People say it gets easier. I say they’re lying. It doesn’t get easier. It never gets easier. In fact, it gets harder. Each time, watching that bus pulling away, not knowing if you just had your last kiss. Not knowing if he’ll be in your arms again. Easier? No. Do you learn to manage better? I think so.
We recently had to say “see you later” to our favorite person. It was not easy. It was painful and heartbreaking.
The last time my husband deployed was years ago. Our oldest was a baby. I feel like that was just yesterday, yet here we are, three more children later and going through the motions again. We were fortunate for my husband to have been in a non-deployable instructor position for several years. I didn’t really realize how fortunate until now. Yes, his instructor job was difficult. We rarely saw him. But, he was still able to come home, even if for just an hour. He was still safe.
I’d forgotten the pain of watching the buses drive away. I’d forgotten the empty feeling that strikes when the dust from the tires settles and there’s nothing. I’d forgotten how quiet the house is when you return home. Yes, even with children running around. The quiet almost envelopes you in a squeezing hug that you wish would just let go.
This time around the deployment block has been so much more difficult. We now have children old enough to understand what it means for daddy to be gone.
What hurts more than my own loneliness is watching my children have to deal with the searing pain of separation. They are still proud of their daddy. They understand why he has to be gone. But, it doesn’t take the pain away. It doesn’t make everything better. It just means they have to learn to be okay. And it’s okay, because we’re in this together.
My sister suddenly lost her husband this past December. I have no idea what it’s like to be in her shoes. I can’t even imagine the daily pain she has to stuff inside in order to be strong for her children. But, I feel like I have a tiny glimpse of what it must be like. You find yourself realizing the things that you took for granted. I didn’t realize how incredibly helpful my husband was until he wasn’t there to help. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed our late night talks until it was just me and the pillow and no one to talk to. The little things that would irritate me are gone and now life feels uncomfortably abnormal without them. I know if my sister could inject something in this post right now, it would probably be something to the effect of loving your husband in everything because you never know the last time you’ll be able to express it. I have to hold to that mentality.
I don’t know if the last time I kissed my husband goodbye was our absolute last. I take each day with an edge of fear and a whole lot of prayer. I pray that I handle every one of our future conversations with grace, respect and humility. He certainly deserves it, and I love him.
Does deployment get easier? I say an emphatic “no!” But, I know what it’s like to have a God who can get me through each day, and I’m ever so grateful for that. He will get us through it, just like last time, and in the end we’ll be able to rejoice! It’s the in-between that stinks.
linking up at The Life of Faith