You know its coming and even though you’ve gone it a million times before, it still leaves you feeling empty. It leaves you feeling hollow and alone, even if you’d just had the most amazing time with him. And every time they leave you have that moment, that second, where you really consider what it’s doing to you. To them. To the relationship. Instead of seeing a light at the end of this dark, tiring tunnel, you see a small flicker and sometimes, in these moments, it almost goes out completely. Almost.
By now, coming into our third year of distance, this May, I have a routine down pat. Once he leaves, I walk back into my room with my heart still beating fast from that last kiss, that last hug, those last few touches and I curl up in bed. It still smells like him and I wrap myself in the blankets, with his hoodie on, and I fall asleep for a few hours. He usually gives me a text when he’s arrived home, just so I know he’s okay. We’ll talk for a little bit before one of us falls asleep. And then I get up the next day and go about my business, wishing I could come home to him.
Saying goodbye is never easy. And there have been, there are times, that we have both really thought about what we are doing. Moving to Darwin was a decision I made to close the distance, but even then, we still have a car ride and fuel prices to pay before we can make the trip to see each other.
One day it will be over. One day he will come home to me, every single night. One day I will be able to wake up to him every single morning and not have to worry about when he is leaving again. One day we will have a place of our own.
One day, we will look back and say “we’ve made it.”
I was 20 minutes late. As I flew up the stairs that led into the house, I slammed into my mum.
“Someone’s in a hurry”
“I’m late!” I hollered as I hurried down the hallway, “I’m 20 minutes late!”
I don’t think I’ve ever got dressed, put my make up on and got my hair done that quick. Ever. The things he makes me do.
It was a beautiful night. We haven’t had a dinner date, or any date really, for so long. It was all smiles and laughter. Lots of cuddles and kisses. Dinner was amazing and we ate so much food I almost had to roll out of the restaurant. He took me to Mt Cootha, which is a hill that overlooks the city. And on a clear night, you can see all the city lights. You can see all the planes flying into the airport and all the cars speeding along the road. From that mountain top, everything looks tiny. Everything looks like you could pick it up and play with them. And then it was back to my mums place, where I’m staying, for a few movies.
I think one of the hardest things to do as a military spouse, or even someone whos at distance to their loved one for the duration of their relationship, is keeping everything under control at home.
And when things spiral out of control, keeping it together so you don’t worry and distract them. There have been multiple times that I have replied, “Everything is good here baby. I’m fine.” While sobbing. And it’s not because I haven’t wanted to tell him, or that we don’t have a open relationship. No, it’s because he cannot have distractions at certain times in his job. Its because he cannot be worrying about me just before a major test or before a deployment. It’s because I love him that I do this. And then, when he’s home with me, or when I feel that he can hold everything together while I fall apart, that I tell him. Most of the time I glaze over the gory details, and most of the time it comes up in conversation when I have got myself through it.
It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Its extremely hard to take a deep breath and to steady yourself before taking their call, demanding yourself not to cry when you hear their voice. Its even harder to “lie” and reassure them that everything is perfectly fine and you’re “never better” when really all you want to do is collapse in their arms and sob. There have been so may heart wrenching moments, and he will never know how much it’s hurt to not have him here when I’ve needed him the most.
Right now, as I text him, my best friend (and roommate) has just called me up in hysterics because she almost 100% sure she’s pregnant. Earlier today I had about 6 blood tests and a hour in the hospital to check a few things. And tomorrow I have a training/test day to become a manager at my work. These are things I wont tell him until the times right, until he needs to know.
And it’s not because he doesn’t want to know or because he doesn’t want to be there for me. It’s because I know he’d do anything to make it all better and he can’t, and that hurts him. Its because he would want to be there while I was having those tests done, or while I was getting the results back, but he can’t. And it’s because he’d want to physically hold me and support me while I support my friend but again, he can’t and it tears him apart.
The bond a military spouse has for service member runs deeper than just love or distance. The lengths we all go do to protect them while they’re away, to protect some of their mental and emotional health, is amazing.
I just never thought military life could be so hard … I never imagined how it would feel to feel your heart chip but having to hold it together.
Military life is extremely tiring, heart breaking and frustration but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Call me crazy, but this is the man I love. And for him, I am willing to do almost anything.