Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Moving Forward - Deployment Update

Only 356 days left!

It has been a long week, but it's getting easier every day. Johnny and I said our goodbye around one o'clock in the morning last Tuesday. They flew into Shannon, Ireland where they had a 4 hour layover and then they arrived in Kuwait at 1:45 a.m. (our time) last Wednesday morning. Ireland is one of Johnny's favorite places, so he loved being there...even if it was just the airport! He even got to eat fish and chips, cooked in a Guinness beer batter! It was the closest thing to a real Guinness he could have! He woke up from that dream world once they landed in Kuwait and all he saw was sand for miles and miles. I think it finally sank in that he was actually deployed at that point.

While J was eating fish and chips, that first 24 hours for me was easily the worst day of my life. I literally felt like it was all a dream (in a nightmarish-kind of way). I could not comprehend what was truly going on. It was the weirdest thing to look around on post (what we call the Army base) last Monday night and see all these soldiers in full uniform, flack vest, Kevlar helmet, machine gun - the works - waiting to load the buses. It's the stuff you see in movies. And it's my life. I just couldn't believe what was going on. Well, I believe it now, but unfortunately I haven't woken up from that nightmare yet. Thankfully my mom came into town to keep me company and help keep me going last week. I don't know what I would've done without her.

So far, I have been able to talk to Johnny every day since he left. Sometimes it's a 2 minute conversation, other days we will talk for almost 30 minutes! It might be the fact that we he just finished Ranger School where we could only communicate through hand-written letters, but it's amazing how just hearing his voice for 5 seconds a day helps SO MUCH. I'm very grateful for the time we get to talk. He won't have email access until he gets up to Iraq. And we aren't allowed to mail anything to him until after November 15 for security reasons. But I will be sure to get his mailing address to those who want it so you can send Christmas cards. I'm not sure if I'll actually post it on the blog (for security reasons again) but I'll talk to Johnny about it and see what thinks.

He is doing well. He misses home tremendously, but I think it's easier for him to accept his current situation because this is his job. He has been training for this the entire time he's been in the Army, almost 3 years now....everything leading up to this point. He is an excellent soldier, and awesome leader and we can't forget...a RANGER!!

Here are some pictures from that awful night last week. Don't let the smiles fool you in these pictures - it was a miserable, nauseating night - I had been crying for about 3 days straight prior to dropping him off and was fighting the urge to throw up....I just can't NOT smile when a camera is visible. I think it's a genetic condition...I was born with it.

Fake Smiles....100%. There was nothing happy about that night.

This is Johnny's good buddy Jerry Billings. He just got back from his latest tour in Iraq and will probably be seeing Johnny over there sometime in February or March when he goes back.

I didn't want to let go of him.


Crystal said...

Aww..I am so sorry friend...I'll be praying that this year goes by super fast for you. It must be a tough thing to go through. Hugs to you!

The Bailey Clan said...

Oh the memories! I feel for you so much and I am def. praying for you! I can't wait to see you in a week! We haven't seen each other since High School! Tell Johnny were here for him(even though he has no clue who we are!) Keep smiling!