Sadness, joy, excitement, nervousness, gratitude....
Matt had his final flight, we welcomed home his brother from a 9-month deployment, we celebrated Matt's birthday, Matt had his first real post-Army-career interview, we were farewelled by Matt's unit and this past week we were joined by 40 of our friends and family to celebrate Matt's retirement.
By Wednesday of this week my parents and sister, Matt's parents, grandparents, and brother, and many other family members converged upon little old Lacey, Washington to help honor Matt in his retirement. As our family and friends filtered in to the retirement ceremony venue, it was an amazing feeling to look across a sea of people and know so many of them had travelled great distances and taken time off work just to be there that day to honor Matt.
As Matt, the boys and I sat together on the front row, listening to the invocation, the anthem and speeches, it become very real that this moment was our last formal military function. And when the band played The Army Song and Auld Lang Syne tears made their tracks down my cheeks.
Something that seemed so very far away for so long was finally upon us.
20 years of service and the race is completed.
Following the ceremony we enjoyed a great dinner where a few people honored Matt with heartfelt speeches and then Matt closed out the night by thanking those who have been with us along this journey. The next day a group of people went golfing with Matt and we ended the two-day celebration with dinner with everyone that was still left in town.
It really was two full days of celebration.
Saturday morning I had to make a quick trip to the store for some last minute items and I found myself, for the first time since Wednesday night, truly alone. As I drove down the road the gravity of what had just happened hit me.
This. Is. It.
The time was served, aircraft landed, medals awarded, final flag was given, the last song sung and the people have gone home.
This chapter of our lives is complete.
It was a good one.
It ended well.