My husband has been home for two long, glorious weeks and sadly the departure date will be upon us. We all have the look in our eyes whenever his time with us is whittling away. The far-off gaze thinking about the memories we’ve made and the time we spent together with a bit of sadness mixed in.
We have been married for eleven years now and while the pain of our separation never really goes away I think I have gotten used to it.
The kids, however, are torn. The middle child A is excited that she will see cousins tomorrow but knows Daddy will leave soon after. The oldest one has always held it in, to the point where I ask friends and family to talk to him just to see how he’s feeling. I am afraid he might be getting used to it too.
The youngest one, who has probably had the most time with him, is hard to read. I know she thinks about him when he is gone. She gets that look in her eyes and if her big brown eyes were any clearer I am sure I would be able to see the memory of watching the latest Chipmunk movie with him.
When we were in the car today, R said he doesn’t want to go. Of course he doesn’t. I cannot imagine having to live without your kids, your spouse for months at a time.
I replied, “I don’t want you to go either but you need that foot of yours fixed.”
He still has excruciating pain in his left foot, pain that he has been hiding from me for many months. I have massaged the bottom of his foot to find each time what feels like a taut thick rope running from his heel to his toes. I show know mercy when I rub it out, trying to alleviate this muscle spasm as soon as I can. He’s cringed in pain when he is on his feet too much which is always since he insists on cooking almost all of our meals. (Not that I mind in the very least!) He gasps when sudden nerve pain strikes various parts of his lower body without warning.
I ask him what his pain is on a scale of 1 to 10, just like they do in the hospitals, and he says that it can get up to a 7 or 8. An 8 must be pretty bad. He will never say a 10, even though to me the pain would be a 15 or so, simply because he’s experienced a true 10. A 10 to him would be having his pelvis crushed in a car door. Again.
As soon as he gets back to Virginia, he will fly out to Texas to a rehab center where he will get a new foot/leg brace, one that will correct his foot drop and constant foot pain and one that he will actually use.
I did not know this but his pain is so bad that if this brace does not help, he would like to consider amputation and he wondered how I felt about that. Now I have no idea what his pain is like, what he endures on a daily basis, and surely I am in no position to have an opinion, but I kept my answer simple.
“You should do what you need to do.” Meaning that it is his body, not mine. Meaning while amputation is a huge decision, it is not mine to make. It is not my pain but I feel his.
He should do what he needs to do.
And so I am enjoying my last bit of time alone at our neighborhood coffee shop while he feeds the kids leftover Mexican food, gives them baths, and puts them to bed. Tomorrow we expect a full house with family and friends. Tomorow we expect to stay busy so the reality of going back to normal does not set in until the very last possible moment.
Tomorrow we expect to have stomach pains not caused by too much food or imbibing too many spirits but because we will be making that sad drive to the airport again on Sunday.
Our saving grace is that these trips of taking Daddy to the airport are almost completely at an end. And that makes for a happy new year in the works.
May you have a wonderful and safe new year from our family to yours,