This was our saying to each other the whole first year that Robert was in boot camp, school, and training. Now, the love of my life is in Afghanistan, and I am floundering to find my place here without him. Stuck in this revolving door of optimism, extreme sadness, unbelievable happiness from messages, utter loneliness, major stress, and just an overall desire to forget the next 5 or so months and wake up the day he comes home is exhausting. I know for most reading that someone has a loved one over there now is just another person in a sea of faces in the war on terrorism. However, for me, every day that he is gone is another day where this hole inside of me gets even larger. The pain of being without him at times is almost unbearable, and there are moments where I find myself unable to breath through the pain. Knowing that the man you love most in this world is traveling "outside the wire", seeing such horrible things that you could never even begin to imagine does something to the way that you look at life. I have come to cherish every single text, email, phone call, and voice mail I receive. I even save the ones that, for the most part, sound like a muffled mess, because every so often you get a sliver of what he says where I get to hear his voice.
This is not the life that I imagined that I would ever end up having. Don't get me wrong, Robert is the man that I told my mom just a month or so after dating was "the one", and we were going to get married. After a few years, and many broken hearts later, we ended up exactly where I said we would. I got to look into his beautiful blue eyes in front of friends and family and say yes to spending the rest of my life with him. Now. if you were to rewind the clock a few years and ask me how married life for me would probably be, there would have been no hesitation in my response. I would most definitely be living in Texas, close to family, working full time, saving up money to buy or build a house, going on fun trips with my wonderful husband, and eventually have a baby or two. If you would have told me that I would be living 1000 miles away from every family member I love and cherish so much, and learning to live a life where I come home from work every night to be alone and stressed, and most of my days off are spent completely alone trying to find various things to possibly make the time go by even the tiniest bit faster, I would have slapped you across the face. ("run on sentence much?" yeah, yeah, yeah, cut me some slack here, I babble when I am emotional, deal with it) The thing is......I would never change a single choice that was made, as long as I get to spend the rest of my life with the man of my dreams, my world, and my rock.
I cannot even begin to imagine how my Nonnie survived while my Papa was gone in WWII. She would go months without hearing anything, and she managed to come out a strong, independent woman, and they were deliriously happy up until the day he passed away. Her strength, and the strength of every husband, wife, friend, and family member that has had to do this and managed to come out on the other side a better person inspire me immensely. These people help me to believe that I might be alright after everything is said and done. Over everyone else, the people with the strength I admire most are those like my husband. The men and women (not necessarily in a war zone, but deployed anywhere in general) who are able to fight through all of the pain, loneliness, exhaustion, and stress to make their loved ones at home feel better. Those who are ripped from their comfort zones for months at a time go out of their way to make the ones they love the most happy. These are the people I admire most, and this is exactly what Robert does for me.
There is nothing in this world that I love more than the amazing man I married, and there is nothing in this world that could ever make me stop. I pray, every single day, with every fiber of my being, that he comes home safe. I wish on every 11:11 and shooting star that I see. I have hope and faith that he will come home to me happy, healthy, and all together. I also do no delude myself into thinking that there isn't anything that could go wrong. Keeping a healthy realization of the things that could go wrong is partially one of the things that helps to keep my grounded. I do believe that I will make it through this a better and stronger woman, but I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said that I wouldn't be leaving a part of me behind to get there.....but who knows.....only time will tell........