I was enjoying a day of blog-hopping on Wednesday. Since I am new to this adventure, I was hopping to as many blogs as my kids would allow and very much enjoying the diversity that I was finding. But one blog stopped me cold. She had a countdown to the return of her deployed husband. I couldn't read further...my blog hopping was done. I apologize now to her for not staying on her site longer or leaving a comment, but the memories her countdown conjured up were not ones that I wanted to entertain.
I know exactly what it's like to send a husband to war. I don't talk about the experience...no one really wants to know what the spouse left behind goes through, feels, fears. No one wants to let her cry and confess her deepest darkest thoughts...the reality of War is very scary. Please indulge me for just a moment:
I remember, very vividly, the birth of our 2nd born son, Tyson (he is now 7 1/2). It was a cold morning of a normal spring blizzard. I drove myself to the hospital for my scheduled induction leaving my 4 year old in the apartment with Great Grandma for the day. My OB/GYN had approved inducing me early in hopes that daddy would get to come home and meet his child before he left for war. He had been at mobilization station for the last 3 months, and their unit had just received orders to leave for Iraq.
I won't bore you with the details of delivery-they are all terrible, aren't they? Actually, all of my deliveries have been very joyous...but this one was different. All the nurses and staff new my predicament, but nobody really wanted to say anything. There was an obvious discomfort that hung in the air that day...for everyone.
After a very horrible and hard delivery, my new baby Tyson was swiftly taken by a team that rushed into my room. The cord had been wrapped around his teeny-tiny neck. As they took him, I had no one to hold my hand, to kiss my forehead, to share a tear. I held my head high and didn't cry as they stitched me up and left me in the room.....all alone...still having not brought my baby back. Loneliness is very loud...it echoed throughout that delivery room. It mocked me from every corner. I have never before felt.......so alone.
I was taxied to my shared room and soon after arrival, they brought my sweet babe to me....all swaddled, and clean, and awake. He was the most beautiful site to behold. I just stared at that boy.....wondering.....will he know his daddy, will I be able to raise him, how am I going to do do this, I feel so lost, who is going to help me, what am I going to do.....will he ever know his daddy? I got very little sleep that night......loneliness and raw fear are demons in the dark of the night. I just held my new little guy and wondered....and never cried.
Daddy arrived the next day....to a rush of family who wanted to hug him and meet the baby. It was all very overwhelming....everyone wanted some time...and I didn't get any. He was home for 3 days, and we never had a moment together. And no one, no one, asked me how I was doing, squeezed my hand to say "I've got your back", held me so I could cry. No one. And so....I never cried.
We took my husband to the airport- the weather was nice the days he was home, but today it was very cold; the wind slapped with anger. I hugged him goodbye, gave him a kiss, and watched him walk to his plane...hoping I would see his face again. My chin was steady and my head was held high as, without a tear, I took my boys home- a single mommy to two little men. The thoughts that echoed in my mind were pushed into a deep dark hidden place. The luxury of entertaining these thoughts wasn't an option. After all, I had to be a mommy.
It was 7 weeks before I spoke to my husband again. We communicated through letters which I still have in a sacred box that no one gets to touch. The elation of finding his letter in my mailbox was intoxicating. I would rip it open like a kid on Christmas morning. For weeks, I would read and re-read his words until the next letter arrived. I would hold it close to my heart, I would smell it hoping it would contain some scent of my hubby. It was all I had of him.
But in that year that he was gone, I don't remember crying. It really wasn't an option- I had two precious babies to protect, raise, and influence. Even now, this memory doesn't bring tears- I simply won't allow it. My husband leaves for his second deployment in May to Afghanistan. The news was jolting and threatened an eruption of emotions. But I clenched my jaw, bit my lip, and had the conversations with my husband (for the second time in our marriage) about his funeral and burial wishes and plans for our kids. We haven't told our boys-it's not news they need to be concerned with yet. I push the thoughts, fears, what ifs down deep every day....I don't allow them to affect me....after all, I have 4 precious blessings to protect. I am a mom, a proud military wife..........and I can't cry. I won't cry. I am a big girl...........................and big girls don't cry.