I so clearly remember standing in the parking lot, saying our goodbyes. My heart remembers that because that moment could be the last time I ever see him again.
That emotion is never forgotten.
The following is part two of a three part series. If you missed reading “Trial by Fire” you can read it, here.
After we said our goodbyes, I drove straight to work. I didn’t want to go home and I knew that work would be a distraction for me. I knew that was where I had to go.
Later in the day, I got a phone call.
“You need to come get me”, he said. “We are not leaving today.” In less than twelve hours I went from sending him off for an unknown period of time to the land of I-don’t-know-where to him coming home.
Military Wife Life 101 – always be prepared for the unexpected.
The next morning, we go through the same routine we did the day before.
Drive to the base, say our goodbyes – get another phone call to go get him.
On September 14th, we did the same thing. From September 12th to the 19th we did the same thing, everyday – Drive to the base, say our goodbyes – not knowing if that day was the day he was really leaving or not – get a phone call to come get him.
By the 7th day of this routine, I literally could not get out of bed in the morning. I was so emotionally and physically exhausted. Although I was happy to have that one more day with him, I was mad that everyday I would drop him off not knowing when or IF I would ever see him again and then I would get the phone call to come get him.
I was tired because we left early every morning and did not get home until late at night. The news each day was worse than the day before. My Type A personality was in “crash mode” because my brain just couldn’t take any more of the constant changing, the lack of control over the situation, the not knowing what to do.
On September 20, 2001 we once again left in the early morning hours to make the drive to the base. I now know the routine and expected that phone call. It came later in the day.
It was the expected but unexpected call.
“We are definitely leaving today.”, he said. “Are you sure?”, I said.
“yes, but not to New York City. We are going to the Middle East on our deployment”
In that moment, I had just heard the news that my husband was going off to War. The enemy is not in NYC, they are in the Middle East. The War of retaliation does not happen on U.S. soil.
THAT is the moment that my heart remembers. THAT moment of terror-filled-fear is still so very real, all these years later.
“How will I know that you are going to be OK?”
“You have to go with the no news is good news approach”, he said. “If you do not hear from me, you have to know that everything is OK. I will try to call and write and email when and if I can…”
“Hold up – what do you mean IF you can?”, I said angrily.
‘Yes, IF”. “We do not know when or IF we can get communication set up”.
“But how will I know if something bad happens?”
“They will come find you.”
“They” meaning the Military Chaplain and his assistant. “They” meaning a black or dark blue (I assume, because that’s how it is in the movies) car will be waiting for me in the parking lot when I come home from work.
“They” meaning a person in an official Military uniform will show up at my door.
So now I don’t know when or IF I will ever see my husband again but I have also been told that I don’t know when or IF I will be able to speak to him AND I’m just supposed to go on the “no news is goods news” to know that he is OK.
I suddenly had a great fear of official looking dark-colored sedans…
This is part 2 of a 3 part series. Please click here to read part 3, “The Heart Doesn’t Forget”