Jamie deployed this morning. I spent the last five days with him. I took off work Friday to hang out with him and help him get his stuff packed and make sure everything was done around here that needed to be. He grilled steaks and pork chops, and I made salad, potatoes, and garlic bread, and we had a feast Friday night. Saturday, we headed to Philadelphia very early after dropping Jake off at my parents’ house. The Army had him busy most of the day, so I went shopping and then waited for a while in the parking lot until he got done. We got settled into the Hilton after that and drove down to Meridian to find Jamie a wet weather jacket (he’s going to Washington first, and it rains all the time there) and eat at Olive Garden. Sunday morning, Jamie had to go to the send off ceremony practice, and since I wasn’t feeling well, I went back to the hotel room and napped. It didn’t help that we had eaten a huge breakfast at the PHOP (that’s Philadelphia House of Pancakes *lol*), so I was sleepy. When they finally let him go well after lunch, we went back to the hotel, dressed, and met some people to eat some Mexican food for supper. We hung out with this sweet couple, Valerie who is the Chaplain’s Assistant and is going over with Jamie, and her husband. Her husband is also leaving to go over in August, not many months before she’ll be back in the states, so they’ll be apart even longer. I can’t imagine being in that situation, though they do plan on taking leave at the same time. We stopped at a coffee shop and had ice cream before going back to the hotel. Monday morning, we had the send off ceremony at Neshoba Central High School. I sat with another Army wife, Cecily, who lives not very far from me, and we watched together. I teared up at Lt. Duff’s invocation and was balling by the time the unit video was over and the Soldier’s Creed was being read. Thankfully, I’d stashed some tissues; I was a mess. I think Jamie was surprised to see me upset. I had worked so hard at denying to myself what we were there for and hardening myself against feeling any emotion that it just flooded out all at once when I saw him down there with the unit. It wasn’t me and him anymore; it was he in his unit with me and the other wives sitting in the stands. I could no longer pretend that we were just doing another military weekend thing and would be going home in a few days. Denial was my biggest coping mechanism. I’d spent the past month crying at night and trying to hide it from him that denying that it was happening this weekend was the best way I knew to deal with it. I didn’t want the whole weekend to be a sad and frustrating ordeal. I wanted it to be us being normal and lovable and happy. Another coping mechanism was shopping. Although I didn’t do too much of it, shopping made me feel so much better. The other coping mechanism was food. I definitely eat my emotions. Well, after the send off ceremony, we stopped in at the Coffee Bean Café on Beacon St. and ate hot sandwiches and soup. I had collected myself by then. We ended up spending our evening in, only leaving briefly to get pizzas from Dominos, even though we’d promised to go out with some of his fellow soldiers. We just didn’t feel like it. We watched old movies and talked. This morning, I dropped him off at the armory only long enough to snap some pics and say our tearful goodbyes. He said that he didn’t want me to stay to see them leave on the buses for my sake, but I think it was for his sake, too. I left before most of the other soldiers and their families had shown up.
Now that he’s gone, I feel chaotic and dark inside. That’s the only way I can describe the feeling. I came in and slept for about four hours. I wasn’t tired; I just wanted to do nothing. Lying in our bed alone was hard at first, but after a while, I didn’t want to leave. If the mail lady hadn’t beeped to drop off a package and set Jake to barking, I may have lain there all day. I can’t imagine going back to school tomorrow and getting back into my normal routine, but that’s probably what I need most. It just seems like I’ve been gone for weeks, and I just wonder how things can possibly go back to normal when I feel so NOT normal inside. The sadness just rolls in in big waves. I know that talking to him tonight will make me feel better, and I hope he’ll be able to call if he gets in to Washington before I go to bed. This wouldn’t be so hard if we hadn’t been the happiest we’ve ever been. This past year has been so great, and I’m so afraid that happiness will be snatched away from us. In a way, it has been, but I just pray that it’s only temporary and we can put this difficult period behind us as just a distant memory, a little trip-up in a long, leisurely, happy journey together.