I'm writing this post the day two of my neighbors left for the sandbox. I'm going to wait a few days to post it though just so I can follow OPSEC.
I spend a good portion of last night thinking about the night before Joe left. Holding his hand, his arm. Watching him pack. Getting one more hug. Watching him sleep in our bed one last night. All of these feelings are coming back with two of our friends leaving today. Joe and I went to a baseball game today, a Military Appriciation game where Joe got in free. We're cheering on our team and eating dippin dots. And all the while, in the back of my mind, I keep thinking that today is the "D-day" for many people we know and care about. I look around me. Everyone is happy and cheering. Little do they know there are family members only an hour away saying good bye to their loved ones and sending them to Afghanistan for a year.
We have civilian neighbors from New Orleans who have never lived this close to an Army town. They obviously don't live with a Soldier, hearing about the training and having the looming D-day countdown. They perceive the absence in a much more spontanious way, here one day, gone the next. They have told me numerious times they dont know what to say to the friends leaving. What do you say to the pregnant spouse who drives home after dropping her Soldier husband off on post? I have told them there arent words. There isn't an easy script for these moments. A hug can help. And of course opening that relish jar when they cant ask their husband to do it (my neighbor Paul opened lots of jars for me while Joe was gone, damn that relish jar!!). Even having gone through it all once myself, I can't find the words to say. A sympathetic smile and a knowing look is all I have. And a nod from the pregnant spouse says it all. There arent words.
I woke up on this Memorial Day weekend with a funfilled day planned with my husband. I am one of the lucky ones -- my husband deployed and came back okay. I rolled over and hugged Joe knowing that this wouldn't be the last time for a year that I would be able to do that. I had to hold back tears. This Army life is so hard sometimes. You hope for the best, for everyone. And you relish the happy moments you get with your spouse, knowing they are fleeting and he could be here one day and gone the next.