I know how Jericho felt. Joshua marching his Army’s around it’s walls every day blowing those horns like God told him.
I know how Jericho felt.
For a few weeks now, I’ve able to move and be fine with the fact that my husband is in a war zone and may never return. I’ve been able to not watch the news (I never watched it anyone. I’m too sensitive of a person to watch it objectively.) and have been avoiding the internet articles about the war as best I can.
I slept in the bed for the first time since he left, last night. For weeks I’ve been sleeping on either the couch or an air mattress in the bedroom. (Notice the articles, “the bed”, “the bedroom”, I can’t even call it ours anymore without crying.) Mind you the lower half of the bed is covered in clothes and clean sheets, and there is no actually sheet on the mattress, I still curled up horizontally across the bed while snuggling my laptop on a tray table. The ambient light keeps me from leaving a light on all night, which I will because at 27 and 3/4, I’m not afraid to say that I’m afraid of the dark. I don’t like it. I just don’t.
I woke up this morning unsure of how I felt. I popped open my email and saw an invite to a coffee. That was the first crack. A coffee. Something the wives put together every month. Something in the year we’ve been here, I have never gone to. Darling Husband says he’d watch the kids if I would tell him when they are, but they always seem to be on a date when he is away for training, so the invite is refused, the email is deleted, we’ll do it again next month. Seeing that invite was just a reminder that he’s not here. That even if I wanted to go, I couldn’t. At time I need to be around people because he’s not here, I can’t be around people because he’s not here. It’s the most hateful “catch 22”.
When loading care packages into the car this morning, I wanted to hate him for how heavy it was. He packed it himself before he left. To be honest, I wasn’t paying much attention and have no idea what is in it other than a backpack and a speaker. It weighs more than our son according the the scale at the post office. The second crack. I really could have used his help lifting that package off the floor and getting it into the car. Never mind how I was supposed to get it, a second smaller package, and a growing toddler (Is he a toddler at three?) out of the car and into the post office. Or the fact that it’s cold, wet, rainy, and I’m in a pair of shorts he convinced me to buy. It all just reminded me that he isn’t here to help me. He can’t be here when I need him. He can’t hug me and tell me “it’s gonna be okay” when I’ve had a bad day. He can’t say, “I’ve got the kids, you go take a bubble bath.” He can’t say it because he isn’t here. It’s up to me to do everything and do it stoically.
Most days, I try to walk Sissy to school, but on days like today, cold, wet, rainy and with a collective 37lbs of care packages, we drive. I still drop her off at the walker entrance though. Walking her up to the cross walk, the crossing guard “Ms. P” is back. She was out for several days near the beginning of the school year having surgery to remove cancer. She’s back now and having gotten to know our family over the last year, she asks how we’re doing. She knows of my husband’s deployment and is always so kind to us. Crack number three. “How we doing this morning?” That’s really all it takes to remind me that I’m doing better than every one expects and makes me wonder when it will happen. When will the walls come down? Sooner than I thought this morning, that’s for sure.
Arriving at the post office was an adventure all it’s own. I got the sit-n-stand stroller out of the truck. Loading first the smaller package on the standing seat and then the larger package across the frame on the back of the stroller. I put Little Brother into the front seat and strap him in. From the back of the stroller, I couldn’t even see LB. Struggling to push the stroller up to the ramp near the building, I can already feel it coming. The fourth crack in my walls. Once inside, I was overwhelmed by the task at hand. I don’t even know what a customs form looks like, let alone how to fill one out. Crack five. I’m lost and helpless. I push the stroller up to the counter when our turn comes up and can barely ask the man what I need help with. He hands me two forms, one for each box, and vaguely informed me on how to fill it out. I go back to the desk he indicated and began to work out the small boxes on the forms and what information goes where.
At this point, I feel the panic attack coming and I burst into tears. I don’t understand what he told me about the address I’m sending it too. “Put it on the form, line by line” What does that mean? Where does his troop name go? What about his rank? Do I put the name of the FOB he’s located and would that go as part of the address, or is that technically the city? Where does the “APO” information go? Sixth Crack. I’m crying, in the middle of the post office because of a customs form.
After visible shaking for a few minutes and trying to regain control over myself (something I generally fail at… EPICALLY!), I get back in line with my loot. It must have been a sight to see for those who weren’t inside my bubble. Crack seven came when the post office attendant, a very understanding Army wife(retired), tried to help. Together we messed up one form and we had to do the entire thing again. I’m useless. I’m no good with things like this. I’m just not.
I’m home now and seriously can’t stop crying. My heart is breaking. Seven cracks, that’s all it took to bring down the walls I had so carefully constructed in my life. Seven innocent events brought together to remind me that I really am alone. That I could be a widow before my next birthday. That I just want to talk to my husband. I want to hold him and hug him and kiss him and I want my walls back.
I now know how Jericho felt.