Saying goodbye was nothing like I thought it was going to be. I had been told by many that saying goodbye was going to be the hardest thing I will ever do. That nothing could prepare me for today. That it was going to be much like a funeral and that I would feel like a piece of my heart was missing. Was it hard? YES! Was it like everyone had tried to prepare me for? No! Let me explain...
The week prior to Andrew leaving was rough! Jake had to travel for work...WORST TIMING EVER!
The kids all went back to school...WORST TIMING EVER, and the stomach flu hit our house...can we say it again...WORST TIMING EVER!! Oh and lets not forget Grandma (whom I would usually depend on in such a disaster) was enjoying a much need vacation for her birthday.
I felt like everything was working against us. Nothing seemed to be going our way and just when I would think things looked as though they were going to turn around and that things were starting to look up...something else would go wrong or someone else would start throwing up...including my missionary. Seriously talk about stressful!
I didn't know how I was going to handle everything. I could barely hold it together and my list of to do's seemed never ending. I was a mess...like looney toon mess. I could barely look at my missionary without bursting into tears. I was falling apart and if I was falling apart the week before he left how was I going to be the day he left? The thought scared me!
I knew I needed help. I knew I couldn't handle everything on my own and I knew the answer to who could help me. I needed to get down on my knees and ask for my Heavenly Father to help comfort me, to let me know that everything was going to be o.k.
My prayers were answered almost instantly. I knew I needed a blessing and who better to help give me one than my cute soon to be missionary. What a blessing it was to know that even when my husband was gone I could call on him. I also knew I needed to visit the temple and thanks to some very special angels (my sweet friends Renée and Aimee) I was able to drop everything and do just that.
I will forever be grateful I was able to attend the temple one last time with Drew before he left.
I knew as I left the temple that everything was going to be o.k. That he was doing what our Heavenly Father wanted him to do and that he would be watched over.
Later that evening Drew was set apart and received the most beautiful blessing from our Stake President. I left feeling excited for Drew. I knew he was anxious to go and serve and I knew he was going to be an AMAZING missionary. I had no doubt in my mind.
The next morning I awoke calm as I hadn't been in days. He was already awake and had already taken on the roll of being a missionary. He was up when he was supposed to, he had said his prayers, exercised, studied and was ready to get on his way.
We had talked to Drew about all going to the airport and he had decided this would be a little too rough, not just on him but everybody else as well. We decided to let everyone decide how they wanted to say goodbye.
Sammie, Alex and Bridger chose to say goodbye at home. We knew this was the right choice for everyone involved ;) .
Christian decided to go to the airport and I am so glad he did.
What an amazing experience. When we entered the airport there was a sea of missionaries. Too many to count. Many had their name tags on as they had just left the MTC and were heading to their assigned missions. Many others were like Drew and were headed to MTC's outside of Utah. The feeling that was there was unbelievable. I couldn't help but be excited for each of these young men and women as they were about to embark on their new and exciting journeys.
We checked Drew in and hugged him tight for the last few minutes we had with him. I didn't want to let go of him, in fact I remember telling him this. I also told him how proud I was of him, that I would miss him terribly and that I loved him. It was after this that Jake asked him if he was ready. He replied yes and with a turn he was gone. He was ready...He was excited, I know a little nervous but he was excited! He has waited his whole life for this day and it was now here and he was ready.
We watched him make it through security and just like that he disappeared.
This was the moment I had dreaded. The moment that everyone tells you will never be prepared for.
It was here...he was gone.
To my surprise I was not left with an empty feeling. There was no hole in my heart and I was not on the ground sobbing like a baby. Instead I was left with the most amazing peaceful feeling. A feeling that I to this day hope I never forget. Where I had thought that empty feeling in my heart would be was instead the most warm and comforting feeling. I know he is going to be ok, I know he is being watched over and I know that the people of Paraguay are going to love him.
I know he is where he is supposed to be.
Someone once told me that she wished she still had a missionary out serving. She explained to me that she missed the feeling that was felt in their home while her children were serving and the blessings they received as a family while they were gone.
I now know what she meant. I don't want this feeling to ever go away.