This hug, this kiss had to last seven months. We were at the Palm Springs airport in California, and I was waiting to board my plane back to Chicago. I was being forced to say goodbye to my husband Aron, prior to his deployment to Iraq.
I buried my face in his chest, dreading the ticking of the clock that would inevitably send me on my way. I needed to take in as much as I could muster – the way his chest vibrated as he spoke, the faint smell of his cologne, the way his arms felt wrapped around me. I went over the memories from the past weekend, determined that no amount of distance could rob them of their meaning.
I wasn’t even supposed to be here, but the opportunity presented itself at the last minute. This time, I would be in town for a mere 28 hours, and we resolved not to go to sleep. I kept my camera by my side at all times to capture every little detail. Pictures immortalize a single instant and have the ability to bring a flood of memories back just by glancing at them.
Every time we’re together it’s an adventure. I needed to remember the time we randomly climbed up a rocky mountainside even though I was in high heels and a skirt, just to get a better view of the valley. I needed to remember when Aron was trying to be smooth, but accidentally knocked the radio station to rambling banjo music – talk about killing the mood! I needed to remember the sincere look on his face when he told me how much I mean to him. To sum it up, I need to remember him.
Life challenges us in various ways. People come in and out of our lives for a reason. It’s hard to let go of the past, but it’s important to live your life in the present. I’m not sure how I’ll get by without him – he’s been gone for two months and we have about five to go. I do not mean to draw pity to myself – this, after all, is the life I signed up for.
The message I want to relay to others is this: I believe there is no such thing as goodbye.
There is no such thing as goodbye, because it’s always “see you later.” People live on in memories, so no one is gone for good. That’s what keeps me going.
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