Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Unfinished Love Letter

Rummaging through my computer a few days ago I found a love letter that I started to write to Alex almost 3 years ago. I have no idea why I never finished it and gave it to him but I want to share it with all of you even though it is not finished.

"Alex,

You have no idea how many times I have tried to write this letter to you, but ended up starting over. I have so much to say to you but no idea how to put it into words. It all sounds so nice in my head but I am afraid if I try to write the words that I am feeling, I'll end up diminishing them.


I remember hearing so many wonderful things about you before we even met. I was so excited to meet you. They were right, you were wonderful, but the more time we spent together talking the more I started realizing that those wonderful things they had said about you didn't even begin to scratch the surface of how truly amazing you really are. You started to grow on me :) I loved hanging out with you and after you left, I loved talking on the phone with you. I even changed my phone plan to a long distance one so we could talk more. I remember calling my house from work at 24-Hour Fitness multiple times a day waiting to see if I got a letter from you, and if I did I would beg my mom to drive it all the way out to 164th so I could read it right away. I fell for you so fast. You were unlike anyone I had ever met before. You were such a jerk but so sweet and caring at the same time. I was crazy about you and I never thought that 4 years later, I still would be. Except it's grown into something much more now, I am so in love with you.


In more ways than one, you have saved my life. We have been through an unexplainable amount of things together. You have been so patient with me through all my stupid mistakes and you have stood by my side when I needed someone the very most. You are so unselfish."


It stops there. The love I have for that man amazes me, but the love he has for me though is a rare and special kind of love. He has loved me at my best and even more so at my worst. He has stood by me during the times that any other guy would have turned his back on me. I am very blessed to have him in my life.

Reading stuff like this reminds me of how very lucky I am to have someone like him. Having him gone has helped me to appreciate him so much more. I am constantly surrounded by people who don't realize how lucky they are to have their husbands/boyfriends around all the time. So many people take advantage of the time they spend together. The military life is definitely far from glamorous and it is definitely not for everyone but one of the things I love about it is that it has taught me to truly appreciate the time my husband and I have spent together. Not everyone has the luxury of waking up every morning next to their man or picking up the phone and calling him whenever you want. So if you do have that....appreciate it, don't take advantage of it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Hero

Photo and video editing at www.OneTrueMedia.com

I love making these videos! I have 4 now but this is by far my very favorite out of any of them. It is a mixture of pictures from 3 deployments and the last almost 7 years. The small video that is shown in there is from when Alex came home from Iraq in 2006. Hope you enjoy :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Saying Goodbye Is The Hardest Part Of This Job

I remember that night like it was yesterday and it still hurts just as bad today as it did 6 months ago. There are a handful of experiences that I know will forever be in my memory, August 22, 2010 is one of them.

The weekend was a busy one for the both of us; we were packing up the house and moving everything into storage. I was making travel arrangements for me and trying to make the most out of the last few days I had with him. He was getting all his gear packed and stocking his computer and ipod with enough songs, movies, and games to last him the next year. Needless to say, it was hectic. The days were flying by much more quickly than I had wanted to, but as I have learned before, I can’t control time. Before I knew it, it was the 22nd of August, the day I had been dreading since I first found out he would be leaving me.

It was a Monday and the weather was hot and muggy as usual, typical weather for summertime in Tennessee. My suitcases were in the bed of the truck along with all of his gear he would be taking with him. We had taken the last load to the storage unit which included the bed and some pillows and blankets, basically the only stuff we needed for one more night in the house. His big house that was always messy now seemed so empty and sad. I did a final walk through to make sure that we weren’t forgetting anything. All that was left was some beer and pizza in the fridge and a box of stuff next to the stairs that I would be taking to Goodwill before I left Tennessee. There were a couple hours left to kill before he had to check in and we were running out of thing to clean, it was nearing time to face the inevitable.

I was trying my best not to cry or at least not to let him see me cry, so I kept myself busy. I must have walked through that house 50 times to make sure everything was turned off and there was nothing we were forgetting. I took out trash, scrubbed bathroom sinks, and emptied the fridge out. I knew that there was nothing left to do but I think subconsciously I was trying to stop time, or slow it down. Finally, I gave up fighting it. I grabbed a beer and sat next to him on the floor of our empty bedroom. I rested my head on his shoulder as I watched him play Plants vs. Zombies on his laptop. I wanted our last little bit of time together to feel as normal as possible and I knew that if I tried pushing him to talk about this next year, our upcoming R & R wedding, or pretty much anything else would just feel too forced. I was perfectly content with just being as close to him as possible and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t actually enjoy watching him play that silly game.

