Can’t Let Go

Can’t Let Go

From Chicken Soup for the Military Wife's Soul

Can’t Let Go

War is not nice.

Barbara Bush

I had said good-bye to my husband, Joe, so often, but this time was different.

We now had our first child. After nights of soul-searching and what-ifs, we made the difficult decision that Joe would go by himself to Alabama for the six-month training course, and I would stay behind with our new son. It was important that I hold onto my teaching position near our home at Fort Hood, plus we were part of a strong network of friends whom I could count on to see me through the rough spots.

On Joe’s last evening at home—always a melancholy time—I bathed little Joey, got him into his sleeper and was heading to the bedroom when Joe gently touched me on the shoulder. Lifting the baby from my arms, he said he wanted to tuck Joey in tonight.

They headed down the hall, and I busied myself with meaningless tasks, expecting Joe to emerge from the bedroom within a few minutes. A half hour went by, and still he had not come back. Figuring he was having trouble getting our son to fall asleep, I tiptoed to the baby’s room and peeked into the dimly lit room.

Sitting in the rocking chair, moving slowly back and forth, was my husband, stifling quiet sobs. He was holding our sleeping infant in his arms as though he would never let go.

I whispered, “Honey, what can I do?”

His pained eyes met mine, and after a moment he mumbled, “I just can’t put him down.”

That night, we stood over Joey’s crib, holding each other, consoling ourselves and saying over and over that we would make it through this separation and be together again soon.

Joey is six now, and he has a four-year-old brother named Jack. There have been many farewells since that night, yet my military hero still fights back tears when it’s time to leave once again in service to his country and give his boys that last, long hug good-bye.

Julie Angelo

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