Jacksonville, North Carolina.
I just got home a few hours ago from there and I'm in one hell of a funk. I had a good trip. It was so nice to be surrounded by the people who understand the most. I finally got to see his best friends (I'll blog about homecoming as soon as I get the pictures), I got to meet Ashleigh and Rachel, and spend time with my friends.
I can't say I was bored because I always had something to do and it was nice to just be able to relax for the week. I laughed which was good. And I drank- a lot. But that's okay. I allowed myself because you know what? It was a rough week. I'm entitled to a few strong ones.
So today I had a meltdown in my car (this is the whole point of this post btw). As I was driving away from the barracks, back through the main gate, and out onto the highway, I started to cry. In that moment something hit me. I felt like driving away was me leaving this part of my life behind. Lejeune, Jacksonville, the Corps, the end of this deployment. All of it.
See. When the guys were still deployed, I felt like I could still cling to everything. To not accept what had happened. We just kept pushing through because all along the goal was to get to February. Now that they are home, there is no running. I see everyone's profile pictures changing to homecoming ones and how happy they are. IT'S SO WEIRD. Nothing has changed for me at all this past week. I'm with me, myself, and I. Driving away really is leaving it behind. It's like closing a book.
Being in Jacksonville was hard. Driving around seeing the places we had gone and all the reasons why I had ever gone to that town several times before. I remembered where we sat in restaurants and our stupid humor that only the two of us would understand. Even though I lived here, our life was there for the past 3.5 years.
I was driving to a friends house and I drove by the French Creek Ghetto. I could see where we stood 2 years earlier and got the homecoming we wanted to have this time, too. I could see you standing places. I could feel you around me.
I like being there. I like being close to your friends. I like being close to other widows. I like being close to my marine family. Being there is constant reminders and even though some are painful, it's a comfort. One that most people would never understand.
So when people start asking me why I make random trips to (what most people refer to as a shit hole town) Jacksonville, there is your answer.