Saying goodbye was so hard. I don't even know how to describe it. It was like ... not being able to breathe. I think that's the best way I CAN describe it. Like having something ripped away from my body. Like something very, very wrong.
And all the small talk and retail therapy with my MIL afterwards didn't even hit the surface. I went home, curled up on the couch, invited Oscar to curl up on the couch with me (it only took a couple of hours for me to break all of our house rules for the dog...), and cried. The beginning of a deployment is a terrible feeling - I know that a lot of you can relate. It just feels so ... so vast, so never-ending. So damn long. And I felt so damn empty.
But now, one year later, all of that seems like a distant memory. As I sit here, with my husband safe and sound beside me, I sometimes wonder if this year even happened. It didn't take long after his return for me to feel like he had never left my side. I know I didn't imagine it - I certainly have the muscle knots and frowny wrinkles to prove it. I still remember what it felt like to get in bed that night ... wondering how long it would take me to get used to an empty bed. Tonight, I will curl up a little closer, hug a little tighter, kiss a little longer. And I will be so thankful.