After I was able to hold it together for a little while, I told the kids (at this time our daughter and her husband were still stationed at Fort Lewis as well so that means all but our oldest son when I say "the kids") I would take them to Olive Garden for a lunch...it's one of those comfort food type of places, right?! Little did I know God had already put someone in place to give me encouragement - our waitress.
Walking to our table, the waitress asked how our day was going. I said it was a tough day and my husband had just deployed to Afghanistan...thinking like most people she would just say, "Oh," and not really know what to say next. However, she reached back and touched me and told me she was so sorry.
At her touch, my heart melted. I had to go to the restroom and try to compose myself. I am certain it was more than the words she said, and the encouragement she tried to give. Her touch said I really do care. Her touch reminded me that I would not feel my husband's touch until he returned for two short weeks of R&R, but mostly that I would not feel his touch for nearly a year of my life. And, her touch reminded me that God knew my pain and was near.
Each time she came to check on how our meal was going, she would check on me as well...and every time I would have to go to the restroom to compose myself. The kids giggled after a while, but also felt the pain of his departure. We tried not to dwell on it...but honestly, it was just about ALL I could think about that day. We had been apart before with other deployments when he was in the Air Force, but never a whole year and never to such a dangerous place. I couldn't wrap my mind around either of those thoughts and, to this day, I'm not quite sure how people without the Lord make it through those dark times.
I'll end day one with this word of encouragement - My heart ached like never before, but God was faithful to bring strength and comfort and see us through to a new day.