in uniform, walk away from you has to be one of the hardest things I will ever do. Knowing he is going to a place where they are actively trying to hurt and kill people, plus the job he has been assigned will make your heart just stop. It takes the breath right out of you. On one hand, you are so very proud that he, and the others are so willing to put their lives on the line for the freedom of our country. But on the other hand you want to just grab a hold of them and never let them go. Going back to the hotel room alone that night was horrible, actually horrible isn't the word for it, but I cannot think of a word to adequately explain that feeling you have when you realize they are gone, they are gone and not coming back in a week, month or two, but a year. I felt so alone, I felt like no one knew exactly what I was feeling, even though my in-laws were there, it's different when it's your husband who is leaving. I really can't explain it, but it's just different. I am so proud of my husband and I know this day wasn't easy on him either. Leaving everything you know and love behind to go to a foreign country to fight a war has to be extremely hard. I pray daily that he is safe and will come home to us soon. He is my hero and I love him with my whole heart! But I will never forget the feelings that I felt that day. This day will forever be burned into my memory.

6 comments:

  1. I want to comment because this is so well-written but I don't even know what to say! I can't imagine the emotions, but I definitely teared up just reading this.

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    1. Thank you so much! That means a lot to me. It was hard to put those feelings into words.

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  2. Such a hard day. Great post.

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    1. It was a really hard day, but we have survived it. Thank you!

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  3. Geez they really drug out the whole day for y'all. :/ Almost through though! Then that awful day will officially be behind you. How awesome will that be?

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    1. Oh you have no idea. It was a LONG day and the heat didn't help. Yes we are almost done, thank goodness!!!

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