My Love....My Soldier
I had to speak up, "Baby, why are you asking me all of this? You know that my divorce is out of my control for now. I don't know what to tell you. I get the feeling that.... you're pushing me away. Are you?"
"That kiss, honey...." he began, "That kiss by your car this afternoon. I felt so completely raw and emotionally naked. I can't go off to war feeling like that!"
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. He was losing it, tears flooding his beautiful face.
"Maybe we should just cool it. Not see each other before I deploy. Maybe if you're still single when I get back, we can try this again."
I was confused. He couldn't stop saying how much he wanted me to wait for him but kept repeating, "15 months is a really long time."
I can still see his face, turned slightly away, his lips pursed tightly, trying to hold it all in. I remember how the tears hung on his long dark eyelashes and made his eyes as clear as the sea. I was holding his face, wiping the tears and trying to console him. My heart was breaking and I was consoling him...
"I'm an asshole! I knew I was deploying before we even reconnected. I should've never come back into your life. After all you've been through this weekend... "
I reassured him that no matter what happened, I held no regrets for all that we experienced in those 3 weeks. I love him beyond any doubt or comprehension.
"I just can't," he kept saying. "15 months, honey. You will surely meet someone else! I have had 9, that's 9, relationships fail because of a deployment. I can't do this again!"
"But baby," I reassured him, "Wouldn't it be nice, at the end of a long day filled with violence, sand and hate, to lie down in your bed and know that someone loved you with every fiber of her being? Wouldn't that be the one thing that would make it all better?!"
"God yes, honey. I would love that."
He was supposed to come over later that night. I had just given him a key to my house. He asked if I wanted the key back.
"Only if you're not coming over."
He reached in his pocket, pulled out the key and sadly slipped it into my purse. In that moment, I heard my heart break into a thousand pieces.
I had to go. It was time for me to pick up my children from the ex's house. I thought I was dying or at least wished I was.
He walked me to my car and didn't let go of me. Both of us held on and kissed like we would never see each other again. It was excruciating. I was torn between wanting to reassure him and being fiercely angry. He kept saying how much he would miss me but he needed to be a soldier. He couldn't face war and worry about me.
I drove away feeling lost. I couldn't even drive straight through the downpour of tears clouding my vision. I have never had anyone say to me, "I love you so much that I can't see you anymore." I wanted him to be ok. I pleaded with him to "let me love you anyway..." I couldn't bear the thought of not being here for him.
And then I was yelling, beating on the steering wheel and screaming uncontrollably! I felt cheated out of our goodbye. I knew he was deploying. I had prepared myself for the horrible long goodbye. I was prepared to cherish our every moment until then. Now those moments wouldn't happen. They were snatched right out of my hand when I wasn't even looking. It was like the universe was playing a cruel joke on me... I was too stunned to laugh.
Later that night, he called and said, "As I watched you drive away, I was completely broken. I miss you so much."
What was I supposed to do? I felt like I had been hit by several trucks at once! Devastated was an understatement!
That night, I called a friend to come over. I needed to vent and try to make sense of all that had happened. I was absolutely hysterical. She kept reassuring me that he knew how he needed to prepare for war and I didn't. Maybe this was something that needed to happen. She recommended that I try to write him a letter to take with him on his deployment.
The next morning after not sleeping at all, I sat down with a sheet of paper.
"Ok God, help me. I don't know what to write but I don't want to be angry. I want him to know that I love him. I can't think of what to say. I don't know what he needs. I need You to give me the words..."
Two words came to my mind: Thank you.
The words flowed out of me as swiftly as my tears had fallen the day before. Seven pages of thank yous later, I actually felt some peace about the situation with him.
When I look back on my blog post from that day, I am happy to see that even in the lowest points in my life, I can still find something to be grateful for.
He was stunned when he received my letter. He said that no one had ever done anything like that for him. "I can't believe," he said, "that you could write such a letter to me the day after I seemingly broke your heart."
I told him that I loved him, I always would and that I would never regret all that I had lived and learned about myself in those few weeks.
Within a few weeks, he wasn't the same open and emotional man anymore. He was as solid as a soldier should be. He has never been cold but I do know that our "mini-breakup" was probably exactly what we both needed - though we didn't know it at the time. He could move forward and face his war with strength and... I could too.
I wasn't the same person anymore. I had to recover from the most emotional weekend of my life. Somehow, over following months, I grew to understand a strength in myself that I was never aware of before. And really, not so much a strength but faith. Somehow I knew that I had to hold "us" together - though the definition of "us" is still to be determined. It was obvious to me that my job, my duty, if you will, was to be a friend to the soldier that I love so deeply.
The day he left, I was the last phone call he made before boarding his plane. He was holding it together but just barely. He wanted to tell me "aloha" and said that it would definitely not be the last phone call we'd share.
Though we haven't seen each other, we have stayed in touch every week since that weekend in September. Slowly and deliberately, we are learning more about each other. We are learning to trust again. Both of us.
This year has been a road of ups and downs. I've been through selfish times, times where I let life lead me, weeks when I didn't know what to say or do, met other people, sold my old house and bought a new one, and finally completed my divorce. Sometimes I hated the deployment and other times, it was a blessing. I still don't know our future and most of the time, I am at peace with the ambiguity.
I am exactly where I should be. This has been good for me. I have learned more and continue to learn WHO I AM.
He is worth the wait to me. Nearly a year later, I think he's finally realized that I'm not going anywhere.
I look forward to more wonderful moments with my friend, my love and my soldier.