To you during this very emotional week...

Posted on: Tuesday, January 21, 2014

To my dear Mallory,

As you know, I wrote you a different letter. A sucky letter. What I meant to write was a heartfelt, yet level-headed response to your letter about homecomings. Unfortunately, as soon as I started really thinking about our deployments, the letter turned into this powerfully depressing babbling of thought and emotion and crap. Total crap.

Because deployments are crap.

How was your homecoming? How are you? How is Harry? How is Jon? How are you guys? What is your life like now? How are you the same? How are you different?

I just left a comment on your post. And I can promise you I am still crying; I just love your little family so much. Like I said in my comment, I wouldn't wish a deployment on my worst enemy--whether deployed military member or spouse. I just wouldn't. As a caring person, I couldn't wish a deployment on anyone. A deployment is, in my opinion, the weirdest, most effective form of torture. If a country ever needs to break someone, deploy the person they love most to a war zone. It will break them into a million pieces.

Simultaneously, I count military families as the luckiest families. I've never been able to describe the feeling that washes over you right before grabbing your formerly deployed spouse, the love of your life. It is intense. It is so intense it is practically mind-numbing. But it can't numb you because your heart is going a million miles per hour, while also taking the most deliberate, pounding beats against your chest. You want to cry. You want to scream. You feel like your legs might give out. And there's so much happening at one moment--other families being reunited, taking in your spouse's appearance [Aaron always returns looking incredibly different; he spends too much time in the weight room], maybe talking to each other, maybe making weird squealing noises [me].

It never feels weird being reunited. It feels weird falling back into daily routines. Dinner seems so basic. So important yet so insignificant. Taking the dog for a walk seems ridiculous. Worrying about bills seems like a non-worry. Getting gas seems laughable. The daily routines are necessary, but seem so strange after months of separation.

 Only an hour after he got home from Afghanistan.

A month and a half after returning from Afghanistan and a month after he stopped cutting his hair.

Aaron always wants to shower as soon as he walks in the door. And because it's been months, I usually sit on the bathroom floor with Hurley [Chuck has yet to endure a deployment], talking to him and joking and asking questions and reliving the reunion. After returning from Afghanistan, we went out to dinner with friends. Aaron was so exhausted after 48 hours of traveling [he doesn't sleep on planes], that he almost fell asleep mid-sentence. I kid you not. I picked Aaron up at the airport at 12:30AM after his deployment to Kuwait. We got home around 2AM. He fell asleep almost immediately and I was awake until 4AM. I honestly just sat there watching him. I couldn't believe he was home. In my bed. Waking up in a sweat because I had an all-too-real dream of him being killed by a sniper might still happen, but he was home and I wouldn't have to check CNN with tears running down my cheeks to confirm it was all a dream. I could just roll over and cuddle into him.

I have a lot of opinions about deployments and their affects on military members and their spouses. Surprise, surprise. But we'll discuss those at a different time. I want to know how it's been.

How has it been since your best friend got home?

I am so happy for you. I'm still crying.



  1. and i'm so happy too. how beautiful this is. especially when i imagine the joy and relief that must wash over the whole of all of your souls. there aren't words to do this justice, but one: love.


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