Yesterday Facebook showed me my On This Day, and I recovered some old gratitude.
From December 12, 2010 —
Let me show you a piece of my heart. Let me show you what my gratitude looks like. Beware the feels.
We call that Homecoming.
A friend of ours took these pictures. He offered. Said he wouldn’t bother us, he just wanted to capture it. What a kindness.
We got up before 5 that morning. I made coffee and cocoa for five travel mugs to go. I drove us to the field. Emotionally, Cottrell Field was a complicated place. It was a large field with bleachers on one side and lined with rows of trees elsewhere. In the spring, the beauty of it was bittersweet, because the more redbud blooms, the more memorials. And I could not, for lack of counting skills and fear of a broken heart, tell you how many more trees were planted while we were there from 2006-2013.
Here’s a photo of a bit of Warrior’s Walk at Cottrell Field from Marne Community
They ended up burning the redbuds down due to ecological issues, and replaced them with crepe myrtles. They did this December 12, 2014.
To await your loved one’s return in a place where you are surrounded by the memory of those who did not return is significantly poignant.
Homecoming means sitting on bleachers for a long, long time. The Army takes the field, important people speak, the band plays. You wait. Finally, they release them and you wait more. You wait to be found and reclaimed.
The year 2010 was the longest, hardest year of my life. It wasn’t the last time he left home, or the longest deployment, it just felt like…well that one felt like roulette: How many times can I land on red?
Much as I hated seven hot years in Georgia, I wouldn’t undo it. It’s a significant chapter of my life, and of our marriage. I learned a lot about myself, and well, everyone else. I met some fantastic women. I really did enjoy the health insurance. Because of those seven years, I appreciate a thousand little usta-be nothings that are now, really, really something.
I don’t write about it much because the intensity is difficult to describe. I’m hella grateful it’s over.
The Mister still wears combat boots sometimes, but he comes home every night.
How’s that for gratitude on a Tuesday?