It started one week like any other week when my husband headed over there. He does it so often that I am used to it, yet it is not something I am totally used to. More recently, he has been traveling with another good friend of our, and I have never been too thrilled about that either. Both together - I like them together, but I didn't like it either.
The few days before he travels, we always have this unusual routine and feelings we go through. Sort of a checklist preparing for the "what if". This trip, we didn't do much of that. I had just returned and was feeling sick. We had some errands to do, so we never even took the time to curl up together and spend time together.
But at his first stop, we talked often by phone and skype. Talked and talked. It was really good to connect, to tease each other, and have fun. There were a few things bothering us - some conflicts between people close to us and some plans others had that worried us, so we talked. We would have talked these things over with someone else there, but that person wasn't being normal, and it had both of our antenna up. Towards the end, we were both feeling certain that something was going to happen, but we were focusing on the wrong thing. Still we talked and talked - way more than normal for when he is gone.
I was thankful for those times of talking later. I knew where my husband's heart was and he knew mine. That really helped in the days that followed, and throughout the difficult times, I hung on to those conversations with all I had.
We had discussed something that I had done recently while traveling, and I had asked my husband if a certain action I took had bothered him. It was something I might not normally do, but I did that one time. He smiled. I heard it in his writing even before he finished. He smiled and said, "Of course not! I fully and completely trust you."
This was one gift I hung on to. I thought back to the year we struggled while we sorted out some things in our lives and when he was crashing from years of no sleep, and I smiled. Life was good.
But we both sensed a cloud looming. I grew up in tornado country. It was that same feeling - the clouds are dark and heavy, and we can feel our hair standing up, but we had no idea where it would come from.