Saturday, November 06, 2010

We are strange creatures, we people.

The entirety of our experience comes through our five senses. Everything we learn, everything we know is based on what we can see, hear, smell, touch, taste. So, when we can't sense something, it's that much harder to grasp. Especially when we've become accustomed to doing so.

It's been a week since we said good-bye. It seems like longer. Much longer. Seems like it's been weeks. Weeks since I've heard his voice or felt his touch. At first this was so hard, especially last Sunday. That was the worst night so far. But, then it felt like he just stopped existing. Days have a new normal and we just plug along. Before, I worked towards evening, when he'd walk through the door. Now, I'm not sure what I move towards. Just the next moment. The next block of time--morning, afternoon, evening, night. I just keep moving.

Some moments are hard. Mostly, moments are boring. I try not to get emotional because it's weak and reminds me how hard this is and how hard it's going to be. I start to think we are well into this and the end of it all must be near, only to remember it's just beginning. He will come home, be here for a little while, and leave again. This whole vicious cycle will start anew. I will be reminded of his touch, his smell, and then lose it all over again and for a much longer time.

I thought evening would be toughest. It's not. I just throw myself into cleaning or schoolwork and keep busy, just as I have been all day. It's night time. When the house gets quiet. And dark. And I crawl into a big, empty bed. My mind has nothing to distract it, and I become acutely aware of the emptiness next to me. Aware of the cold, empty space.

I tell myself he's out there. Even though I can't see him. Or feel him. He's out there. But, it feels so weird.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Somewhere in a field in California, my husband is crawling through woods, wading through creeks, perhaps marching a great distance.

Here in Texas, there is a tiny girl who misses him and doesn't understand where he's gone and her mother aches some moments.

I am frequently told to extend thanks to my husband for his service. These same people tell me I am also to be thanked, because I am making great sacrifices, as well. Before, it was easy. Now, it's starting to get hard. Really hard.

The deployment chapter has begun. Though he hasn't technically left for the Sand Box, he's doing the preliminary training. Last Sunday, he left for a month and on Friday, we began the two weeks of zero communication. I am going to be honest, unashamedly so: It hurts. At moments, I have such an extreme ache because I sense his absence so intimately. Then, I realize a month is nothing when I think about the length of the deployment. Right now, I can't hear him, see him, touch him. If this is hard for me, the absence is that much harder for my eleven month old daughter.

Elizabeth is cognizant enough to understand Daddy has disappeared; unfortunately, she's too young to explain the situation. She crawls the house in a frenzy, calling out "Da Da! Da Da???" She's made every object, from pacifiers and TV remotes to books and shoes, into a phone that she puts to her ear and talks to Dada. She gets sad, angry, frustrated. While playing with her toys, she'll use one hand for play, while the other hand grips my t-shirt in a desperate attempt to keep me from disappearing, too. My heart aches for her. A normally easy-going baby, Elizabeth is clearly not handling this well.

And my thoughts frequently turn to my husband, the hero who is training for a larger mission. Who is likely forgoing sleep, food, and rest in preparation to serve his country, fulfill his mission, and protect his family. Somewhere out in California is a man who is likely missing his wife and longing for his daughter.

Yes, I understand the thanks, now. This is not easy. My husband is making sacrifices, but his family is, as well. So, I will take the thanks when offered. But, what means more right now are the prayers. Because we need them. My heroic husband needs them. His tired, frustrated wife needs them. But, more than either of us, his little girl needs them. Because while Mommy and Daddy can understand this, she doesn't. The center of her universe has disappeared. And she wants him back, and is terrified her mommy will disappear as well.