taken by my soldier while inside a bunker, COP Charkh, Afghanistan
"I am really really happy to be out of Charkh. All of the Soldiers are too. I am so proud of them. They worked so hard in Charkh patrolling like crazy, getting shot at, lack of sleep, etc etc. It felt so good to arrive last night in Shank. Your prayers meant the world to me."
As the days until we are once again the Davenport 7 are quickly becoming surprisingly short, I find myself treasuring all the more the correspondence from my soldier. I am thankful for his words and find myself reading them over and over again as I study the images he attaches. We had a hunch this deployment would be a crazy one, but we had no idea of the twists and turns he would have to face along the way. I am so thankful he took the time to communicate via email and also via his journal entries. It has been helpful to get those glimpses into this tour and it's been quite the tour for him to document. I told him before he left that I wished I could have tagged along with my lens ... I think he did a pretty good job granting me that wish via his own (iphone) lens and his words.
I have longed for the end of this deployment truly before it ever even started. But my "good morning" emails and my inbox being flooded at times with photos and new journal entries to read over multiple cups of coffee ... while they've not always left smiles on my face, but many times tears on my cheeks ... they have truly been some of the best gifts I've ever received.
Here at the end of a very challenging 15 months of our life, I think Richard and I can both look back and know that while it was crazy, we embraced every moment the best we could. And although apart, our lens and our words kept us connected over the miles. I know there were days he didn't feel like writing ... like remembering. Yeah, I had those days, too. But we didn't always have phone calls and we maybe face-timed all of 20 min combined, so good ol' fashioned written words were all we had. Looking back, I see the amazing gift in that.
Continuing to embrace it all these last few days as we prepare to welcome him home, and not forgetting the gift we have of being able to do so.