"I didn't really realize I could miss a human being as much as I miss him now. But we're very proud of him," says Lezli Thompson.
She has been married for twenty eight years. Her husband, Col. Jeffrey Thompson, Commander of the 7th Medical Group at Dyess, is deployed overseas and missing Christmas for the first time.
"He's always been here. I mean there wasn't a Christmas that he wasn't here. And now that he's gone, it's sad," says their son.
Lezli keeps reminders of him in every room of the house.
She says, "Just having his physical presence in the home is so comforting."
And she's left certain items exactly how her husband left them, untouched. Reminders of what she misses most this holiday.
"Just knowing that he's here. We just have to find a new way to make memories with him," says Thompson.
A sentimental framed cross-stitch hangs by the door. It's the first thing they hang up in a new house after each military move.
Thompson says, "Now that he's deployed it just has special meaning to us and that he will return to us with honor. Not necessarily military awards or ribbons just the fact he went and did what he was supposed to do for his country and returns to his family with honor. That's very special to us."
With the support of their family and their church family, and some skyping and care packages mixed in, she says they are doing well. During Thanksgiving, which was the first official holiday Col. Thompson missed, the family went to visit friends in Tuscola. They are doing the same for Christmas.
"Well this is the first time that I've done this and I had always sort of underestimated how difficult it was. I would just like to tell the spouses that have gone through it before me, that have made it look so easy, how proud I am of them," says Thompson.
Col. Thompson is due back home sometime in April.