What a day!

After a few short hours of sleep we headed out to the airport again, this time to send Brooks back overseas. Just two weeks ago I’d been sick to my stomach at the thought of seeing Brooks again. This morning my heart was the one that was suffering, at the thought of what awaited it.

Heartbreak is such a physically painful thing. It can be an easy thing to hide. Busyness keeps it at bay. Love amplifies it. As I sat in that airport terminal joking with the boys, a smile plastered on my face, I felt sick to my stomach yet again. I wanted time to slow down and yet it seemed to be in such a rush this morning. All too soon we were told it was time to board the plane, and I was still okay with that. I figured I’d allow myself a good ol’ cry at night and be over it.

That was wishful thinking on all counts.

As the boys held each other for the last time for a few months I realized that their faces, nestled on each other’s shoulders, were mirror images of each other. The pain etched upon them was too much for me to bear, and my eyes instantly welled up with tears. Because my pain and grief can be an easy thing to manage but knowing my boys are suffering too is just too much, too much.

What didi I tell Brooks as I took my turn saying goodbye? I told him I loved him, that I would miss him. Several times. I made him promise to be careful, to take care of himself. But what I wanted to say was that my heart was breaking in two. That I didn’t think I could do THIS again. That I was too weak, too sad, too anguished. That I was tired of being strong and together. That I needed him, really and truly needed him. That I didn’t want him to go, to stay.

But you can’t say that. Because even if my heart is breaking, painfully so, I will do THIS again. I have no choice, and the least I can do for Brooks is to bear this with dignity and grace. And even though at this very moment I am incredibly sad and anguished and desperately borrowing strength from friends and family I will hold it together as long as needed. And as much as I need Brooks right here, right now, I’m comforted by the fact that he will be home shortly, if only I’ll take it day by day.

Through all this I am incredibly encouraged by Little B’s strength and resilience. After a big ol’ cry at the airport he quickly went back to our “normal” routine. He’s been giving me extra hugs and kisses and reminding me to stay busy, especially if he hears me sniffling or crying.

Today I’ll be sad. Tomorrow I’ll muster all my strength and move on. I can’t dwell on the pain of today because if I do it will certainly taint and color everything in it’s path. And that won’t honor Brooks’s sacrifice in any way, shape, or form.

As my sadness overwhelmed me at one moment today I desperately searched the house for something tangible of Brooks’s, anything I could touch and smell, that would somehow ease my sadness. And of course crazy OCD person that I am most of the laundry is done and I feared for a moment all of Brooks’s stuff would be washed. Under all the towels and sheets I pulled this morning to wash I found Brooks’s shirt from yesterday. His scent still lingers on it and surprisingly made me sadder for a few moments. Tonight I’ll be sure to place it next to me on my bed, my cell phone close by, my heart in my throat  as we slowly make our way through another first day apart.

As always, life remains sweet, regardless of the circumstances. It may be harder to type that today, but it still holds true.