By Jade Stone
I hope this finds you all happy and satisfied with the holidays, though it appears the peace of the holiday season has officially ended and we are left to nurse the “holiday hangover” which results from overindulgence in food, drink, and spending. Though I will miss the days I was given to sit and read in peace, I suppose I must return to the real world and the job that allows me to live in it!
I must admit, a very small part of me is thankful for the reprieve from acknowledging that this was Jay’s last Christmas with us before he leaves for Iraq. I don’t remember the last time being this hard. It seems that, though I was not willing to admit it, I have been thinking about this the entire break and to some extent agonizing over it.
Now, I know it does me no good to do this but I suppose my emotional being and my logical being are playing separate roles these days! In fact, sometimes I actually feel as though they might be at war with one another — one constantly reasoning that everything is fine and no emotion in the world will stop this train from leaving the station, while the other simply spilling bigger tears with each round of “what ifs”. Imagine that running around in your head and you will truly know my plight for the next 6 months.
But this holiday season really did me in. So far, my “logical” side was winning and I had no trouble going through the daily routine without scrutinizing all of the possibilities that may lie ahead. But as the clock struck 12:01 am on New Year’s day, after the magic moment was ushered in by Auld Lang Syne and sealed with a kiss, my walls of resolve came crashing down as the flood of realization and denial crashed in like a Tsunami.
I sat, to my husband’s shock and surprise, sobbing, trying to explain the internal turmoil without success. All that came out were choked back gulps of words I didn’t want him to hear, allowing only the ones that I felt might be least disconcerting to him. How could I explain that my worst nightmare of him not coming home was eating me alive and the idea that this could actually be our very last New Year’s moment together? It was just too much to bear.
I blew it. So much for protecting him and not letting him see how hard this was for me. I knew it would make it harder on him and he just didn’t need that. But, Something in Jay’s eyes told me he understood, and I could sense that a part of him felt the same way, though neither dared utter a word of it out loud.
It’s a very strange feeling to have relief that someone else is thinking the same pessimistic things you are. On the one hand, it just gives weight in affirmation for the dismal thoughts and yet, the relief that came with the acknowledgment of understanding seemed to leave us both feeling as though we were stranded on a motionless sea in a raft. Thankful to be alive but knowing there weren’t many options for us.
Once I regained control, I had to apologize for myself and told him I had faith that everything would be okay and that there really is no need for the hysterics. He laughed at me, indicating his nervousness, and told me he knew exactly how I felt and then thanked me for expressing it for the both of us! Laughter. It’s funny how it really can make things better.
I know there are no guarantees in life and certainly none as far as war goes, however, we both know that putting any kind of weight in mere possibility was similar to counting your eggs before they hatch. You just never know sometimes what you’ll end up with and for that reason, we have chosen to be ignorantly optimistic.
As much as I would like to slap my “logical” side from time to time, it sometimes is the only thing that keeps me sane. I intend to remain as blind to the “what ifs” as possible for the better interest of myself and our little boy — if for nothing else, the sake of his enjoyment of life, because a life lived in fear is simply no life at all!
Jade welcomes your comments here as well as any suggestions you may have for her future posts. You may also e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous Military Mama posts, CLICK HERE.