Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A River in Egypt

The Sergeant first went to Iraq in September 2005. The night before he left we sat on the couch in our living room, just being together, and he had a Pepsi. When he finished he did the thing that always irritates me: he put his can on the coffee table instead of in the recycling.

The next day, several hours after he left, I saw the can sitting on the coffee table (not even on a coaster!). He always leaves things for me to clean up after him, I thought. I smiled a tear-filled smile and left the can on the table.

I did the same thing every day for over a month.

If you take care of it, a tiny voice whispered in my mind, he won't be here anymore.

I had a couple friends over to pass out candy on Halloween, and when I was cleaning up the house I finally took care of the Pepsi can.

One stupid little action nearly broke my heart. I cried for about an hour.

The Sergeant left twelve days ago. I have done the laundry, cleaned off the desk, washed the dishes. I cleaned out the car. I hung his jacket back on the coat rack.

But there is one article of clothing on the bedroom floor. I step over it every day, several times a day. I can't bear to pick it up. I can't admit he's gone.

Yes, I hail from Denial Land. I'm just not ready to face that collapse. Not yet.

The good news? Even when I decide to leave Egypt, I'll still have this to hold on to:

26 comments:

  1. Awwww. That really breaks my heart. I know how you feel (sort of) because I was separated from my husband for several months and I had the same rituals and feelings whenever he left me to go back. But he wasn't going back to a danger zone so it's a little different. You can photograph all the little things that he left behind and then make a montage of them??? Maybe that will make the clearing up a little easier. Thinking of you.

    Kim and Pearl

    ReplyDelete
  2. I cannot begin to imagine what you must feel, think, etc... But I can tell you that nothing will break if you leave that article of clothing on the floor until he comes back. Think of it as a decorating accessory. It makes the room look lived in or it has to stay there becuase it keeps a part of the Seargant home with you. And that is OK.

    ReplyDelete
  3. My daughter has one of those bears. Does it have a hat that never stays on?

    Just leave it there. Then you can think he just left the room right before you came in.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am so sorry your sweetie is away. I can't even begin to imagine what you must be going through.

    I'm so glad you have your little man!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can totally relate. I've never had a separation like yours, but I understand wanting to hang onto something. If you don't mind stepping over that item of clothing, then there's nothing wrong with leaving it there.

    ReplyDelete
  6. oooof - my heart

    that precious baby does help things, though. cuddling always helps

    ReplyDelete
  7. This was a beautiful, heartbreaking post. Sending love to you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh, Mama :( I wish I had the words to make this all better for you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a post... you describe it so well. I can't imagine how tough it must be. Day in and day out. So glad you have Little Mister there with you. Sending you hearty hugs & reminder that you have an ever-growing fan club!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I can understand completely your denial. I do the same kind of things when I chose not to face reality. I love your life line though.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have never been in the situation you are in. But, I say stay in Denial Land for as long as you need to!! No one can blame you for that. Your little guy is so adorable!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I had something I was going to say, but that picture pretty much wiped it out of my head. That is really sweet.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a poignant post. I'm convinced that Denial Land is a perfectly acceptable place to live.
    But oh, that picture. Wow.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Denial Land is sometimes a necessary place, until reality isn't too horrible to be in.
    Your baby is gorgeous, though. For reals!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh, this was such a sweet post - so thoughtful and I just love that you leave these things lying around - it is like a floating memory suspended in time - I don't blame you! I hope he is safe - I think of him often and you two also. Take care, Sweetie - Kellan

    ReplyDelete
  16. Awww - I did the same thing with a pair of sandals. Of course once I put them away I have NO idea where I put them, and now Kevin is BACK FOR TWO WEEKS!! and asking for his sandals.
    (sigh) We'll have to buy a new pair :)
    Hang in there, after two weeks I'll be right where you are at, and boy is it tough . . .

    ReplyDelete
  17. This post was sad but also touching. I have no idea how I would handle my husband being in Iraq or anywhere other than home for that matter. I hope the time he is away flies by!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I feel this way about his stuff by the bathroom sink. Then I clear it all away and tell myself I can at least enjoy a cleaner bathroom while he's away.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is breaking my heart. And that picture is beyond adorable.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog today. The post is touching and what a sweet picture. I can tell by reading this post you are a very strong woman. Have a nice weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh the Pepsi can. I understand totally. And the baby. This is so moving. Hang in there.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm sorry you're alone - but that baby is divine.

    ReplyDelete
  23. This made me cry. I am sensitive tonight but seriously that is something I would do. I am not generally superstitious but about little things like that I am. Hugs to you.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I can't relate from personal experience, either. This is a great honest post.

    ReplyDelete