Thursday, May 31, 2007

Picking up the pieces

Thursday afternoon. Wow. I thought I knew how I'd feel after he left, but it's different. Since Monday (the day he left), there haven't been massive crying jags, instead there's mostly normalcy interspersed with moments that break my heart in half.

Exhibit A. Mick left his dress blue uniform hanging in the closet. He will need that when he's on board the ship and has to stand duty, so I went to the Post Office yesterday like a good Navy wife - pre-filled customs form, well-packed Priority Mail box - and stood in line. When I reached the clerk, she looked at the form and asked, "You're sending him a uniform?" I explained what had happened and she reached over the counter to put her hand on mine, saying, "I'm so sorry, dear, and thank you for the sacrifice you're making." I was really surprised by that reaction (this is the U.S. Postal Service, afterall) and smiled and said, "thank you," or some such thing. It wasn't until I was walking to my car afterwards that I just started to sob. I had to run for the cover of Esme the Escape so that I wouldn't terrify the natives with my random sorrow.

Exhibit B. A telemarketer called last night. (I wouldn't have picked up an "Unknown Name" display on my phone except that Mick's calls show up that way. I've already missed one of his precious calls and I will never do so again.) I decide to actually answer her questions rather than hanging up immediately, and off we go. It's a questionnaire about grocery and drug store shopping habits and she asks what the name of my primary grocery store is and if there are others that I use, too. I answer that, since my husband is in the military, I sometimes shop at the Commissary. She asks me a bunch of questions about both stores and the whole thing takes about 10 minutes. At the very end, after asking her final question, she says, "I just want to thank you and your husband for his service to our country. I know it must be hard for you and I really appreciate your sacrifice." I hadn't even told her that he was gone and she couldn't possibly have known that I was a newlywed of six weeks who'd just sent her husband away for two years. I swallowed a huge lump in my throat, thanked her for the kind words, and ended the call. I put my head in my hands and sobbed great, gulping tears.

Who knew that the kindness of strangers would be the hardest part of this experience? (I'm even crying as I type this up - I wonder if I'm menopausal or something???)

6 comments:

JessiferSeabs said...

Crying about this doesn't make you menopausal. Shit, I'M crying reading this and I don't even know you guys. :-)

And I'll add my "thank you" to the bunch -- thank you to Mick for his service to our country, and for you for supporting him all the way!

Hang tough, cookie. I cannot even imagine. I was in a long-distance relationship for 2 years (He lived in the Netherlands), and it was... difficult... can't imagine being a newlywed of 6 weeks.

~JS

Lori said...

I just am struck by how KIND people are and how THANKFUL they are for you, Mick and other military people. I don't think you're menopausal at all; it's been a roller coaster...hang in there. We're thinking about you.

Mae said...

Wow... I've had two calls from people getting sent to Iraq, and I always thank them for their service. It's something I really, truly, deeply respect. So, yeah... add my thanks.

I don't know how military wives do it. To me you all possess a sense of strength that seems superhuman. I will remember to be less whiny and cry baby-ish the next time my hub has a two or three night trip.

I would be a terrible military wife. I'd fall to pieces every time... so give yourself credit, because it sounds like you're doing pretty darn good, considering!

Hugs...

Kat said...

My parents and I were watching my husband's submarine leave port and we could not believe the people who stopped us and asked if we had someone on board and when we said yes, we were asked to thank them for everything they were doing. It is such a nice feeling. I also have a son (and a nephew, brother-in-law, and a sister in the reserves just called back to active duty and getting sent to Kuwait for 6 to 9 months) in the Navy who just left for deployment. Big hugs to you.

Coco said...

I'm keeping you in my thoughts, honey. It does get a bit easier, but, in my experience, it actually helps to cry as much as you have to now. You WILL get through this, Mick will get through this, and you will have a long, happy life together, much deserved. Remember how much you are loved . . .

M@rla said...

Oh Denise! I am crying just reading this. Hang onto these moments, I hope they will help you if ever you feel blue.

You know, when you wrote that you were a "Navy wife" it just sounded like the most romantic, sexy thing ever. Kisses to both of you!