My lover left Afghanistan yesterday after being deployed there for a year. He's now safely in another country, where he'll spend a few days outprocessing with the military, before going to another country, lather, rinse, repeat. It's probably another 10 days or so before he gets here.
I can finally breathe. I'm starting to cry. It's safe to cry now that he's Not There anymore.
Say what you wish about war. "It sucks" is as fine a place as any to start. But when it's your loved one there, you don't actually let go until your loved one is on the way back safely. My loved one was confined to a big military base while he was there, but it was still There. Rocket attacks, attempts to break security on base, suicide bombers. (Nothing that got near him, but it's as much luck as anything.)
I've been through a lot since he left. Big life stuff. People who I'd trusted for decades suddenly turning untrustworthy, or downright unsafe. Big family stuff, his and mine.
But now he's Not There any more. I can let go and cry, really cry. I can grieve all the shit that's happened, and the people who hurt me or left me, and the loneliness and the oh-my-god-will-it-never-end-ness of it. I can let go because when he gets off the plane he'll be walking off eagerly, instead of being carried out in a box.