+Thursday, June 30, 2005+
Another month down; another notch in the countdown to an undetermined (and to me, therefore, elusive) date, though I can't entirely deny that the year is moving along at a good pace. On July 5, Matt will have been away from home for 6 months, and though there's still about 8 to go after that, I no longer feel quite as devastated as I did, well, 6 months ago! Four months of his tour in Afghanistan are behind us; the depression we felt during his time at Ft. Sill is nothing more than a threadbare memory.

Christy made a post the other day about reaching the one year mark in her husband's deployment, and it brought tears to my eyes to read from her perspective (and from her husband's) about how much they've changed and grown in the last year. There's nothing else in the world quite like a deployment. Nothing can compare to coming home to a house that's too quiet and too empty, sleepless and worryful nights, the lump in the throat and knot in the stomach that accompany news stories that ring a little too close for comfort, the excitement of a ringing phone and the disappointment of a silent one.

But on the other hand, there's no comparison to the good things I've taken away from the last 6 months - the strength I've found within me to pull through times that aren't just hard but borderline impossible, the responsibilities I've had to add to my burden in Matt's absence and the tact with which I've come to handle those responsibilities; I've made new friends and lost old ones and learned so much about myself already it's only enabled my love for Matt to grow. I cry often, but not nearly as much as I used to, and there are actually times when everything about this deployment feels so....natural. I often wonder how different things would be if Matt hadn't gone overseas, where the course of the year would've taken us if we hadn't been separated. There's a reason for everything though; God has a greater plan for all of us, and I haven't yet fully come to a decision on whether or not the deployment is "worth it." Would I change it? I don't know. Ask me in 8 months.

I remember so vividly taking Matt to the base on January 5, how sad we were to have to spend such a long time apart (at the time we thought it was 18 months), but the most dominant emotion was fear, the fear of not knowing what the next months would hold, the fear of not being able to say everything would be okay as a fact. There was no bliss in this ignorance. I feel like an old pro now; I want to tell the girl from 6 months ago that everything will be okay, that she'll find strength and independence in herself that she never knew she possessed, that she'll just glow with pride at the opporunity to talk about her fiance, that though the house is empty and she'll experience the unfamiliar tug of deep loneliness, she'll never feel empty on the inside because though He is on the opposite side of the world, theirs truly is an unbreakable love of the deepest kind. She watched the bus drive away on that freezing cold January morning, felt the painful twist of devastation, and she cried because it seemed unbelievable that time could possibly move fast enough to get her love back to her.

Yet here we are, and it amazes me how fast these 6 months have gone by. There isn't a day I don't miss Matt and not a second I don't think about him, but I've learned that to dwell on the bad is to submit myself to an emotional torture no one should ever have to feel. Imagine how tough these 14-some months would be if the whole of them was devoted to misery. I can remember going home that morning after dropping him off at the base and literally feeling like the weight of the world was crushing me. I made my first "video letter" that morning, and of all the ones I've sent, that is the one I'd most like to see when Matt returns, to watch on the last day of the deployment my emotions on the first; a person's instinct to persevere is an amazing thing, and as much as I wanted nothing more than to rot away under the security of my comforter for the duration of the deloyment, I did not. I could not.

Next spring seems so close yet so far, but I know the 8 months in front of me will slip away like the last 6 did. I would've smirked 6 months ago at the person who assured me that it'll go by fast; half a year seemed like an eternity, but in reality, it's nothing: the end of winter, the beginning of summer, the snap of a finger. In some ways, I've enjoyed the time I've had to myself, the time I've had to get to know new people whom I never would've given a second thought before, the time I've had to devote to school, to "apply myself" like I always failed to do my first years of college, to quit being so helpless and start being more helpful. True, there are some days where I still feel as though I'm being crushed by the magnitude of a deployment, but most days, life is okay. I love Matt and somewhere on the otherside of the world, he loves me too.

wishing matt was here @ 6:23 PM+

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