November 05 2017
Our return to the United States was a little unusual, even for our community. We had to drive from Sasebo to Yokota Air Base to take a military flight back to SeaTac where our car was being stored so we could drive to Washington, D.C. For the kids counting at home, that’s a total of TWO cross-country road trips on TWO continents AND a trans-Pacific flight.
I’d like to say we enjoyed the adventure and had a blast… we really do love road trips and being in the car together… but this one was different. We were missing Cesar. We did our best to make it a good time for Georgie but it didn’t feel the same without Cesar. Everything was just off. Wrong. Incomplete. He was supposed to be there in the back seat, tooting until we gagged, keeping George’s ears clean, snoring blissfully unaware of the snow covered mountains and the miles of bright blue sky.
After he left, we were swamped with obligations and preparations for the move and really only allowed ourselves to mourn during the silent moments before sleep. Then, sitting quietly in the car, just the three of us, it was impossible to ignore the huge, gaping hole of grief we found ourselves in. You think you’re going to be with someone forever and then they’re just gone. Just like that. It fucking hurts.
Poor George. We have become more over-protective, more up-his-ass than we ever were before. A lot of of it is fear… fear of losing him, too; fear of more pain. On the road trip from Sasebo to Yokota, we originally planned to have them ride in their travel crates to prepare them for the flight. It would have been ok if there were two but since it was just George, it seemed mean and we couldn’t do it. We set up the hammock and let him ride in the backseat.
We stopped at MCAS Iwakuni the first night of our trip. The base felt like a ghost town but the newness of everything impressed us. The hotel was very nice and we appreciated that they chose to market the stairwell as a “pet entrance” rather than saying pets weren’t allowed in the elevators. The Air Force should take note. George was supposed to sleep in his crate but ended up nestled in with me instead. Cesar, always a big fan of hotel accommodations, would have enjoyed the big, soft bed.
Departing Iwakuni was a challenge. We got mixed up and turned around with all the construction and spent an hour trying to navigate a detour to the temporary exit gate. Not a great way to start the day but once we made it back to the highway, it was smooth sailing all the way to the hotel on Yokota. Or so we thought…