The internet is a wonderful thing. Before I met MacGyver, I dated a guy whose brother was in the Navy. When Desert Storm hit, he shipped off and left behind a wife, a 4 year old son, and a newborn baby girl. There really wasn't internet access then. Because of what he did, letters were rare and phone calls a miracle. He was gone for 6 months I believe. And for his wife, I'm sure those 6 months were the longest 6 months of her life.
When my Grampa shipped off to the South Pacific during WWII, letters and telegrams were incredibly rare. I don't know how long my Grampa was gone for but I am sure it was a long time and probably the longest months or years of my Grama's life.
This deployment...this WAR...is different in terms of the family's deployment experience. We have e-mail. We have Instant Messenger. We have webcams. We have Video Teleconferences. What a blessing it is to speak with my husband on an almost daily basis?? My children can see him - actually SEE him - and talk to him on the computer. No standing in 3 hour-long lines to use the phone. No 20 cents a minute calling cards. MacGyver, being the techno-stud that he IS, is in charge of setting up internet access for the people in his unit so that they can access the internet in their housing units. So, not only can we see and talk to him, he can see and talk to us in the privacy of his own CHU (containerized housing unit).
And then there is the saying, "So close and yet, so far."
Sometimes I feel like there is a cruel joke being played out. He's <-----> that close to us. Yet he's thousands of miles away. I can see him. I can hear him. I can talk to him. All wonderful blessings and I am so incredibly greatful for all of them.
(there's always a "but", isn't there?) I can't hold him. I can't feel his arms around me. I can't smell him (given the 120*F heat, this might be a good thing). I can't bring him a beer at the end of a crappy day. I can't kiss him or touch him or watch him hold my children. I can't feel him in bed next to me when the panic attacks set in or a bad dream dares to set foot in my mind. I can't run to him when I have had a crappy day (see post below) and feel the comfort in his arms.
All the other times that he has left, there was an emptiness right below my sternum until he got back. Like a piece of me - an integral piece - was missing. That emptiness is still there but it is also accompanied by a weight that I cannot seem to shake. Even on my best days, it plagues me. Almost like there is a large rock sitting on my chest, trying to cave in that empty space that waits for him.
So I stay up late and wake up early in the hopes of catching him on line. The possibility of seeing his face and chit-chatting with him on-line is enough to see me through the bleary afternoons due to lack of sleep. I pack care packages and hope that he can feel our love for him over thousands and thousands of miles. I show my children the pictures I have of him on the computer and we talk about how far away Iraq is. We talk about why Daddy is there and when he will be home. We talk about all of the wonderful, mundane things we plan to do while he is "home on vacation" (R&R). We plan and plan and plan. Because it keeps us sane until he logs on again.
And then we go back to having him "so close and yet, so far" away.
***cross-posted at SpouseBUZZ