The Deployment Diary

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Day 193

It's hard for me to believe that we're almost at day 200. I think back to the day he left and shudder. It was the darkest point in my entire life. Maybe I should be thankful that it's the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my 29 (heh heh) years.

I think about that day and all I can do to describe it is say I was two hairs away from insane. I've never felt so out of control. I felt sick from the inside out. Twelve months of fear, loneliness and the unknown was ahead of me and I just could not make myself feel normal.

The area he was going I'd never heard of until about two weeks before he left. It seemed like after that, the only news about Iraq came from that area - and it was all horrible news. I got online and did a search on the town and it was more of the same. They were Sunni, they hated Americans and it was "the most volatile" region in Iraq. It still is.

Watching him hug our little boy that last time and knowing our child had no idea that when Daddy walked out the door, he wouldn't see him again for a long long time. His little hands reaching up for him to pick him up and saying, "I ove oo Daddy." Seeing the tears well up in my husband's eyes and him saying, "I love you too, Buddy." Him hugging him so tight - closing his eyes as if to relish the moment and file it away for later when he wished he could hug his son.

Having to go pick up our daughter from school that afternoon knowing that even though she'd just started first grade, she would be in second grade before he saw her again. Wearing sun glasses into the school because my eyes were so red and swollen, I was afraid someone would ask me if I was ok and I'd burst into tears.

Walking through this house that first night alone and wondering what I was thinking when I said it was my dream house. It felt perfect when I imagined our children being teens and the extra room making it comfortable for us all to have our space. Now, it felt too big - and so empty. How had I ever thought it was the perfect size for our family to grow older in?

Getting the throws to cover up with off the backs of the recliners that first night and getting on the couch. The first night of a year's worth of nights sleeping on the couch with the dog - instead of upstairs in our bed with my husband.

Laying there wondering how in the world I'd ever survive an entire year without him. Praying at the same time, that a year is all I'd have to face.

We're now over half-way to homecoming. A friend of mine's husband just returned. Our installation is welcoming more troops home this weekend. And I'm so very thankful we're not at the beginning of this. We may not be to reunion time, the rumors are just rumors, but we are closing day 193, not day one. Life is good...

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