Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Elephant On My Chest

The last few days, I've found my emotions full to the brim and nearly spilling over. I am weighed down by them. Just when I think I have things under control, the giant elephant of emotions flops down on my chest again and I can barely breathe.

So much has happened since I last blogged back in August of last year. My husband had been gone to war for a little over a month. I was getting adjusted to living with my parents, my kid going to kindergarten, and being pregnant. The months sort of flew by. I am incredibly thankful for that. It seemed there was something to look forward to each month, which kept my mind off the fact that my husband was a million miles away and I had no clue when I'd see him again. With the passing of time came November, Abigail turned six and our sweet Charlotte was born. The anxiety I felt then was huge. How was I going to go through a c-section without my husband physically there to hold my hand? I had a lot of "what ifs" that ran through my mind the last few days leading up to her birth. Thankfully, technology, saved the day and with my mother by my side holding my iPad, I got to look into my handsome husband's face, on the other side of the world, while my doctor and her team, took care of Charlotte. Being able to see and talk to him, calmed me greater than any of the medication they pumped into my IV.

After a few days in the hospital, it was Thanksgiving day and time to bring Charlotte home. But really, it wasn't her home. Our home was sitting empty in Louisiana. I am so thankful for my parent's and all they have done for me during this deployment. Being there for us leading up to and after Charlotte's birth is something I'll never be able to repay. We celebrated Thanksgiving and then looked forward to Christmas. In the month between Charlotte's birth and Christmas, I experienced some health issues. None of them super major but they left me feeling like I'd never be the same again. We traveled to Georgia for Christmas and while it was a joy to be with my extended family, I never felt more alone than I did on Christmas day.

I held it together most days. There was the occasional day that my emotions would sneak up on me, leaving me in tears, with no explanation other than, I was pregnant and I missed my husband. I didn't break down during the birth of my daughter or the days afterward. I kept my mind on her and what she needed but Christmas day wore me down and knocked me out. That morning we were able to Skype with Ryan but instead of it bringing me joy, it made the pain I kept pushed down even more real. All of the emotions and realities of what we were going through came to the surface. I was miserable. I tried to control it the best I could during the call because I knew it wasn't fair to him for me to break down and fall apart but once the call was over, I did. I never could muster much enthusiasm for the rest of the day.

Once Christmas was over and we were back in Florida, time sped up again. Plans began to be made for the girls and I to return to Louisiana. Deployment was going to be over soon. Sooner than I'd anticipated. Thankful that my husband would be returning soon but sad to leave behind my parent's and my support system, we loaded up a u-haul with the things we had brought with us and the things we had accumulated over the past 8 months and made our way back to Fort Polk. But not on the day we had planned. The freak ice storm the day before left I-10 closed for more than 24 hours. But soon we were on the road and on the way home. Because of our delay, my parent's were unable to stay and help us get settled. My dad helped me unload the u-haul while my mom kept the girls occupied. The next morning, after breakfast and grocery shopping, they were on their way back to Florida and I once again found myself alone. Alone, with not one but two children. Solely responsible for their well-being. I had much to do to get my house in order so I focused on that and willed the tears to stay put. A day or so later, I had one of my health issues reoccur sending me to the emergency room, with two kids, alone. I struggled greatly with my emotions. But my mom reminded me that I am strong and that God is still in control. So I forged ahead taking care of the things that needed to be done.

We've been back nearly a month now and things have not been easy. Actually, it seems like it's one thing after another that leaves me feeling broken, run down, tired, anxious, and lonely. I am so amazed at the military wives who have done it all alone the entire time. You, my friends, are some seriously strong and courageous people! You deserve a medal! I am in awe of you. Because, if you've felt like this these last 8 months then I don't know how you are holding it all together. I feel on the verge of breaking down at least twice a day. That's where the elephant comes in. I know my husband is coming home soon. There is nothing else to look forward to, other than that, and the anticipation of it feels like it might kill me. I'm not kidding. My chest is tight, tears are constantly in the corners of my eyes. I feel anxious, nervous, excited all at once. I just wish he could be home now because even though I know it's close it still feels like it's never really going to happen.

I know you mean well and I thank you for your words but saying, "it's almost over. Hang in there. You can do this," actually does not help. Because until you've actually walked in my shoes, you don't know how I feel and telling me things that I already know only makes it feel worse. I'm sorry if that seems mean or cruel but I need you to know. And yes, we chose this life, we knew deployment would be a part of our journey, but saying that doesn't help either. You don't really have to say anything just pray for me. I'm only keeping it together by the grace of God and He's the only one who can calm my heart and steady my emotions. Just because we chose this journey doesn't mean I'm not ready for this part to be over. Part of me is missing and I won't feel whole until I have him back, safe, in my arms again!

Just typing it all out has relieved some of the weight of my emotions. Thank you for listening. Please pray for me, our girls, and my husbands safe return. Love to you all!

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