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War: On having to say goodbye
I hope it doesnt come down to you actually receiving this letter, but if it does, I want you to know just how much I love you.
Back in November when we first heard you may be leaving, I wasnt worried. Something inside me assured me you wouldnt go. But now, its nearing the end of January, and no matter how hard I try, I cant seem to shake the sorrow built up inside.
Im scared. Im scared that when we say Goodbye, it wont be because youre leaving, itll be because youre not coming home.
In our 12 years together, weve had obstacles - none of which we didnt overcome, stronger as a couple. Looking back, those obstacles seem so trivial compared to what we now face.
I didnt marry you for money, outward appearance, or your connections. I married because of your courage. I look up to you. I know deep down youre terrified, but you dont show it. You always take things as they come.You are proud of who you are, what you do, and why you do it. And no matter what, I will always love that about you.
The other day, I was showing our daughter pictures of people in the hallway of the hospital, who have served, and explaining what makes them special. I told her that those pictures represent a portion of many men and women who have and will continue to risk their lives for our freedom. I looked into her eyes, knowing a 3-year-old really doesnt know what Im saying. And somehow saw that in her own way, she really did understand.
It was a mixed blessing. I felt so proud that her daddy is among this group of men and women. And yet, to know that there may be a day maybe even soon, that she will say Goodbye to daddy. It scares me to know that she may only know OF you and not get to know the person I know you are. She will always know you love her. I will keep you in her life no matter how hard it is.
But I do pray that you will come home to us. Please keep us in your thoughts, as we will you. If things get to tough to handle, remember that we love you and want you home safe and sound. We will miss you deeply.
Tai and Haeli Ralston