verklempt: [Yiddish] overcome with emotion
This is how I felt last week as I read all of your comments for me. Thank you so very much. I was so crunched for time preparing for my trip to North Carolina that I wasn't able to respond to all of you with a personal email. But each and every comment was a comfort. In fact I read them over and over, and I thank you for taking the time to write.
It seemed to be a theme for me last week. At the airport on Wednesday morning, I was sprite and ready for my trip to North Carolina. Ready to start house-hunting, thinking about life after the Army. And some feet away, in their own little world, I saw them. A familiar scene: a wife with her head buried in her soldier's chest - a final few moments together waiting for him to return to Iraq after R&R. I watched her hold him tightly, him kiss her head reassuringly. Of course, I started to cry a little. When it was time to board, they said their goodbyes and he quickly put on his sunglasses to cover up his own tears. She sat in the waiting area even after he got on the plane, crying intermittently while she waited dutifully for the plane to leave. I wanted so badly to reach out to her and tell her I'd be praying for her, but I didn't want to invade her space.
Eventually, it was time for me to board. But I couldn't leave her without telling her I cared. So I walked over to her. I was still five feet away when I started bawling. "I just couldn't board the plane without telling you I know how very difficult this is for you and I'll be praying for you," I managed between fumbled sobs. "I've done three deployments myself - two of them Iraq." She instantly jumped up and hugged me for a long while, telling me between her own sobs that this was their third deployment to Iraq. At this point I wasn't sure who was consoling whom. But it felt like a family hug. The kind where you feel understood and supported. That is the sisterhood I will truly miss - a bond so strong that two complete strangers aren't strangers at all, and something as simple as a long hug in an airport is just the dose of strength needed to get through the day's worry.
Thank you again for your doses of strength last week. I really needed them, and I'll be paying it forward in the form of prayers for my "sister" from the airport.