That's how many days he was gone. And we missed him. Every. Single. Day. This is our third deployment...and it doesn't get easier. It doesn't get easier to say goodbye. It never gets easier worrying about them while they're gone. It never gets easier to take on everything at home.
And just as military life often goes, things didn't go as expected. When he left, we thought he was going to be able to visit which is common in the Air Force for year-long deployments. But then COVID happened. And we began to realize we weren't going to get a visit.
It was so crushing.
Deployment is a strange mix of emotions. It's being thankful for your spouse. It's being proud of him. It's missing them to your core. It's experiencing random waves of grief and sadness. It's being proud of yourself for being stronger than you ever imagined.
There were days that this last year felt like a marathon and, to be honest, by the end I was dragging myself to the finish line.
We were so close to homecoming, yet I was still breaking down up to the last day...I just DID NOT want to do one more day without him. I didn't want to go to bed one more night alone or have one more adventure with Ella with that big whole missing...where Kyle belongs.
For 377 days, he was gone...and when your soulmate is gone that long, homecoming day feels like a dream.
The weeks started off with our last adventure without him heading down to California on an RV trip.
The day Kyle came home was magical! It was one of the BEST days of our entire life! I keep playing that moment over and over again in my mind, and it fills my heart with so much joy and giddiness. We were able to be a part of something SUPER special with His homecoming, but ...shhhhh... I can't share the details of that yet!! But it is coming! I will share more as soon as I can.
Here's the truth about deployment homecoming.
It takes a hot minute to become real. Since he has been home, I keep having to look over to make sure he is still there. It doesn't seem real.
I have my soulmate back, my best friend, my partner in all things. I am so blessed!
If you are in the trenches of deployment life...friend, I feel you. I'm so there with you. I don't wish it on anyone...but you are stronger than you know, and you've got this!
And just for fun...here are some of the adventures my sweet girl and I went on over the year. Sometimes I feel she was even stronger than I was.