Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On Loss

Every loss seems so much more profound. Every change makes me cringe. I know I am changing as a person, both as a result of my life experiences and as a result of my mom’s death. It is still hard to believe, 8 months later, that she is gone.

I think of this deployment and what it means in relation to Mom’s death. I’ve express this to a few people, but feel putting here, in words, is important as well.
We moved to Missouri in April 2002. Mike went on the trail as a drill sergeant. The hours were brutal, 4am-9pm. Sometimes he had to be in earlier; sometimes he didn’t come home until later. 6-7 days a week was the norm. He did this for three years. I got by with this by realizing that if I didn’t expect him to be home, I wouldn’t get upset when he wasn’t. If I didn’t count on him being there, I didn’t get angry when he wasn’t. The bonus to this was that when he was able to home, it was unexpected and thrilling.

After three years on the trail, Mike went to work in a more traditional job setting. It was nice having him home before dark. It was amazing to be able to have family time on the weekends. Then, he got orders for Korea. That is when I started the blog. He was only supposed to be in Korea for a year, then come back home to us in Missouri. Somewhere along the way, 4 months into his tour in Korea, he came down on orders again. This time, his unit was moving to Hawaii. He called me, asking if we wanted to move to Hawaii. The catch was he would be deployed at some point, though he didn’t know how soon. A turn of events led to the kids and I staying put in Missouri while he went from Korea directly to Iraq. The 12 month tour there turned into 15 months. He then had to go to Hawaii for a month before coming back home to us. That meant he was gone for 20 months total.

During that time, while he was in Iraq, I don’t know when, but somewhere, somehow, I convinced myself that he wasn’t coming home. Every time we video called, or spoke on the phone, I just knew it would be the last time we would communicate. When he was finally back in my arms, first as I greeted him in Hawaii, then again when he was safely home, with me and the kids, I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe he had actually come back. It took me six months to re-acclimate to life with my husband.
I lost my Mom in December 2009. It’s been 8 months. Although I was there with her when she passed, it is still hard to believe that I can’t just pick up the phone and call her. My phone rang today, and the caller id read her name. It’s hard to see that and not think it’s her.

We found out shortly after her death that Mike would be PCSing to Ft Campbell. From there, we discovered that they were slated to deploy in May. Again, the kids and I chose to stay where we are. I am in graduate school and we wouldn’t be together even if the kids and I relocated. We have more ties here, so decided to stay put.
April was an extremely rough month for me. I realized that the manner in which I’ve dealt with Mike’s absences in the past is no longer effective. I can’t think that he won’t come back. Losing Mom makes it all ache. I feel un-tethered. She and Mike are the two people in my life who have always grounded me. I have always spoken to my Mom on a daily basis. Not more than a week had ever passed without a conversation with her.

To go back to my original way of dealing with Mike’s deployment is no longer an option. I can’t imagine my life without him in it. I had to go back and figure out how to live without his daily presence and still believe that he will return to me. I am still working it all out in my head, because the reality is he could be taken whether here or there, our lives are all fragile.

I sit here replaying the last week with a friend in my head. We had a disagreement last week. She called tonight, and we spoke for the first time since that night a week ago. I realized that I had been holding my breath. She just got out of the military and is moving on to a new stage in her life. It feels like I’m losing another part of me. It is hard to not look at the situation and feel the loss of it all. I feel I have lost a lot of friends and closeness in my life in the last few years. I can’t stand to lose another.

I’m not sure where this is going. I guess I just needed to get it all out of my head and into some other form of thought. It keeps working its way up to the top, trying to make its presence known. I guess I just felt it is time to acknowledge it and put it out there.

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