This morning I woke up in the middle of the bed. I was sprawled out, taking up my entire queen sized mattress all by myself, with my hands dangling off one end and my feet hanging off the other, my head right in the middle, nestled between the pillows.
This means two things. A.) I actually got some restful sleep for a change. 2.) I'm once again getting used to sleeping in bed alone, without my husband. Adjusting to his absence is something that happens gradually after he leaves. So gradually that I don't even really realize it's happening until I wake up one morning not expecting to see him lying next to me, or I find myself forgetting what it feels like to be wrapped up in his arms.
It's small things at first, like not looking for the kinds of food he likes at the grocery store, and not picking up the phone to call or text him because I know he won't get it. And then one day it hits me like a ton of bricks. Not only is he gone, but he's been gone so long that I'm used to him being gone. And I hate that.
I hate not feeling like he just left and he'll be back soon. I hate the empty feeling I get every time I crawl into bed by myself. I hate that I have to routinely shake the dust from his favorite hat, which sits on top of the dresser in our room, and that all of his clothes hang undisturbed in our closet. And I really, really hate that I'm more used to missing him than I am to having him here.
Every time my husband leaves, whether it's to go overseas or just back to Texas, it devastates me. I go through a long, drawn out grieving process. As painful as that is, it's even more painful when I realize that he's been gone so long, I've settled into the "acceptance" stage of my grief. The good thing is, every time I start getting used to him being gone, he comes back. And while my head might adjust to his absence while he's away, my heart never will.