If you be brave, Daddy, I’ll be brave.

July 13, 2015

– Karen Fuller

I’ve avoided writing this post for sometime…I guess because then it makes it real.

Our time together went so fast. Our youngest was really struggling with the idea of Daddy leaving again. In her mind it wasn’t Daddy leaving to be a hero, it was Mommy leaving Daddy. With that we knew she really needed the closure of attending the farewell ceremony to see him off. Being that the Army had moved the date of the farewell, this meant we would again brave a cross-country drive in order to savor every last moment together.
The morning of the farewell event my husband quietly slipped out of bed, dressed in his uniform and softly kissed my forehand before leaving. It was surreal, bleary eyed I woke to see him step out of the room, watching the door shut knowing that the kids and I were just a few short hours from having to say goodbye to our Hero.
Later that morning as we pulled up to the hangar, I could feel my heart tightening and struggled to keep the years at bay.
The ceremony was a blur. Each moment seeming frozen in time but moving on fast forward at the same time.

When the time came to say our goodbyes, we all acted as if we were trying to avoid reality.  The kids slowly led their Hero throughout the hangar, holding tight, never venturing farther than fingertips reach from him.

As we walked to the car I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I watched the love and admiration that the kids had for their father, and the conflict occurring within my husband. The struggle between the duty felt to his country and the pain of leaving his loves again.

Nearing the door, our daughter wrapped her arms around her dad and softly said, “if you be brave, Daddy, I’ll be brave.”  With that my heart shattered. There was such strength and sacrifice in simple words from the lips of a child.

We slowly made our way to the car, grasping at every last hug, holding tight, fearing to let go.
As we slowly drove away, leaving half of our hearts behind, we knew our journey had just begun.