Our final kiss before he left for Afghanistan in 2013.
A painful memory for many reasons. It was the last time I kissed him as my Husband.
I remember those painful goodbyes as he left us to go to Germany. I was pregnant with our second child, we were in the process of selling our house and moving, and I had a two year old. That was my first real experience of being a “military wife”. I have to say that he really enjoyed being in Germany and every night when he called, I could tell in his voice that he was happy, so that made it easy for me to be away from him, knowing that he was ok.
One of my fondest memories while he was there has to be the day I told him he was having a son. Because of the history of Girls in my family, he automatically said, “It’s another girl, isn’t it?” I chuckled and said “Your son and I are doing just fine.” I think he was taken back by my response, but I remember he said that he will finally have a little fishing buddy.
Time went by quickly and before we knew it he was home safe and sound in a new home and we began a new life soon after with a beautiful daughter and a sweet son.
I can’t remember the exact time he was called to be deployed again, but I remember the phone call….”Well, they need me again, I’m not sure where, hopefully state side this time.” My first response was always to cry, not because he was leaving again, but always for his safety and I dreaded to think that he would be in harm’s way.
In June of 2006, the unthinkable happened on Father’s Day weekend. We had a house fire that destroyed our beautiful new home. It was also the same time that we found out our daughter was having seizures and she had been to the hospital twice that year for hypoglycemic issues. I think God knew that I needed him near, and he spared us an oversees deployment. He was Stationed in North Carolina and was able to come home on the occasional weekend. That deployment was an absolute starting over process. We rented a tiny little house, that was really cold in the winter, and bought just enough furniture to fill it. During this certain deployment was our daughter’s obsession with the Wiggles. I remember a weekend that he was home, our daughter had issues about sleeping throughout the night, My fondest memory of that house was seeing him and the kids snuggled up on the couch at 3 am, both kids were asleep on his chest, the blue lights on the tree were the only light in the house, and hearing “Fruit Salad…Yummy Yummy”. haha……I knew that he was home and once again, we were a family. Safe and sound.
By this point, I could almost already tell by the sound in his voice on the phone that it was “that time again’. “Hey honey, I have bad news for you. They just called and said I’m needed in Iraq.” My heart sank, and for the first time, I knew what it was like to be truly terrified. The months leading to that certain deployment, I remember praying for God to keep him safe. Saying Goodbye to him in the airport that day was the hardest thing I had done to that point in my life…they have a little “quiet room” in the airport specifically for the military and their families, so they could spend time quietly together before they had to leave. I remember sitting in the room with my head on his shoulder crying. He would quietly tell me to stop crying, he would be ok. If he could have felt my heart that day, he would have felt it breaking into a million pieces….for the first time in my life, I felt the uncertainty of facing the fact that I may never see my husband again. With tears in both of our eyes, he boarded the plane and once again, I felt alone.
Thank God for Skype on that deployment, We were able to talk on the phone every day and video chat with the kids. My favorite Iraq memory had to have been the videos and pictures he took while he was there. From the crooked toilet to the loud chirping birds on the tree next to his quarters. Although he was thousands of miles away, I think that his deployment to Iraq made us closer as a family and I know I appreciated him so much more after that deployment.
“GET OUT OF MY WAY, MY DADDY IS BACK FROM IRAQ”…..that was written on the back of our Suburban as we made our way to Charleston to pick him up that day. That was also the longest drive to Charleston I ever took in my life…Yes, IN MY LIFE! (inside joke) Kids were dressed in their welcome home daddy shirts and we were ready to be a family once again. Those kids grabbed their daddy and wouldn’t let go for what seemed like eternity…..finally, I got to get a kiss from him, “Hello Mommy!” “Hey Daddy!” (that is what we have called each other since we had our beautiful babies.)
If I had known that would be the last time I would ever get to say Hello again in an airport full of family and friends, I think I would have soaked it in as long as I could have.
I was sitting in the parking lot of our local high school waiting for our exchange student at a football game, when I got the last phone call. “I got the call today.” is all he had to say, I knew exactly what that meant. “Looks like I’m headed to Afghanistan.” I remember sitting in that car crying and crying, all I could think was please God, not again!! We had a few months to prepare for this deployment, seems like they gave him about 6 months advance notice.
A lot can happen in a short amount of time, as I became very well aware of.
But God did bless me with one last goodbye….this picture is probably the most significant picture I own and I will forever cherish it. To be able to say goodbye to my Hero, my best friend and the absolute love of my life like that…..considering the circumstances, it was a beautiful way to say our final goodbye as husband and wife, and I will never ever forget that moment as long as I live. It was the last time I go to kiss my “husband” goodbye.
I felt such strong emotions that day, but mostly I felt the pride in my heart as I have the three deployments prior.
God has been good to us throughout his military career, he has brought our hero home safely each time….
To all of you military wives out there: Love your husbands, pray for them daily, hold down the fort with pride knowing they can’t do what they are doing without you!!
To each and every soldier past and present: I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you do and have done. Love your wives, and don’t forget to thank them for taking care of everything at home and with the kids while you are deployed.
Remember, you are a team and together you can do amazing things…..But most of all, please Love each other, through the good and the bad. Most importantly, make Christ the center of your home.
On this Veterans day, I say Thank You once again to my hero….wherever life takes you. I will always be eternally grateful for all of our Hello’s and Goodbyes.
Phil. 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.