(Again, this has been posted well after the fact.)
I listen to the steady breathing that only accompanies the deepest of sleep. I watch the wave of his body slowly rising and falling beneath the white comforter. Slowly - up and down. Up and down. I just barely feel the slightest change in the mattress with each small movement of his chest.
There will be no sleep for me tonight.
How quickly this time has passed through my hands. How quickly this last night came to be. How quickly were we here again. The waiting for the end - or the beginning - or whatever it is.
And I know to be grateful for this time. I am so deeply grateful that I was able to hold him and to have him hold me. That our children were able to make memories with their father. That my little, little boy walked to him time and time again, arms raised, saying "Da-Da." That for a small time any night I had a nightmare I could wake up, reach out for him, and have him be there. To not reach for air. To reach for skin and to find it. I am so heart-fully thankful.
But tomorrow I will watch this man kiss his children good-bye - children that have a much different understanding of what this is than they did a lifetime ago. Tomorrow my days-shy-of-being-three-year-old will understand what it means when his daddy walks away from him. Tomorrow strangers I will never know will watch one of the hardest moments of our lives and not understand. Tomorrow I will see the pain in the face of the strongest man I will ever know as he turns from his children and from his wife. Tomorrow I will not be able to make my Logan understand why his Daddy won't let him follow. Tomorrow I will hold onto my sons with every strength that is left within me. Tomorrow this man will take the ring from his finger and place it into my hand leaving me to carry both. Tomorrow will break our hearts.
... Breathe ...
God, give me grace.
Tomorrow is here.
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown
"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.