Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"Bye Bye, Daddy"

They finally started loading the big buses with the Marines around noon of the day they left. Amelia and Rafe had been playing together a bit. I think she somehow sensed that this was different. He stepped up onto the bus and after a minute, she ran over to the open door and waited for him to come back out. When he didn't, she held out her hand to a Marine that was getting on the bus, as if to ask him to help her get on the bus also. When that didn't happen, she just stood there and waited until I went to go get her.

We watched the buses drive away, and Rafe could see us out his window. We kept waving and saying, "bye bye, Daddy". I didn't cry until the exact moment that the buses pulled away. I just wanted a moment to have closure and to grieve for literally a minute or two, and then move on. Unfortunately, IMMEDIATELY, a stranger who meant very well came over to me to begin speaking to me about being pregnant while the buses were still in sight. I wasn't able to concentrate on the buses leaving as I had wanted, in order to keep from being rude to this person whose husband had also just left. Perhaps speaking is what she needed to do to move on and pull herself together; but I do regret not having that last private moment. I'm not much of a crier, so that will probably be it for a long while, if not the whole year.

For days later, out of the blue, Amelia would suddenly start saying "Bye bye, Daddy... bye bye, Daddy... bus... bus... bye bye, Daddy". She would say it in a little girl small voice, somewhat sad. I could tell she was processing this event. Each time I would tell her that Daddy did go bye bye on the bus, but that he would be back home soon and he loved her very much. After a few days at Barb's, she bounced right back. She still says it occasionally, but in a different tone. She also calls our house, "Daddy's house" and plays with "Daddy's hats". She definitely misses her daddy, but at this age she's very resilient.

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