I miss our days together. Every day, but especially our lazy days. I have learned, through the deployment, to deal with this emptiness, but I still miss it. Before, when I thought of us snuggling lazily on a Saturday morning, it hurt, but we could do that again, in only a few weeks, in only a few months. Now, the feeling of emptiness will be permanent, because never again will we just get to wake up whenever we want to- together. Sleep in or get up early. We always woke up with his leg wrapped around mine and his arm squishing me, holding me in protection. And I would be holding his finger, because my hands are so small compared to his. I would make him breakfast, usually his favorite, french toast, and he would watch his car shows. Or, we would get up and go to Cracker Barrel and he would order Mama's French Toast with Turkey Bacon. We would just talk, or we would play the pin game and he would tease me because he could almost always finish the puzzle, and I was an "Egg-no-ra-mous". We always held hands at dinner while waiting for our food, and we always held hands wherever we went, walking together, or in the car, or wherever.
How does one stay strong when everything in life has changed? It has, but it hasn't. This stupid deployment has taken away our time together, and made me get "used to" not having him around on lazy Saturday mornings, or holding hands at Home Depot. It has made every day life the same, but not, because now there is an incredible, hurtful, horrible emptiness that cannot be replaced or fixed. It has taken the time away from every soldier and military spouse. From everyone who has to leave their spouse at the hangar, and they go away for months or a year. "You are lucky, because you have phone calls and webchats". I am not complaining, because we did have those, and my goodness did I cherish those, but the people who are the first to say that are the ones sitting at home next to their husbands eating ice cream, or fighting with them because they didn't load the dishwasher. How does one explain the emptiness of deployment to someone who has never experienced it? How does one describe the emptiness, the loneliness, and the overall vulnerabilities of being the spouse of a deployed soldier? And how does one do so without sounding like he or she is complaining? And, on the flip side of this, how does the soldier deal with the same issues, only in a foreign country, with the constant threat of harm on their mind? I will tell you this, when they say military families are the strongest of the strong- there is NO lie to that statement.
Now, I know the reality of deployment. I know the reality of this and the hurt that I and my friends (soldiers and spouses) are all experiencing each time the soldier- the other half- leaves. Unfortunately, my reality is going to continue forever now. The emptiness is not going to stop. The loneliness and vulnerability will always be there. My other half is forever gone.
I am so thankful that for a relatively short period of time I had my other half, and that my world could revolve around him, and that his world revolved around me. Luckily, my relatively short period of time was enough for a lifetime of memories that I will forever cherish. We were together all the time, unless the army was involved and needed him for something. The spouse of a soldier is never truly number one, because the Army always has to come first. That is a sacrifice that is made by the individual, and by the families, every time the line is signed. But, for one year and 9 months (9.5....), I found my other half, and I think that he found his. Together we were finally whole. We belonged, and the emptiness felt by both of us was finally, finally soothed.
How am I supposed to go back to the emptiness? Fortunately, I have our memories that helps fill the void. However, we cannot make new memories. The emptiness I feel now is different from that during deployment, but much, much, much different from that I had before I met him. I didn't know it existed before I had him. Now that I have been whole, I can realize the emptiness is there, and it is excruciating. The pain of him being gone can't be soothed. The feeling of wanting him near me is no longer calmed by me saying "just a few more weeks". Because that is when it sets in that the only time this feeling will go away is when I see him in Heaven.
I love you, baby. I miss you like crazy and need you so much. I miss my other half and my feeling of wholeness. I still continue smiling for you daily. I have realized that the smiles only temporarily make the pain go away.