Since this Sunday, I have wavered back and forth between remaining in denial and comprehending that I am actually leaving for two years.
Clouds have rolled in and covered the sunny summer sky up here in Two Harbors, turning my thoughts inward and forward. Tomorrow I will have to say goodbye to my sister's family. The next time I see them, my nephews (now 4 and 1.5) will be 6 and almost 4. I will have a new niece who will be almost 2.
In all the difficulties of living overseas, this is near the top of the list: saying goodbye and being away from family. Sometimes I wonder why on Earth I would be chosen and sent. I am so close to my family and that makes it so much harder to be away. Thankfully it's not in my own strength that I will carry on.
I know how the next few days will go down, because I have done them before. We will do fun things in an attempt to have great final memories with each other, but the coming change will loom over our time together, casting a shadowy pall over all the fun we could have had. (Wow. This sounds horribly depressing. It is, however, an accurate picture of what it is like for me and my family.) I'm thankful that we have stored up plenty of wonderful memories that aren't tainted by the fact that I am leaving. And I have certainly been blessed during my time at home.
"If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your right hand will hold me fast." And with that, I know that I will be more than fine.