In my 16 years in the Air Force I’ve been sent to a lot of interesting places. Some trips were short, others lengthy. Some locations were beautiful, others made you wonder why humans had ever settled there. But the one thing that all deployments have in common is they make you say goodbye to family.
Saying goodbye made me realize that I might not come back, and that realization made me want to tie up all my loose ends. I would hide bottles of wine and cards for my wife’s birthday, our anniversary, and Valentine’s Day, then I would email her the hidden location on each holiday.
Saying goodbye also prompted me to tell my kids how proud I was of them, and that I knew they had what it takes to succeed. Your family should never be left wondering what you thought about them.
Whether you’re deploying to a combat zone or commuting to the office, tell them everything you ever wanted to say. Write it to them in a letter if you’re not good with words or if they live far away. Just make sure you say it now before you say goodbye.