Warning....raw emotion ahead...
Ryan is gone. We took him back to the airport today to fly back to SC. He will be flying to Korea tomorrow.
My heart hurts.
We are hoping to see him in 6 months. He is supposed to get a leave about then--which would put it around Christmas.
We were allowed to accompany him to the gate today with special passes. They are given to families who have a service person deploying. So unexpected...and so deeply appreciated. It was wonderful to have that extra hour with him. He was almost the last one to board the plane as we tried to tear ourselves away from each other. He was not wearing his uniform today--wanting to be in 'civies' (civilian clothes) as long as possible.
It was such an odd feeling to retrace the steps we had taken just one week ago with such excitement. Those feelings were replaced today with sadness and loss. But not forever...he will be home again. I keep telling myself that.
Jeff has had an even more emotional day. Ryan's truck completely died yesterday. We had to have it towed and junked for parts. Jeff had to take care of that and had such a hard time watching it being towed away on the same day that Ryan was leaving. It's like an end of an era.
Ryan's birthday is coming up on the 4th of July. For the first time in 20 years, we won't be celebrating with him. (Well, the first 4th of July, we weren't with him--but pacing the floors while his sweet birth mom was in labor.) We wanted to celebrate his birthday with him before he left but he really didn't want to. He didn't want us making a fuss. So...we went along with what he wanted. Since we live far away from family this year, it's also the first time in 20 years that we won't have family with us on the 4th. Jeff's parents came and watched us pace the floors that day in 1990 when Ryan was on his way into the world. I'm just not sure what to do with myself on the 4th this year. I don't even want to think about it. It just won't be the same. I walked into Target tonight and saw the 4th of July decorations and it just kind of felt like I got punched in the stomach. Ugh.
These boots were by the door this morning
This coat was on the chair
But before long, everything was in these duffel bags and we were off to the airport
We love you, Ryan
"No. You can't go."
Let's make a Ryan sandwich!
Family photo--but Jake and Katie were behind the big girls--oops.
This is blurry but I still like it.
Brothers trying to hug without looking like they actually like each other
More emotion--this picture makes me cry
Determined not to cry, the girls keep the smiles going
At the gate...one more hug from Dad
One more picture of the best buddies
(We pause this emotional saga by making mention of the shirt I bought Ryan for his birthday. Yes, it IS a Beavis and B*tthead, with 'pull my finger.' I'm sorry, but the whole Uncle Sam reference and Ryan being military was just funny.)
Good-bye, sweet boy. We love you so.
We went directly to Jake ultrasound from the airport and happily, everything looked fine with Jake's kidney's. Thank you for all your sweet comments and encouraging words.