The night he left for Iraq...


You'll find most military wives and moms are pretty stoic - on the outside.  While Gil was deployed, people said, "I don't know how you do it!"  I thought I would share what I was feeling inside.  I wrote this the night Gil left for Iraq.

"You can capture someone's smile in a picture.  You can record someone's laugh or gentle voice on a tape recorder.  You can save their mannerisms on a video.  You can, even for a while, retain their personal scent on a t-shirt.  But touch, touch is something that is exclusively in the present.

Gil left for Iraq today.  Ashley and I compared pictures, laughing, ooo-ing and ahhh-ing.  We watched the videos of the guys hanging out playing "hat frisbee", playing imaginary dice for a found pair of sunglasses or most special of all, Gil, singing to Ashley - well, lip-syncing.  I'm wearing one of Gil's t-shirts as I write this, but his hug, the feel of my arms holding on to my oldest son, I can only find it in my memory.  But I can feel it in the muscles in my arms that gripped him so tight.  And the muscles in my fingers that pressed into his back.  And I can feel it inside of me in the pain that he's gone to Iraq.  But you can't capture the touch.  I can't feel him.  But I can only hope that he can feel it as I felt it and remember how much I love him.  That when I told him I loved him, he heard all the other things:  that I'm so proud of him, proud that he's courageous and brave, that he's gentle and kind, that he's considerate and loving, that he's a silly and romantic fool with Ashley, that he commands respect from his men, that he is respected by so many, that he's my son and you can love someone so much that it hurts.  I hope he heard what I really said.  I believe he did.  

Seven months.  I can do this because he can.  I am strong because he is.  I will sometime cry because I need to catch my breath so I can be strong again.  I know that sometimes I'll be broad sided by emotion.  Oh, I hate that.  But there it is, like something that's alive that gets away from you when you're not paying attention.  But in the end, it's fine, because it's real."