Pulling into an Army base parking lot and seeing a full-grown man crying while holding his adult son is not the way I wanted to start my morning. I immediately looked away because I felt my own knotted throat start to throb. One deep breath in and one deep breath out was going to be the only way I could keep my shit together today. It didn’t work, needless to say, but I’m proud of how I handled myself this weekend.
Wednesday night after volleyball practice I got in my car and drove 5.5 hours south to Josh’s unit in Illinois. There has been an immense amount of tension and anticipation for this day for months now, and I still wasn’t ready for it. No amount of preparation could have helped me be fully ready to say goodbye to my best friend because there’s never enough time.
The following day was the awards ceremony and Family Event which was a picnic at the local park. Many times throughout the day, I had to stop myself from thinking Man, I don’t even want to be here. I wanted my life to go back to normal and wake up in bed with Josh by my side as if none of this had ever happened. But that’s not my current reality, and it’s better to embrace the moments I had left with him instead of fighting the inevitable. I didn’t want to leave with any regrets or anything left unsaid.
This morning at 5 am, my alarm decides it’s time for me to wake up after a night of restless sleep in order to drive Josh to his unit a short 20-minute drive away from our hotel. I wouldn’t trade those last 20 minutes for anything! I saw this post today that said: “The only value that deployment brings to a relationship is you get to experience your first kiss all over again.” That. Slapped. Hard. 12 months and counting down until I get to experience my first kiss – like Josh and I are 20 years old again. Those last few moments of ours together were also shared by a hundred or so other people also sharing emotional goodbyes with their soldier.
It’s an interesting dichotomy because I felt so isolated inside of his embrace while being surrounded by people who were experiencing the same exact thing. I never understood the concept of the world falling away and turning hazy until nothing else mattered except for Josh and I. That moment. I literally felt my heart burst into a million pieces that would not and could not be remedied by any person except for him.
At this point, I feel utterly heartbroken. I understand it’s not logical to think this way, but I truly feel a loss – like a death in the family that needs to be mourned.
This whole blog post sounds very short and to the point… Unemotional. Unintentional. I’m really just trying my best to process everything right now.
“Kiss me hard before you go
I just wanted you to know
That baby, you the best”
-Lana Del Rey
**edit** for OPSEC reasons, I waited to post this.