I apologize for my extended absence. Lately things have been pretty rough and the days I have gone through have been tough pills to swallow. If anything it was more days that I survived, easy or not.
The first one was the 15th. Friday marked a year since I had last touched him. I remember that morning so vividly. Waking up in the wee hours of the morning so I could get to the airport and he could get to his inspection. I remember driving there. It was still dark so you could only see the lights of Jacksonville as we drove away to the airport. He held my hand the whole way there. I couldn't even talk. The tears rolled down my face as I stared out the window. Occasionally gazing over as he focused on the road dressed in his cammies. I remember how my heart sank when I saw the airport sign and we made the left turn off the highway. "This is it," is all I could think. We pulled up, got out of the car, and he took my suitcase out of the trunk. We looked at each other and he grabbed me as I cried harder. He gave me a kiss and let go. I remember him asking if I was okay. Before I could even answer he said "come here" and pulled me back in. He kissed me on the forehead and told me he loved me. I grabbed my suitcase and walked inside with tears pouring out of my eyes. I remember turning around and looking through the glass window to watch him drive away.
You know what was ironic about that day? I was so pissed off at my family when I got home. I was in a rotten mood after my plane landed and everyone just kept pushing me to spend time with them and "loosen up." I just cried. I remember snapping and saying, "Do you know what I did today? What if I don't see him again?" And I didn't. That was the last time I saw him. A whole entire year seems insane.
Which brings me to my next point. Yesterday was a year ago that the deployment started. I was at work so we were texting all day as they got ready to leave. I remember going out with my friends last night and getting items for my first care package. I freaked when a storm hit and my cell phone wasn't working. If I missed my last phone call I was going to be livid. I didn't get that phone call anyways because he text me as they were taking off when they found out that they wouldn't be stopping in Maine this time. Luckily at the time my brother stayed up all night with me and watched movies. No one likes a deployment day. It was the "here we go again" kinda feeling. I felt like an expert though. I had already done it once so I could surely do it again. I was ready to get it over with so that we could start our lives once he returned home.
I hate that people have to die. On Thursday I went to the funeral of someone that I knew when I was growing up. He was only 66 and left behind a wife and two daughters. He was the Fire Chief in our town for many years so he was a well known and respected man in our community. I snuck into the back of my Church because I've been a bad Catholic ever since Josh died. I haven't stepped foot in that Church for several reasons. Mostly because I'm still angry and even though it's probably wrong that is where I place most of my blame. To sit through Funerals anymore is so incredibly difficult. As I watched the family file in I was caught off guard as the husband of one of the daughters entered wearing his dress blues. He is a Marine that was in Afghanistan and made it home just in time for the funeral. That was probably about the time I was thinking it wasn't such a swell idea to put myself through another funeral. I gathered my thoughts as the Priest began. I did okay most of the time. It just broke my heart to see his wife in front of me crying over the loss of her husband. I know how incredibly difficult it was for me to sit there for Josh let alone after 43 years of marriage and two daughters. My heart broke for all of them. At the end they draped an American flag over the casket and started playing Amazing Grace. Game over. That combination does not sit well with me at all. As everyone filed out of the Church, that was the same moment I decided not to follow the procession to the cemetery.
I made my way back to my house and walked the two blocks down the main street in town where I saw this:
His casket made its way down Main Street on his favorite truck. It was escorted by several other Fire Trucks along with all of the cars in the procession. Each made its way underneath the flag one at a time. It was a tear jerker to watch. I remember that feeling.. Watching the people lined up on the streets to show their respect. It is people like this that truly make an impact and leave a lasting impression on this community.
After the procession ended I went back to my house. I was officially in a slump for the rest of the day. When I do something like that it emotionally drains me for a good 24 hours. It's different though after you go through something so traumatic you feel so much for the family that is now in that position. My thoughts and prayers are with the Misurda family.
The one amazing thing about this community is the support that you have when something like this happens. As painful as it is there is that constant reminder that you never have to do anything alone. I have to remind myself of that sometimes. I don't have to do it alone. Sometimes I want to though. It's weird. But no matter what the people that really care stand back and wait for me to come to them. For now I'm okay. I passed over the bad parts of this month so I'll keep pushing forward. I really wish September 2nd didn't feel so close.