One more watch. Monday morning we start tearing down Camp Cluster. That too will be a training evolution with folks looking on to make sure we do it right. It’s raining here. Hard enough that they are issuing flash flood warnings for the area. We’ll be packing away tents wet and dirty. That will mean more work for somebody down the road. Probably us.
Still no word on liberty before pushing over the horizon. People are starting to look at the cost of flights home. Everyone wants one last chance to say goodbye. One last hug, one last embrace. One last I love you, daughter. One last you’re awesome son. One last it will all be OK honey, really. I’ll see you soon. The rumors are flying about standing a watch on equipment that is locked away and safely stowed.
Part of me wonders, what the hell have I done? Part of me knows that this is what I was made for. I’m proud of what I’m doing. I’m proud of the support my family is giving me. I worry about my family. I worry about the possibility, however slight it maybe, that I’ll come home lying under a flag. At the same time, I wish for opportunities to participate in operations that are a bit more high speed, low drag. I long for the opportunity to be operational. To earn the title and reputation of an operator. Someone whose been through the fire and not only survived but had it together and performed.
I’m told that I will get to go home tomorrow or Tuesday. As I contemplate being home one last time with my family I wonder what can I say? What can I do that will give them something tangible to cling to for the next six months? What can I do that will be an acceptable replacement for my not being there in the important moments when a husband/father should be with his family? In light of the reality that I will be gone for six months everything I might do or say seems so trivial.
I am torn between the mission that I have committed myself to and the family to which I am deeply devoted. I have to guess that every military member faces this. I suspect that with time and repetition it gets easier to manage this dichotomy. Or maybe you just learn to ignore the turmoil of emotion that swirls around it. I suppose that is why the divorce rate among military service members is so high. It can’t be easy for the military spouse to understand why their loved one chooses the life they do. Hell, I’m not even sure I understand why I’ve chosen this path.