Well, it was rough…like I knew it would be. I managed to make it to the very last day without breaking down (although I came close more than once when Tom was saying goodbye to people)…and it seemed once I started, it was hard to stop—any little thing would set me off again. Logically, I knew better. I knew I could handle him being gone, I knew I’d be fine in a day or so, and I felt silly for being so emotional…but in the meantime it was just horribly painful.
I told Tom about four times that this was the LAST time I was doing this…that he was getting out when he was done and he was never leaving me again! I honestly don’t know how some wives can joke about being glad when their husbands leave…or wanting them to leave…or joking that “Can’t my husband go with yours?” I can’t fathom ever looking forward to him leaving. Especially for nine months. NINE MONTHS. Maybe it’s still the newlywed in me??
One of the hardest things about the day was being home alone while he was on base doing last-minute things. In my mind, the hours were flying by, totally wasted, when we could have been together. As it turns out, there were some screw-ups, so he actually did end up wasting a lot more time than he had planned on (he got home about noon, having left at 7am). But the good news is he got all the necessary paperwork done and now he can go up for Captain. (I’ll have to have him explain the process in more detail, but basically, you have to get your packet of information together to present to the selection board…which will happen while he’s in Iraq…so he had to complete it before he left. If they determine he’s qualified, then he makes Captain in a year or so.)
Then it was the rush to get the last-minute packing and last-minute “honey do” things done. And that’s when it started to hit me…he was really leaving (although logically, of course, I’ve known that since August). Before we knew it, it was time to pack the car and head to the airport. And before I knew it, I was home again…in an empty house. (Thank goodness for the cats…at least there was some life there.)
My only thoughts for the first few hours were… He’s gone. He’s actually gone. For nine months. Nine. NINE! Almost a year. I will be alone for 270 days. How do these other wives do it??? So, finally, I went to my crutch…this website! I spent some time updating and felt much better…although I still can’t believe he’s going to be gone for NINE MONTHS!