The Goodbye After the Goodbye

27 Jun

A little over 3 months ago, a friend of mine and I set out to carry out a goal of her’s.  For her senior thesis, she was embarking on the challenging task of honoring those serving overseas and their families – to show the many levels of emotions before and during a deployment from both Service Member and family left behind.  I believe she accomplished this and more…  Dana Marie, thank you for the opportunity to help you in your project.  In turn, thank you for helping me through this phase of my life without ever knowing it.

The Absence - On more than one level.

Looking at this picture is hard for me.  But frankly, I am thankful to have this picture.  This picture portrays how I feel now, in this moment.  The internal emotional war is at play still today – and on more than one level now.  Looking at this picture, I learn about myself. 

I will always be proud of this man for his accomplishments and his decision to put his life on hold to fight for his country’s freedom.  That will never change.  Not today, not tomorrow, not when he safely returns home to the states.  But what I do see changing, even when I look at this picture now, is me.  I see the pain and sadness in this picture; something that isn’t me.  I see the love felt, and the love that was lost.  I see a hopelessly hopeful person, who approaches her life with intense desire to accomplish what she wants.  I see that starting to break in this picture, which is not who I am. 

Before now, I thought that the goodbye before the goodbye was the hardest.  The continual process of saying goodbye to a service member before you physically kiss goodbye at the actual deployment.  The process of distancing yourselves in preparation of the departure and long year apart.  But now I understand that it is the goodbye after that goodbye.  The one that comes with no closure, explanation or warning.  But through that difficult time comes a sense of self-awareness.  A sense of empowerment that I feel looking at the road ahead of me.  Sometimes the unknown is exciting, and a welcomed changed. 

It is time to leave the distance between us to grow stronger.  To the absence becoming permanent.  Goodbye after the goodbye.


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