Monday, May 4, 2009

Memory Lane Monday

My last, completely clear, yet totally surreal memory happened in September of ’07.

Chuck was working 12 hour night shifts at the time for an inspection, and was just getting off work when I was taking Jaden to school. I was surprised to see him pull up and park near the gate through the perimeter fence to the school. I thought he might want to say a quick, “Have a good day!” to Jaden. But I noticed there was something different about Chuck’s spirit as we walked Ja to his classroom. I tried chalking it up to his being tired, but somehow, I knew there was something more.

We had dropped Ja off and walking side by side back to the gate. He had grabbed my hand, and said to me, “I have something to tell you.”

It’s weird how when you are about to get bad news, you notice the things around you, your surroundings, and for me, the weather. At that moment, everything froze, and is the moment that the world stood still for me. I remember the sand on the ground that had shifted from so many rains. I remember the birds, and I remember that the morning fog had not burned off yet. I remember the air being heavy. “You’re going to Korea, aren’t you?”

“Yes.” One word uttered so many different ways thousands of times a day and this time it changes our lives. What makes these times surreal is that while your moment is frozen everyone else keeps going; people that are still walking by, the little children clinging to their mothers, the giggling from a shared joke, the birds are still chirping. Does the gate guard checking our ID’s sense that our lives have just changed? With one simple “Yes” it keeps by passers and onlookers oblivious to the onslaught of thoughts and emotions coming through you at once.

“How soon?” I wondered aloud.

“June of ’08,” he answered.

I nodded, very quiet. I couldn’t even say what I was feeling (I know, imagine THAT). I just knew that the one person who is my world was leaving. He isn’t just my husband. He isn’t just the father of my children. He is my best friend, the one person who truly knows me and loves me anyway. Chuck is the gift that God gave me in this world to keep me balanced. I used to believe that “soul mate” was a romanticized, cheesy term used by anyone to describe someone they had clicked with at one point. But I can honestly say that there have been moments when I know that our souls have not just connected, but inter-mingled, became one, never to be completely separated again.

And, there I was, faced with my heart, my life and part of my soul preparing to leave for a year. From the time he joined the Air Force (I was married to him BEFORE he joined); this assignment has been the one I’ve dreaded. I’m not being a very good military wife admitting this, just honest.

“You don’t seem very upset,” he said to me.

“I’ve just known for a while now that you were going to leave. I’ve just had this premonition for a couple of years. I am upset. I’m just not surprised,” I explained.

At that point we went to the office that handles the orders. We had seven days to decide whether for him to accept the orders, or to not be able to re-enlist once his time ran out on his current enlistment. We couldn’t accompany him. We went home, both of us overwhelmed and not knowing what to say. We hadn’t been home an hour when the phone rang, letting me know that my 92 year old grandpa had passed away. Out of those seven days where we were making a career decision, we spent four of them going to and from the funeral of my grandfather (11 hours away).

At some point during that time, something in me just kind of shut off. I’ve just been kind of numb ever since, functioning in survival mode (there were already 2 deaths and a 2 cancers in the family in the past year). This was also the day I pulled the plug on my old blog. I just didn’t know what I had to say. I realize now, that in order to write, one has to feel, and I can’t feel one thing without opening the door for everything else. I guess in order for me to get through this year, it’s what had to happen.

I’m glad I can feel again. It’s not all good, but it beats just existing. And Chuck will be home in four weeks. THAT is something I am looking forward to feeling


kat said...

4 weeks: a blink of an eye or an eternity, depending on circumstances.

Put one foot in front of the other and you will get there.

Question: would you rather have known it was going to be 1 year ahead of time or had it sprung on you 1/2 way through? (that is what happened to us when Tim deployed last, "Oh, 6 more weeks...another 6 weeks...")

Lots of prayers from this part of the world for all of you.


Tracy said...

Oh definitely ahead of time. I don't like surprises, and I don't think I could handle thinking it was almost done and then boom, have to do it all over again.

And you're so right about those 4 weeks!

Thanks for the prayers!