But in coming home, where he was, is, and will be, there was that small sense of sadness. Not enough to grip me again mind you, but enough to tug on me. I pushed it aside, though, happy with the fact that the holidays are now behind me. A new year is under way—the one that will bring him home. And I could return to my rhythm of marking off days, doing activities with the kids, and, of course, writing about everything in between.
Feeling proud, strong, and ready to relax a bit rather than trying to outrun this deployment, I finally sat down to watch some television. I have rarely forced myself to sit in “our” chair. The one big enough to hold us both, swallow our bodies, and bury us in cushions. The one space that constantly makes me think of him.
But, now I was ready. Ready to remember him without anger or sadness, but full of memories and understanding of why we have chosen this life. I was stoic. And prepared. And, I could do it!
I eased myself down into the chair, feeling IT push halfway up my throat. I waited, hoping that knot would work its way back down, but determined not to fight it. If it came, it came. But it didn’t. Nothing came. No tears. No runny nose. I made it through.
Allowing my full weight to sit in the chair, my legs warm under the blanket, I settled in to watch television. For months I have avoided it. Instead, I sat in front of the computer, writing, doodling, listening to music. Or, I kept myself busy running errands. Starting new projects. Creating, basically, amazing havoc.
But, not this time. This time, I was calm. Cool. Collected.
“What’s on television?” I asked myself, knowing full well that any romantic comedies were out. No one could die. No explosions. Certainly no movies about soldiers. Skipping over shows about army wives. Comedies? Nope. Would make me think of him.
What did that leave? Rudy, the story about that sweet guy who just wanted to play football for Notre Dame. Why is that a crime?
Settled on catching up with good ol’ Rudy, I snuggled under the blanket and spread my body all over the chair, leaving no room for him to sneak in.
Football practices. Notre Dame pride. Random janitor who believed in Rudy. Totally safe.
Until the end. When the whole crowd starts chanting his name and he runs out on the field, just so darn happy to be there.
Tears. That turned into blubbering. “What am I doing! Over football?”
Instantly, I was that sweet blonde from A League of Their Own, the kind war wife, mother of Stillwell Angel. I saw myself standing there, in my best girly Notre Dame uniform and Tom Hanks screaming at me. “There’s no crying in football!”
With Rudy happily carried off the field, and my new box of tissues beside me, I looked for something else. Something far from football.
Aha! Con Air. Nothing about this could possibly remind me of my husband. Good choice.
“Oh. Look at that! Crazy-haired Nick Cage on a truck. Oh. Blood. Fights. Okay. Nice.” No problem.
“Wait. No! No! Definitely do NOT give that cute white bunny to your daughter who hasn’t seen you in years. No! No! Don’t you dare hug her!”
Haven’t been back in the chair. Probably won’t go there for a few more days. It is all about baby steps, right?