I'll never forget the day Stephen left for BMT. It was June 29th, 2010. His mom, his brother, and I drove with him to Crestview that day. We left really early to go to Duke Field for his in processing. We all waited for about 2 hours while they did that. Then we had time to kill before their flight left. He had enlisted with his best friend, Bryan. They both left that day for bmt. Bryan's mom and his son, Aden were there that day they left too. We all went to Olive Garden and had lunch. After lunch we had time to kill, so we went to the little air force museum right outside of Eglin AFB. It was during this time that I finally allowed it to sink in that he was leaving. I wanted time to just freeze. I spend that hour trying my best to hold back tears. I held his hand tight and just didn't want to let go. I didn't want him to walk away even for 2 seconds! When we got in the car to drive to the FWB airport I thought I was going to throw up! We got to the airport and although there was more time to kill before the flight we couldn't really go inside with them and had to say our goodbyes at the curb. That was one of the hardest moments of my life. I could already feel the tears coming! I stood back and watched first as he said goodbye to his mom and brother, and when it came my turn I could no longer fight those tears. When he wrapped his arms around me that was it, I bawled. I didn't want to let go! I was ready to call the recruiter and tell him too bad, the AF just couldn't have him! But we managed to pull it together... It helped that the ever humorous, Shawn, started singing to lighten the mood! I'll probably never forget that moment either! My heart broke. We watched him walk inside then had to make the 45 minute drive back home and I had to get myself together to go to work. I've never felt pain like I did that day. I literally thought I would die! 8 and a half weeks seemed endless.
For that first 2 weeks I cried at the drop of a hat. Any mention of Stephen, any talk of anything military, even normal little things at work that normally wouldn't phase me sent me to tears. I think people at work thought I was crazy! I've never cried at work before, and there I was standing in the kitchen crying my eyes out! The next day, he got 30 seconds to call to give me his address. He sounded awful, sick, tired, sad.. of course there I was at work again, standing at the wait station crying! That weekend they got their first phone call for 5 minutes. He couldn't even manage to call. He sent me a few texts, but said he couldn't hold it together enough to call. Of course, more tears on my end!
I know this sounds horrible, but it did gradually get better. I won't say I never cried again, but once the first 2 weeks passed, it seemed more bearable. I didn't cry as often or as easily, mostly just after he called, or when I had a bad day at work and wished he was there with me. I kept busy, and the time flew right by! I measured time in phone calls and in weeks til graduation! Before I knew it I was booking my flight and hotel for graduation.. and THEN.. it was finally Wednesday, August 25th, and several meltdowns, a minor degree change, class schedule overhaul, and whirlwind packing spree later, I left Natty dog with a close friend and I boarded the plane at Pensacola Regional Airport with Stephen's dad to FINALLY head to San Antonio! I was so excited, yet so nervous!!