A couple weeks ago, C and I were watching a movie together one of the nights that he was home. For once, his phone didn't ring. For once, he wasn't running in to his office for a "few minutes" that always turns into a few hours. He was home. The boys were asleep and we were able to just be.
Logan woke up screaming. A scary, heartbroken scream. Right when I made it up the stairs to hold him the screaming changed to words between gasping breaths, "Daddy's gone!" "Daddy left again!" "Daddy's gone!" I tried to close the door to quiet the words but it was too late.
C was standing behind me.
He heard it. He heard every agonizing word.
Not once in all the time that C has been gone this year had Logan ever woken up like that. Not once had I ever heard him scream like that. Not once had he struggled through those words in the middle of the night with complete and absolute despair.
Not one time.
It happened for the first time when C was there to see it. He held him the rest of the night.
I hadn't felt that broken since the moment during the last deployment when it clicked to Logan that his Daddy wasn't coming home for a very long time. I hadn't felt that helpless and shattered since I held him while he cried himself to sleep that first time.
I watched C wrap his arms around him and cradle him and say, "I'm right here, buddy. I am right here." C kissed the top of his head and tightened his arms around him while Logan slowly stopped gasping for air, stopped sobbing between breaths. He held him and rocked him until he drifted back to his dreams that again woke him with the same terror. And he tightened his arms again and kissed his forehead and said again, "I'm right here, Buddy. I am right here."
I laid in our bed struggling to sleep, wanting so badly to understand why! Of all the nights he hadn't been there, of all the times that C wouldn't have felt that pain. With all the nights that he had not been here, WHY did it have to happen when he was?
Why when he would see it? Why when he would see his child broken? WHY? Doesn't he carry enough? Doesn't his heart hurt enough? Doesn't he give and give-up enough?
I know how to want to take pain from a child. I know how to hold my little ones and rock them back to sleep. I know how to remind them how much their daddy loves them, and misses them, and wants to be there. I know how to talk to them about how important the mission is, how vital daddy's job is to every part of our life. I know how to dry their tears and kiss their hurts and just hold them.
But to see two hearts breaking. To have no words that can heal or comfort or fix.
To see your children miss their daddy is a far different thing than for their daddy to see how much they hurt when he isn't there.
It hurts to know how much they miss him. It hurts to know how much they want him here. It breaks me to know that he has seen it now. It threatens my strength to know that now that he is gone again, now that his nights are spent away from here again ... I know my C. I know that image, that scream, will stay somewhere in his heart.
He carries so, so much. This was one thing I wanted to always carry for him.