Thursday, July 17, 2008
The night before deployment...
The last 3 years have been filled with all types of leave-taking and goodbyes. With so much practice, we definately have refined it. Rafe used to pack right before he left, which could take 2-3 days for a deployment or 1 day for anything else. It was nerve wracking for everyone. We knew he was going but could only watch while he concentrated on packing. As he packed the night or day before, the calls would start coming in from loved ones saying goodbye. He wanted us there, yet it was a very helpless feeling to see him and not for us to be able to have any type of real interaction or conversation during some of the last moments we would have with him for a while. And we often left home to visit family elsewhere, which was also hard and didn't feel much like a predeployment leave with allthe travel.
This time, we tried something new. Rafe packed when he first came home from deployment leave; so that all he had left was about an hour or so the day he actually deployed. We didn't take phone calls from anyone the two days before we drove to Jacksonville to drop him off. We just spent it as a family. I have to say it was a much better option for all of us. Less stress, less misery, less pressure to do as much as possible with as many people as possible. He started calling friends and family to say goodbye on the 6 hour trip to Lejeune. It worked out perfectly and I highly recommend it for anyone else who is dealing with an upcoming deployment. At the BOQ, we were able to relax and play and place a few more phone calls and play some more. It didn't feel as ominous as it had in the past.