I knew this day was coming. I've known it for a long time but I didn't actually think it was going to happen. Denial can be very comforting.
I feel like we've handled this departure better than the previous ones. Instead of focusing on the departure date, we've been enjoying and appreciating our time together as a family. Even the smallest things become special these days. The kids seem to feel the same way and walking to school with Daddy or a bedtime story with him was just that much more fun. Savoring the moments we spent together was such a wonderful way to spend the last few days. If we all lived our lives like this, it would be a much happier world.
We've had all the conversations that they tell you to have. I know much more about my husband's burial preferences than most 80 year olds probably do. I know that if something happens, I will be notified in person between the hours of 0500 and 2400. I know that if he is injured but can make a phone call, it will be his voice I hear on the other end of the phone. I've heard that knowledge is power but in this case I feel so powerless. The power that I do have is here at home. This year is an opportunity for me. I know this sounds strange but it's an opportunity for me to grow and become stronger. My goal for this week is to take some time and write out a list of things I'd like to accomplish during the upcoming year. Some things will be big and some things will be small but if it's written down then it will get done. A year seems like a long time right now but if I don't do this I feel like all of a sudden 9 months will have passed and I will be in the same place I am right now. It would be a shame to waste this time.
Here are some pictures that I took this morning. I wanted to document the process. We didn't take the kids with us. Our neighbor came over and stayed with them while I took Brendan over. I know this sounds strange but they said their goodbyes the night before and then the girls got up and saw him off in the morning. The hangar where we waited was crowded and hot and it would have been very stressful for them to be there. They would have been miserable and bored as well. There were so many crying children and crying wives that I was really glad we didn't bring them. We wanted to make this as calm and normal as possible for all of us. I don't think the kids really understand what's going to happen. They know Brendan isn't coming home for a while but there's no way they can comprehend the length of time. It's a good thing.Brendan and Aoife watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse one more time:
Carrying the bags to the truck:
One *very* last check in and weapons draw:Family time - 1 hour - I'm not sure why they make it so long. As Brendan said, "Nothing can be created or fixed in one hour."All the carry on luggage lined up:Second half of the soldiers waiting to get on the buses:Brendan monitoring bus loading:The last one out the door:Buses leaving for the processing center:A plane coming in - I'm assuming it's the one they took out: