There is a new tv show on one of the cable channels that highlights the homecomings of military personnel, showing the gut-wrenching experience of the return from deployment.
This show began last night, but I did not, and can not watch it. It is all I can do to bear through the commercials for it.
I understand the premise…showing the emotion, the joy, the touching moments….
But every time I see one of those homecomings, it brings on an overwhelming and almost instant feeling of extreme weariness inside of me.
It is an almost visceral response.
Thoughts race through my mind, one of the strongest being, "not again."
Not my family being ripped apart, again.
Not my children crying as we drive away from dropping him off to catch a plane for a year, again.
Not another year of sleeping alone, again.
And not another home coming, where I see my children’s hearts ripped out and put back in…again.
You would think that the homecomings are joyful and wonderful, and don’t get me wrong, because they are.
But they are even harder and more emotional than the "goodbyes."
I know that might seem like a hard concept to understand. But, when you are saying "goodbye" ….you have already geared yourself up to be strong. You put those feelings away in a trunk, and don’t even acknowledge them.
You don’t even realize that you have been emotionally holding your breath for the past year.
….until the homecoming.
That’s when you cry. That’s when you can breathe again. That is when "it is over" and you can allow yourself to feel again, and it is painful.
It is kind of like when you cut your finger. It bleeds and it hurts, but if you put enough pressure on it, it cuts off the circulation so that the bleeding is held, and the pain stops for a while. Then you take the pressure off and the pain returns and the bleeding starts again because the cut is still there, and now it hurts worse than before…because there for a minute you forgot about it.
In one moment, you are feeling all those emotions that you put in that trunk all year. The loneliness, the weariness, the dread and worry…all of those feelings that might not allow you to function during a deployment if you dwelled on them. You locked them all away in that trunk, because you didn’t have the leisure to allow yourself to feel them during the deployment.
It covers you like a flood the moment you see his face again. The moment you press your face into his dusty shoulder. It is overwhelming, and wears on the soul.
So no, I don’t think I’ll be watching that show.
Especially when we have yet another goodbye and homecoming rapidly approaching for our family.
Even the strongest army wife has her limitations.