I hear it all the time …
“Josh is gone again? Well … you must be used to it by now, right?”
I know you don’t mean to be hurtful. I know you simply don’t understand my world, but I don’t know how to answer so I just smile and nod and change the topic.
Am I used to it by now?
Well, we have been at this for a while, fourteen patrols I believe, so I am prepared, if that’s what you mean. I have maintenance on speed dial and a good relationship with a mechanic, just in case. I have the Powers of Attorney and the Will, heaven forbid. We discussed the bills, routine maintenance, expectations and reality. We’ve made decisions about the kids, about the finances, about the just-in-case-this-happens emergencies. We’ve marked off every box of the almighty Pre-Deployment Checklist we’ve created over the years. I am as prepared as I can be.
But am I used to it by now?
No, I am not. I will never get used to sleeping alone or waking up hugging a lukewarm pillow. I will never get used typing a carefully worded version of my feelings every night and praying that he reads my love between the lines. I will never get used to family holidays minus my other half, and I will never get used to celebrating my anniversary alone.
I will never get used to sleeping with the only letter I may see in three months under my pillow just because his hands touched it so recently. I will never get used to telling my kids how proud their dad would be, is always, and will be when we are able to share their daily achievements, and I will never get used to hearing a four-year-old say wearing daddy’s old worn t-shirt is “almost like a daddy hug.”
I will never get used to making the decisions alone that we couldn’t have anticipated. I will never get used to the fear of losing a loved one while he’s gone and handling it on my own. I will never get used to my kids’ tears when it’s been a bad day or week, and just having Dad here would ease the strain. I will never get used to that.
I can’t complain much because we also live homecomings that are indescribably amazing. We get to live here, there, and everywhere and see all that this beautiful country has to offer. I’ve made friends I would never have met had we not shared this life.
But will I ever get used to losing my husband for months at a time?
Dear God, I hope not.