Since November 11, 2019, I have been living in two worlds. That day was the last time I saw my husband. We had spent the weekend in Austin, TX, before he deployed. It was an awesome weekend—so many great memories. The end of that weekend came all too quickly. Our last breakfast together was quiet. Neither of us wanted to talk about what was going to be inevitable. It was also the day of the Veteran’s Day Parade in downtown Austin. Oh, the irony of him leaving on that day.
The streets surrounding our hotel were all closed for the parade to honor those who had served. We realized that we would need to walk several blocks with all of my husband’s gear to get to the car that would be taking him away. I was happy to be able to spend the extra time with him. Time was moving too quickly for me. Soon it was time for him to leave. It was both the shortest and longest walk.
I wasn’t sure what to do. Do I leave? Do I stand there looking as lost as I felt? I am not good with extreme emotional situations. I never know what to do. Indecision planted my feet to that spot so I stood there. I felt very awkward.
Once he was in the car, I started the long/short trek back to the hotel. I didn’t know if I should turn around and wave. I wanted to, but I was barely holding it together, so I opted to wait. When I did finally turn to wave, the car was gone. I waved anyway.
Present & Future
And thus, living in two worlds began. One foot is in the present, trying to live my daily life. The other is in the future when my husband comes home. Learning to live in two worlds was very hard. If I focused too much on the future, I would become paralyzed. Unable to fathom a present life without my husband. In my immediate future, he was missing. I couldn’t think too far out to the future because it was so far away. If I focused too much on the present, I was grief-stricken with missing him. It was a no-win situation.
It took months for me to find that balance. I make constant adjustments. Most so small that no one, not even me, notices it as much. I am still not used to this idea of living in two worlds. When asked how I am doing, I am okay. I didn’t have the energy to try to explain how I felt. That was part of it. It was that I didn’t know how I felt. I hadn’t yet sifted through the myriad of emotions. I felt alone.
I never thought that I would write that a pandemic made me feel less alone. But here it is. All of the things I was missing with my love, now the entire world can’t either. The world is feeling exactly how I feel, how I have felt this past six months. I know that I am not the first to go through this. Military spouses, throughout time, have gone through this before. They are going through this now. There are soldiers still deployed all over the world.
The stay at home orders and physical distancing is the first time that the world has gone through a separation with us. Together. We are all experiencing this disruption in our lives. We are all trying to balance in two worlds. What our present looks like, and the adjustments that it took to create a semblance of normalcy. Then we look to the future. What does that hold for us? There are many unknowns when we look into the future. We are all making those small adjustments to keep our balance.
I am only one amongst so many. I am more aware of that now that I am not alone. None of us are. Even though we may feel we are at times. I know I did and still do sometimes. We are all so connected not only in this but in so many things. All it took was for a pandemic to help me see that.