This past week was truly a week of ups and downs. It began on Sunday, Mothers Day, with a much needed call from my husband. I was having a down day and was elated when I answered the phone and heard his voice, elated to the point that I started sobbing incoherently. It took a full minute for me to regain my composure enough to carry on a conversation with him, not a good thing when we were limited to five minutes at the onset.
There was nothing going on for me to cry about, I had just been having a pity party and he happened to call right smack in the middle of it. As it was the sound of his voice, a voice which I had not heard in several weeks, made things all better and I was on top of the world for the rest of the day. At least I was until I got a distressing phone call later that evening. It was a call from Don’s brother letting me know their mother, who has been ill, had taken a turn for the worse and was not expected to make it through the night.
Don had spoken with his mom that morning, calling her to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day, and had told me after speaking with her that she did not sound good and that he did not expect to see her again. After the phone call from Don’s brother I began e-mailing Don to let him know what was going on and asking if he wanted me to contact the Red Cross. The decision was made for us a very short time later when I received the call that his mother had indeed passed away thus leading to the hardest e-mail I have ever written in which I told my husband that his mom had died. I mean even if all parties expected it there is never an easy way to break the news, especially if the only means of quick communication is via e-mail.
I called the American Red Cross and sent an official message to both my husband and my son so they could make plans to head home. My son was easier as he is currently stateside; my husband, on the other hand, was on a ship in the middle of the Persian Gulf. Still, the wheels were set in motion and within two hours of his getting the message from the Red Cross my husband was strapped into an airplane and launched off of an Aircraft carrier, something he would have utterly enjoyed under any other circumstance.
It took thirty three hours to get my husband home which really was amazing if you think about it. He was half way around the world and had to wait for official notification, a plane to become available to fly him off of the ship and other flights to bring him the rest of the way. We were very lucky that things were working in his favor and he made it home as quickly as he did, albeit utterly physically and mentally exhausted, but otherwise without issue.
The next step was to drive eleven hours to Kentucky, wait for our children who where all traveling in from different states, and face what awaited us. By Thursday we were all pretty much drained and numb. The events of the day are still a blur in my mind, a sea of endless faces, some familiar most were not. Several hundred people came by to say their goodbyes. The service was beautiful, the day seemed endless.
The next day was a bit more relaxed, a day for recovery and spending time with various family members, our children and two of our grandchildren. Holding and playing with the grandbabies was rejuvenating, a simple acknowledgment of the fact that even in death life goes on.
Saturday we had a simple yet pongient graveside service allowing the immediate family to say their final goodbyes. It was difficult but necessary.
Sunday we said goodbye to the family, watched as our children and the babies headed out in different directions and began our own long journey home. One by one the children called to let us know they had indeed made it to their destination, allowing another weight to be lifted from our shoulders.
Don is doing as good as can be expected. He has had his moments, like when we stopped at the hotel for the night during the drive down and he went to call his mom to let her know we had stopped. Or at breakfast on the way home when they played the song that was played at the funeral. I guess it will be those little reminders that will always keep her spirit alive and let the family know she is thinking of us.
Don has checked back with his command and he will be returning to his ship next week, which is the soonest they could get him a departing flight. While I wish our reunion could have been under less dire circumstances, I am enjoying having him here with me. Last week was a very important reminder of enjoying the time you have with the ones you love as you never know if or when you will get to see them again.