Ive been meaning to write this one for a while. Its the hardest thing I've ever done, I wouldn't wish this on anyone.
It started last year with the preparation. I had months to process and prepare myself, but in hindsight I am not sure you can really prepare yourself for it.
We would talk to the kids that Daddy had to go away for a while with work, that he wouldn't be home and it would just be us 3 for a while. Can you ever really prepare your kids for a deployment? They don't understand the concept of time. 7 months means nothing to them.
Then came the last week, the last family outing (which was to the circus), the last date night (which was at Dovetails), the last Monday, the last time Daddy would pick Billy up from school. The last walk with the dogs, the last dinner as a family of four. The last time Daddy would tuck the kids into bed. He held them a little longer a little tighter that night.
the last kiss goodnight. The last night Id sleep peacefully. The last night he'd sleep in his own comfy bed, in his nice comfy home. So many lasts.
I think that last week was horrible, knowing what was to come. I got to the point where I wanted to just get the awful day over and done with and just get this whole deployment thing done and dusted!
I hated watching the suitcases get packed.
I remember the drive to the airport, this was really it! in a few hours we would have to say that dreaded goodbye that we tried so hard to ignore.
I remember getting to the airport. So many families feeling this weight of sadness. So many kids about to farewell their mother or fathers, Spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends about the say goodbyes. About to have the last kiss, the last hug that nobody wanted to let go off, everyone holding their loved ones that little bit longer.
trying to put off the inevitable as long as possible.
Biting the bullet and deciding this was it we need to say goodbye now, we need to walk away. Stuff it I'm crying now because those emotions of those final minutes will stay with me forever and hurt just as much now then they did then.
Watching him hug his children for the last time and trying not to fall apart in front of them all, trying to put on a brave face because I didn't want it to be any harder than it already was for him and the kids. That last hug in those arms that feel so familiar, fighting the urge to let go and watch him walk away.
Our 3 year old not really understanding what's going on, but our 6 year old definitely understanding what's happening.
we say goodbye one last time and walk away. The kids and I walk over to the balcony and wait for daddy to come out below us into the departure area.
We wait and wait and then he finally walks out below us ( this is the part that hurt the most) our 6 year old son sees his dad and bursts into tears yelling out for Daddy. Watching my Husband trying so hard not the break down in that moment, he had to walk away and out of sight, it was to painful.
I drop to my knees and hug my Billy boy and Elsie girl and we cry together (Elsie didn't cry because she's 3 and didn't understand) Billy and I get ourselves together again and we walk back to the car.
Driving home I would cry which would start Billy of crying and vice versa.
It was then that Billy and I made our pact. I said to Billy when one of us starts to cry we have to just start laughing instead! So that's what we did all the way home.
We Laughed so hard we cried.
The first month to 6 weeks were definitely the hardest. Not having my team mate around to help with the mad nighttime rush that is homework, baths, dinner, reading, tucking in to bed ect...
still dealing with the random moments Billy or I would just start to cry. Folding and putting away the last of his laundry would even make me cry.
I slept in his t-shirts, The kids slept with a picture of daddy next to their beds.
Telling Billys teacher that's his Dad left for 7 month deployment and if he started to cry our act out of character it would be because daddy had left.
I had this horrible lingering headache that would not go away for a month. I lost my appetite, I didn't want to eat and could only bring myself to drink a smoothie. I had no motivation, I couldn't sleep.
The kids working through their emotions and adjusting to the new way of life, at least for the next 7 months anyways. Elsie asking every night "where's my daddy?"
How do you explain to a 3 year old Daddy is on the other side of the world and will be gone for a long long time.
Somehow we slowly adjusted and worked out our new normal. We still miss daddy immensely. But the tears became less and the heartache became more bearable.
I guess Deployment opened my eyes to who truly cared about our little family. The support and love from our RAAF family has been felt immensely.
From mates just turning up to mow the lawn, or invite us over for dinners to offers of taking the kids off my hands for a few hours so I could have some me time. To the whole squardron offering to come around and help me get on top of the yards.
The phone calls and texts to check in on the kids and I.
My mum and dad for helping out a lot with the kids and giving me rest. My sister for just always being there when I needed. My mum taking a week off work to look after me after surgery. The offers from my gal pals to cook us meals and just come chill out with me while I recovered from surgery.
None of your kind thoughts and kind gestures have gone un noticed. The care packages and hand written letters! YOU ARE ALL AMAZING!
Thank you for Loving me and our kids and holding us close always having our backs. You know who you are and we LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!
The FaceTime phone calls from my little adorable nephew (his momma and dadda too) always bringing a smile to our faces.
I won't lie as much as I am a positive person and try to see to good in every situation, I still had bad days. Jimmys 30th Birthday and Christmas Day were probably 2 of my hardest days. literally just sleeping the day away because I didn't want to face it knowing he wasn't here.
I allowed myself to have the bad days and I allowed my self to just cry and let it out, you always feel better after a good ugly cry. Look at the tears as the hurt leaving your body and you putting yourself back together to keep on moving foward.
We do have a countdown but I haven't updated it or looked at it. It's still sitting on 188 days till daddy's home. I feel like if I'm not constantly counting down it somehow makes it go quicker.
I have broken up the deployment with things to look forward too. Just got to get to Christmas, Then its ROCL , Then it's the home stretch, Then its Easter and he will home.
Originally he wasn't going to come home in his ROCL but he missed the kids too much so he flew home a few days before we left for the Maldives. Im glad we did that. I was worried him leaving again would be just as hard, but they both handled it like champions.
So here we are well and truly on the home stretch weeks out from his homecoming.
I don't really know how we all do it, but somehow we all just do. Its felt like it's been forever, but yet it's gone by so quickly.
I can't wait to have all the pieces of my heart back together again.
Im so proud of you my dear husband.
No matter where this job and lifestyle takes us, I will follow you and I will be your biggest supporter. forever and always!
To All My fellow defence pals You've got this, yes its hard, but you can and you will make it through. Because if I did, you will too.