The Final Day (Day 31)

Day 31 – Leave

It is the last Friday in October. The final word for write 31 days is Leave.

It was finally time to leave Afghanistan and head back to the real world. I was so excited about going home, but first, there was a lot of waiting to do. We left the Forward Operating Base about a few days before our plane was supposed to leave for Manas AF, but right after we arrived at Bagram AF we found out our flight was delayed 4 days. 4 more days of waiting, 4 more days of dirt, 4 more days of living out of suitcases.

And then finally it was the day we were to leave. We packed up all our gear and waited for it to be time to go through security to go home. Our flight was delayed a few hours so we had time to get one last meal. Then it was time to go through security. We had to have a full-body scan and then everything was taken out of our suitcases and then un-ceremonially shoved back in. I was unaware everything would be thrown out and then repacked so my laid out clothes prepared for the next stage were tangled up and unorganized. After waiting in the holding area they said it was time to line up and go. We got halfway to our plane and then were told to turn around.

About 30 minutes later we finally able to board our C-17. Crammed into our seat with bags and gear, but happy because we were finally headed home.

When I left Afghanistan, I had a lot of bitterness and hurt feelings. There were many things that happened that forced me to grow and learn about the world and people the hard way. I was opened up to ugliness by teammates and a part of who I am changed. I guess time really does heal all wounds. These last 31 days of reflection has caused a few crazy dreams and hidden memories. I have three great friends from the deployment I talk to at least once a week. I would not trade them for anything. Every day spent in Afghanistan and dealing with different cultures (military, afghan, and more) and difficult situations was worth these friends. When I left, I never thought there would be a time in my life where I could look back and not feel the hurt and frustration, but my friends changed all that. I now have mainly happy memories and have blocked out a lot of the bad. These 31 days of writing ended up being much more than I expected. Iā€™m so glad I was able to share my story and I hope you enjoyed it too.

Have you ever had to go through something difficult, but looking back you can see the positives?

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10 comments on “The Final Day (Day 31)

  1. Yes, I have gone through quiet the journey of moving, getting jobs and loosing jobs and moving again in hopes of another job. 2.5 years with 4 addresses and unknown future. Looking back, I know it all had to happen for me to be where I am now. It sucked. But I learned a lot. I know who to depend on and who to trust.

    • i learned a lot about trusting people as well. Sometimes life isn’t fun, but what we learn often makes it worth it.

  2. I think about my life – and every difficult moment. There is not one that hasn’t revealed something beneficial or taught me something of great value. I’m (slowly) learning how to embrace the challenging times more quickly, fall to my knees in prayer more willingly, and celebrate during rather than long after.

    • Sometimes it is easier for me to write the life truths than to actually understand them in my daily life. I’m slowly learning too.

  3. Thank you for this post on “leave.” I loved reading about your story of leaving Afghanistan and how bittersweet it all was for you. Leaving looks so different for each of us. Visiting from FMF. Blessings to you this day.

    • Luckily I wasn’t a Mom until a few years after the deployment. The deployment was a huge factor in why I decided to get out. I don’t know how Moms do it. They are truly rock stars.

  4. Oh yes! I have had to block out a lot of bad… but really – I think it’s not so much blocked out as that God covers it with grace and you can look back and not feel the sting so much if at all. I am happy to hear you’re in this place of finding peace with the experience of Afghanistan – it will always be a big and important part of your life, but you clearly have so much life in you to live and give moving forward!!

    • Very true. God created us as humans to remember the good and forget the bad. It is amazing how our mind works that way. šŸ™‚ I’m loving the life God has blessed me with an I hope I can encourage others along the way.

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