I don’t remember much about the drive other than it was dark outside and muggier than usual. I asked him small questions about where he would be going first and how often he would be able to call me on his way to Afghanistan. I knew most of the answers already but I was trying to make small talk so the ride wouldn’t be so quiet. I text my good friend to let her know I would be on my way to her house shortly and to see if she had already dropped her husband off. I was fighting off tears the whole drive but of course as soon as we parked the truck in front of his building, I lost it. I cried as he held me in his arms and told me it would be ok and that he would be back before I knew it. He told me how much he loved me and reminded me to stay safe while he is gone. I didn’t beg him to stay or ask him if he really had to go, I just held him and told him that I loved him too and that I would wait for him. I knew that no matter what I said he was going to have to leave and there was nothing I could do about it. I have learned to distinguish the difference between the things I have control over and the things that I do not. This situation was one that I had zero control over, so I just had to embrace it. Alex had to go inside for a few minutes before coming back out to say his final goodbye to me. I felt like he was inside forever. Once he came back we hugged one more time and I got in the drivers seat of the truck before giving him a final kiss. I told him how much I loved him and to call me before the plane took off the next day. Yep, you are reading that correctly, they weren’t even going to fly out until the next day but he had to check in the night before. It was torture knowing that he was still in the same area as me but I couldn’t see him or hug him or kiss him again. And with that final goodbye, I drove off.

I hadn’t even gotten to the main road before my phone started ringing. It was Alex. He had left a bag of stuff in the truck and needed me to bring it back. It was like pouring salt in an open wound. I had already said goodbye once, I didn’t want to have to do it again but of course I turned the truck around. I guess I looked at it as an opportunity to get one more kiss from him. He met me in front of the building and told me to not even get out of the truck. I got one more kiss as he grabbed the bag of stuff from me and he was off, it was short and sweet. I knew he didn’t want to make it any harder on me than it already was.

After driving away that second time, I felt lost. I didn’t know what to do, whether or not I wanted to call someone or drive in silence. I knew I should call his parents and let them know I had dropped him off, and that I should call my best friends and tell them the same but I couldn’t even breathe. The pain I was feeling is indescribable; my whole body went numb except my heart. I felt like my heart had just been ripped out of my chest. I made a few phone calls but all I can really remember from them is just crying. The drive to Nicole’s house seemed unusually long probably because I couldn’t wait to get there. I found comfort in knowing that I was going to be with someone who was going through the exact same thing as me and that I wasn’t going to have be alone. When I got there it was pretty quiet, there wasn’t much to say, just small talk really. We just sat in silence and watched TV together until it was time to go to bed.

As expected, I didn’t sleep well that night. On top of the sleep problems I already have, I tossed and turned and woke up every hour or so to make sure that I didn’t miss his call. He called me in the middle of the night to let me know that they still hadn’t taken off yet and to see how was I was doing. It was the longest night of my life, but I made it through it. The nights seemed to get a little bit easier after that first one, although there are still times where I toss and turn and check my phone a million times to make sure I am not going to miss him.

It’s been 6 months now and I still miss him just as much as I did that first night but I fight through it. I have learned that I don’t always have to be tough and strong. I cry when I feel like crying, I scream when I want to scream, and I smile when that’s all I have left in me. Although I will never forget how it felt to say goodbye to him that night, I also know how it feels to have him back in my arms again and that feeling is worth every lonely night I have.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Question After Question....

When Alex is gone I feel like I am constantly being interviewed or everyone is writing a book on my life. I am asked a million questions by people I don’t even know, some of which completely blow my mind. The number one most ridiculous question I have been asked (multiple times might I add) is if I can go visit him. I understand not everyone follows politics and not everyone understands the military life, but I feel like everyone should know enough about what is going on in our country to know that people can not go “visit” Iraq or Afghanistan.

Lately though one question has been lingering in my mind: what changes about me while he is gone? How do I answer that? How do I put into words that my whole entire world changes while he is gone? Everything changes: from my mood all the way to my body. I’ll tell you some things about my body that definitely goes through changes.

My legs probably go through the most change during his deployment. When Alex is home I like to keep my legs nice and smooth but when he is gone, I shave maybe once every week to week and a half (except during the warm months). Some of you might find that gross but the way I see it is that no one is going to be touching them but me so what does it matter if they are shaved or not. I do, however, continue to shower on a daily basis and do my makeup when I leave the house. My weight also changes a lot, it goes up and down. I find that this is perfectly natural though, stress will do that to a body. My best advice for someone who notices this change is to exercise and eat right.

When it comes to my mood the best way I can think of to explain how I feel is permanent PMS. The worst part of it is how easily I cry. I do not usually cry very much, it actually used to take a lot for me to shed some tears but not anymore. I cry when I see anyone in uniform or when I hear the national anthem or even watching a USAA commercial. It is ridiculous. I also find myself to be very defensive. I am snappy and cranky and feel like I am constantly on the edge of my seat. Why wouldn’t I be though? My husband is fighting a war and I am here waiting patiently for his return. I feel because of that I have been given the right to be on edge most of the time.

If you are experiencing any of these feelings please remember that it is completely normal to feel that way. You’re going through stress and your life is an emotional rollercoaster right now. Don’t forget to let yourself go through those emotions though. Don’t try to hide them or push them away, it will only make it worse in the long run. You will build up stress and it will end up releasing at the wrong time and on the wrong person, which will most likely be your significant other.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, even if your loved one is far away.