I think the hardest goodbye I had to say was with my family last year. I was leaving for a year long tour in Iraq. Heading into something new and unknown to both my family and I. This was to be the longest farthest we have ever been apart. I was to be gone for a year or more. Now that may not seem so bad, but I also could becoming home in a body bag. So needless to say that the emotions in the room were pretty high.
We stood there saying our goodbyes, hugging one another. My family kept saying, “Be safe, keep your head down,” while my sister practically squeezed the life out of me. My sister is well really close to my heart. All thought it may not seem like that at times, she’s the one that I really care about. I didn’t like leaving her the last time i did, even though I was gone only six months.
Now you can say that my Mother and I really have a unique relationship, one that we developed through the hard times we had both encountered together. I was her rock and she was mine. I wasn’t as concerned about her as I was my sister but I knew she would be worrying about me. I gave here a hung whispering in her ear “I love you and I’ll see you when I get back.” Trying to hold my tears think, “be strong for her.” Well it didn’t work I didn’t want to let her go knowing that this could be the last time we ever saw each other.
I finished hugging my mother and moved onto my grandmother. I think next to my mom see does almost as much worrying about me. She gave me a hug trying no to cry as I said thank you for everything and I’ll see you when I get back. I made her promise to make my favorite cake, when I do get back. Chocolate Sheet Cake, something that I can not live with out.
Finally it was time to say goodbye to my grandfather. He hugged me and said take care. but before doing so he handed me two knifes that his brother used in the Marines during the Korean War. He figured that they got his brother home safe that they should get me home safe. Now I could tell that he was going to cry but I knew why, he was proud of me. I’ve seen him cry only a few times. The most recent when he told me he was proud of me after my Army Basic Training Graduation and then this day when he said, “I’m proud of you time for doing this. Not a lot of guys your age, take this kind of responsibility, like you have.”
It was time to go. I had a long 3 hour drive in the frigged January cold. I tried my best to hold the tears as I said goodbye. I entered my car and drove off watching five hands wave good bye as five pairs of eyes watered up with tears in the rear view mirror.