You’re not ready.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve known that they’re going to be leaving; having a loved one or significant other who is going into military basic training is harder than you can prepare for. You spend the months before they actually leave spending all the time with them that you can. You think that maybe if you fill every second of the days leading up to their departure with love and laughter and dancing in the kitchen while you make breakfast that it might not hurt as much when you say goodbye. And then it does, it hurts more than you could have imagined.
As soon as you say goodbye you feel it in your chest. The piece of your heart that they own goes with them when they leave. You wake up to an empty bed and their pillow smells less and less like them each day. You still start the text to them to ask if you need more milk when you get to the grocery store, only to remember they won’t get it. You’re stuck between being proud of them, and wishing they’d just come home.
And no one tells you that. So I am, right now. It is hard. It is lonely. And it is also worth it.
There are days that you check the mailbox six times an hour. Your heart skips a beat when you see an envelope that looks like it could be from them. And you die a little bit when it’s not. You get a call from an unknown number and pray it’s them, only to be told you won a cruise and you need to act now. Expect to be disappointed more often than not. Your soldier is busy, and some days they might have to choose between sleeping or writing a letter. I can’t speak on the times you do hear from them, I haven’t had that luxury yet. I can only imagine how relieving it will feel.
Here’s what I can tell you though.
Throughout this experience there’s one thing you need to keep in mind: it’s that no matter how hard this is for you, it’s even harder for them. You are the light at the end of the tunnel for them right now. And if you’re missing them this much, imagine how much they miss you. They’re in a new place with all new people adjusting to a new routine. Just like you’re adjusting to life without them.
They love you. They’ll be back.
Those are the things to remember. So write them letters. And for every time you tell them that you miss them, also tell them how proud you are of them.
It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to miss them so much your chest aches, but you must also be supportive.
Because your soldier needs it. Your soldier needs you.