+Wednesday, November 02, 2005+
"Homecoming" is the most beautiful word in the world. The feelings it emits inside me are wonderful; it's like music to my ears. A few of the wives I've befriended during this time have reached the point where their husbands are coming home; Christy will be seeing her husband in a matter of days, Brittany's hubby will home next month, and those are just to name a few. I'm so happy for them. I've been screaming with Christy for the last month in excitement, and it's made me realize just how close I really am to Matt's homecoming. Now is the time to bear down, to suck it up for a just a little while longer. It's like the sprint at the end of a long race, and the finish line is so close I almost feel as though I can reach out and touch it.

But not just yet....

I received the following message from Matt's commander a couple days ago, and the whole email is really nice, but one part in particular (I put it in bold font), resounded over and over in my head, and I've been carrying it with me ever since.

Greetings all family members,

It has been a long 10 months, away from friends, family and loved ones. We have seen and accomplished more than we ever thought possible and have grown together as a Company through it all. Time has gone by very quickly and now we are on the home stretch. Today we are starting to send equipment home, equipment which is not critical to the mission here in Afghanistan. The elections are being called a “significant accomplishment” and the winning elected officials will be announced next month. Our mission was to support the election process, we did this to the best of our abilities, and now we will watch the process of Afghanistan becoming a recognized and stable country which will develop an infrastructure for the people. We are not on easy street as of yet, the fall season is now in the air and the temperature is dropping. All of the ground elements we support around the southern area of operation will need supplies to carry them through the winter and it will be up to us to deliver the goods. We will be flying and maintaining our operations until we pass the flag to the next unit. We currently have been tasked to support the relief operations in northern Pakistan, this is again shows the flexibility of both the US Army and the National Guard to not only fight a war, but then in mid stream, turn and redirect mission support to humanitarian relief efforts within 12 hours. Once the order was given, we were in Pakistan flying food water and medical supplies to the hardest hit regions of the country. It is all part of the job description and we are proud to be a part of it. The 1SG and I would like to thank all of the people who came to show their support to not only the Company, but to the families and communities of the soldiers who lost there [sic] lives on Mustang 22. We still think of the good times we had and remember them for who they were. It is painful experience; however they were good men and did the job with honor and commitment. We will continue this fight, and will complete this mission to honor their memory and sacrifice to duty. Soldiers who are going on leave come back with news and information we all want to know. What has changed back home? Who did you see? What did you do? Everyone is anxious to know, and happy they are back in country with the rest of us, it is a bonding of friends. Keep the letters coming and the stay the course, we will be home soon.

They're starting to send equipment home. To a regular joe, that might not seem like much, but to me, it's huge: it's the beginning of the end. It's not my turn to breathe a sigh of relief yet, but in some ways it's so surreal to take into consideration just how close I really am to Matt coming home. I can remember so vividly how I felt on Day One, January 5, and it seems like aeons ago. At the beginning of a long, unwanted journey, the end seems really far away. I was rolling my eyes and writhing in agony and crying, "Really? Why?" And now, I can see that elusive end. I bought 2006 calendars for the office the other day, and it was like a small milemarker. It really is almost 2006. It really is only a few months till my baby will be home to me. This is it - the homestretch! Finally!!

wishing matt was here @ 11:48 AM+

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