In my last post I spoke about the importance of understanding and recognizing the last image you give to your soldier. Of understanding what your reaction, what your actions, can mean to him. How important it is to provide a strong front, a calm sadness, a reassuring smile. If you haven't read it yet, I would encourage you to.
There is a part to this that may have been misunderstood or missed in total. If you have read through all of my posts (which, of course, I encourage you to do!), you know that I cry - a lot. In the days and weeks before C left this last time, I wore waterproof mascara every. single. day. It was the little things that got me - dressing Eli in the morning, wondering what size he would be wearing when C came home, wondering how different he would look. Watching Logan play on the playground, wondering how much more he would learn to do while C wasn't there. Seeing him updating and adding ribbons to his Blues ...
I cried when I was in the shower. I cried when Logan put on his PC as C was packing up. I cried when we watched certain shows, when I tripped over his boots, at the grocery store buying orange juice because I don't drink orange juice, C does, and would I remember to stop buying it? What if I bought it on accident? What if I never had to buy it again ...
The day I said "goodbye" I hugged him and stood on my toes to whisper, "I love you. I'll miss you. Come back to me."
And in the army way with the softest but deepest breathe I whispered one more, "See you soon."
And on the day C left, I stepped up into my car, and cried harder than I thought possible - the hot water pouring down my face, soaking my clothes, the snot mixing in, gasping for air between heaving sobs. Because no matter what had just happened in that assembly center, no matter what image I just gave him, I needed to feel it. My husband was leaving to go to war. My husband was leaving to live with Afghans - not Americans. My husband was going to be vastly outnumbered. My husband was entering into that situation barely a month after several Afghans (in the area he was going to) went rogue and turned on their trainers and advisers. In my mind, there was a very real possibility that he wouldn't come home to me, to our boys. That that was the last time I might see him.
There is no healthy way to hold that in. None.
I cried it out. And I didn't care who could see or what people thought. I needed to feel it, to let the sadness and fear and dread wash over me so that I could - at least for a time - let them go. It was healing for me. To cry until there was nothing left. To physically feel the sadness leaving my body.
I cannot say how important I think it is to acknowledge the difficulty and sadness and pain that exists in this life. I do not think that ignoring that is in any way healthy or strengthening or smart. While in my heart I had to believe that he was coming home, I had to believe that God would watch over him and his men, you cannot know. You just do not know.
I do not think we should wallow in that. I do not think we should think every day, "What if he is gone today." No, no, no, no, I do not think we should ask that! But I think there needs to be a time - or times - when the what-ifs become too hard to bear, when the sadness begins to eat at our strength, that we need to let it go. To sit down and let the pain leave our hearts.
It is in these moments, when I can barely breathe, when the sobs are so heavy, that I find myself in the truest, rawest pray. When in my core, in the deepest part of my gut, I am begging God to "Keep him safe." "Dearest, Dearest, God, bring him back to me. Let his children KNOW him."
Let him hold them. Let him watch them grow. Do not take him from them.
Those are the vulnerable moments. When at the time we are at our weakest. The moments we don't talk about or don't share. The moments that are just "ours". Intimate moments between a loving God and a humbled human.
These are healing moments. Strengthening moments when we acknowledge that we feel broken. That our hearts are too heavy. That our road seems too dark.
Allow yourself to feel this life. Allow yourself to let it go.
Tears are healing waters; prayer in agony is a powerful thing. He will strengthen you for the journey. He will wipe the sadness from your heart.
You only need to ask.