Continued from last week…
I knew I needed to pull it together on the evening before he left. We focused our conversation on my plans, his plans, our plans: my trip to visit him in Spain (yes, I had already booked a flight), his search for housing, and our hopes for the holidays. Talking about the future made it easier to avoid the millions of emotions that were running through my mind at that moment.
After dinner, we went home — and when I awoke, it was Sept. 24: departure day. Right now a lot of you are probably thinking to yourselves: “This chick doesn’t have a clue; try a deployment to a war zone. Spain is the land of sangria, flamenco, and siesta.” If you are thinking that, you are 100 percent right: I didn’t have a clue, and I feel fortunate that I still haven’t needed to get that clue. Nonetheless, life was changing for me.
I brought my dog, Amos, with me when I dropped him off at the airport. Amos was going to be my unofficial emotional support dog — a perfect role for my Eeyore-like, lazy, lovable, oversized beagle mutt. “See you later,” we said to each other — and off he went. In my desperate search for affirmation that things were going to be OK, I remembered his layover was in Shannon, Ireland — definitely a sign, right?
I gave myself one day to cry — and boy, I really made the most of it. I ugly-cried. You know the crying when your face contorts, you get really red in the face, and you occasionally snort when gasping for air between sobs? I spent a good three hours doing that with my unofficial emotional support dog and a glass (read: bottle) of wine; then I fell asleep. I promised myself that when I woke up, I would give myself a shake, get dressed in my favorite outfit, smile (even if it was fake), and go to work.
Work and friends were my medicine. Thank God for my friends. I have fantastic friends — yes, I am bragging. My friends were my rocks (is it possible to have multiple proverbial rocks? I think so). I packed my calendar with happy hours, brunches, lunches, parties, gym sessions. I was busy, and it helped.
Weekend mornings (for me; late afternoons for him) were spent on Skype. We would spend at least one hour on Saturday and Sunday catching up. I would talk about work, friends, and family; he would talk about his new job, the people he had met, the beaches, and (complain) about the Spanish meal hours. Things were working and it wasn’t unbearable. The countdown was on for my trip to Spain, and I began to realize that I could do this.
To be continued next week …