The Day He Left

Its been 26 days now and I'm finally beginning to feel like I can talk about it. The day he left has to go down as one of the worst days of my life.

I never realized until the day came that they never actually show it... You see scenes of returning GIs all the time, you've got a mental picture of a hanger or an auditorium filled with people in your mind... And I suppose that's how I envisioned him leaving. Being surrounded by other grieving loved ones, some sort of ceremony... Maybe even seeing them onto a plane? I don't know exactly what I had in mind but whatever it was it wasn't this.

The first odd thing for me was that he was leaving at night. In someways I am eternally greatful... We got to lay in bed together for hours because of his late leave time, and those are the kind of moments I can't appreciate enough now that he's gone. But we also had to DO things that day... and I think for me that was something of a constant mind

It was a busy and at often times mundane day... In a way that just made me want to scream! We checked out of our apartment, we cancelled utility bills, we dropped off his car on base. And all the while I was having to CONSTANTLY do battle with myself. I was CONSTANTLY angry that we were wasting some of our last hours together filling out paperwork on post, CONSTANTLY furious that I was checking things off the to do list. Because at the end of the list, that's it he's gone.

When it finally came time to drop him off I could barely hold it together. It took every ounce of will I had to drive him on post. I could almost hear my conscience screaming, "STOP THE CAR YOU IDIOT!! WHY ARE YOU LETTING THIS HAPPEN?!" In the end, I had to get out and let him drive.

And then when we arrived probably the biggest mind of all was that there was on ceremony. No closing statement, no formal farewell. The boys were just milling around, some sitting in cars talking to their wives in low voices, some sitting in the office, absentmindedly guarding their things until something happened. And there were girlfriends with them... Just chilling? This was the craziest part for me, maybe everyone else who was losing their **** was in the cars but how the hell could you just be lounging around a conference table?

So then we had to decide, how long do you draw this out? Would it be better to get on the road while there's still a few hours of driving you could get in? Idk this is too long but the point is the whole thing sucked. I've never felt more powerless, more unfulfilled, and I've never been as emotionally overwhelmed as I was that night. And even now, as we've settled into a deployment routine and we're beginning to establish a new "normal" I can't help thinking back to how devastated I was that night. Anyone else have a hard time with deployment goodbyes?
tjschira tjschira
1 Response Dec 9, 2012

My girlfriend and I said our goodbyes in my apartment....I've never seen someone so stoic with tears in their eyes. I felt HORRIBLE. How in the hell does someone let the love of their life go into the middle of a warzone?? But I had to let that go, I had to let HER go and remember the reason she's going and all the honor that holds. That feeling hasn't left though. It's just strange to me that I would have that I could control the I would be at fault for "letting" her go? I guess it's just us wanting to protect them, ya know? And knowing there's nothing we can do but send letters and care packages. Ugh - I'm ready for her to be home and not so much for my sake but for hers. It's like the closer home gets the further away it feels to her.

Your boyfriend's been deployed before? I've been looking for someone to talk to...this is my first deployment experience - I have so many questions! Thank you for this post - it helps knowing I'm not alone in this.