Friday, October 9, 2015
October, I love fall. I love the smell of it, everything about fall and October always starts fall for me. In 2011 in 29 Palms October was the month that no longer represented fall for me. It represented homecoming from one of the toughest deployments I was ever close to. I say that because as a spouse during this deployment I was all in. One day I was doing the dishes and my husband came home and said, "Hey babe, would you want to be the advisor on the command team?" and I, having no idea what that would mean said, "sure" I really don't want to go in to the deployment that year, if you are interested you can go to the archives and read my blog from 2011. It started in April and it ended in October. But for me and the other spouses that made up the family readiness team of 3/4 during that 7 months our bonds were formed and that time cemented us together forever. Being an advisor during a tough deployment means you are privy to everything, every PCR (Casualty Report), every thing. You are not to talk about them with others because of PII, you are pretty much just walking around with knowledge you can't share and it hurts to know that others in your battalion are hurting and you can't reach out unless they ask for help or you know them personally. I was fortunate enough to know some of our fallen families enough to be able to do whatever I could to help, some of our wounded, but really, what can you do? What words can you say? What is there to make any of that better? All you can do is be there, just be there, some times in silence, not crying, it's not your pain, it belongs to them, it's selfish to make it about you, you have to stay strong, for them..they don't need to comfort you at this time, that isn't their job. I have not one single regret about not one single day, not one single tear shed in my car on the way home from a funeral, from the hospital, alone in my room. But it's always this time in October, this time when they came home, except for those 5 ...those 5 Marines we think about all the time, and those still fighting, those missing limbs and those families, those amazing families with grace unprecedented, every October.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Ok so we made it to Camp Pendleton. I was really ready to hate it here. To not be happy. I was so happy at Quantico, I had a great house, a great gym, friends that didn't demand too much time from me but that were there at all the appropriate times and vice versa. My son was there, at TBS and he came by on the weekends and some days during the week. It was really my little slice of heaven on the east coast. Then the Marine Corps, well, the Corps broke it's promise. Our orders clearly stated that we would be there for 2 years, and by my calculations we had only been there a year, sorry Corps.....your math is wrong. I forgot Semper Gumby for a moment, I railed against the broken promise, I acted like a novice Marine Corps spouse that didn't know how often the Corps can do that to you...do what you ask? Put the mission first of course. And so as ordered I begrudgingly helped my husband load up the truck and move to Beverly...well Pendleton but that isn't in the song..so ya.... Ok so we have been here a little over a month, almost two. And I have to say. I love it. Ok so how do you go from fear and loathing to love? You do what every good military wife does.......you bloom where you are planted. I put on my big girl pants, looked out my window of our beautiful condo we are renting.....and there was the beach (normally I HATE the beach) and decided to love it...and you know what. It worked. Attitude is an amazing thing, it can change you, and how you feel about anything and I decided to love it here. Not only for me, but for my family. I will let you in on a little secret. When I am not happy, my husband is miserable, he loves me, and not in a shallow, romance novel way. But in a deep down to his bones kind of way and I will tell you this is a mutual love. If he is not happy I am miserable as well. Thing is he tends to be a very positive person where I linger on the more pessimistic side. So back to the story. I didn't want to make my unhappiness make him miserable so I did what I needed to do to find a way to be happy here. I embraced the beach, our neighborhood and our home. It truly is beautiful here. We live a few blocks from the beach (we live off base) our home is beautiful and we can walk everywhere. It's really been nice. I still yearn for the east coast but this is where my home is now and I am going to be happy. My son is still at TBS, he should pick back up on his training soon. I miss him but he is happy and that makes me happy. I am still in pain over the loss of our Shin. I am dumbstruck at the depth of pain losing him has caused. I just had no idea losing him would be as tough as it was. He was old, he had an amazing life, he was loved and cared for and he was sick. He was losing his ability to breath and he wasn't thriving so it was time, I have no doubt about that. In my life I have lost a sister, my mother and many people I have loved and to put Shins death among the grief I felt at losing them is not lost on me. But it is what it is. My husband told me that I should stop questioning my grief and stop trying to rationalize it. I feel what I feel. I miss him terribly. I find myself crying for him a lot. Not as much as I did but I am still crying. He was with us for 13 1/2 years. He was my only companion when my son left for college and my husband constantly deployed. I spent a lot of time with him and taking long walks. I shared a lot of my fears with him when my husband was deployed, I cried on his soft fur when my son left for college and he always knew when I was sad, he would walk right over to me and put his head in my lap, that was just the kind of dog he was. He didn't just do that for me, he did that for all of us. I hope that he knew that he meant the world to us, I hope he felt half the love he gave in return. I hope that I can be the person he thought I was. I don't know if I can ever get another dog, I don't know if I would ever be able to look at another dog and not think he's not Shin. Jeez even as I type this I am crying. Its true what they say, the only fault in dogs is that they don't live long enough. Ok well that is all I have for now. I really think I need to start blogging more again, I have promised myself to try and I will. I don't think anyone is even reading anymore but that is ok. I will still write, for me, for my family that maybe will read this one day. Have a great day everyone......
Sunday, July 5, 2015
I think at this point I may just be writing for myself. That is ok, this blog was started for my own thoughts a few years ago any how so if that is where I am now that is ok. If anyone is still out there reading , thank you for coming back by. I am still on this crazy journey, the ride has changed a bit, the passengers have hopped on and off but still it moves forward. Ok, so where does life find me as of today. Ok as of today, July 5th, 2015 I am sitting aboard Quantico MCB getting ready to head to Camp Pendleton in a few weeks with my husband....yes, after only one year the Marine Corps is sending up back across this great nation once again. So big changes this past year....ok, we left 29 Palms, Greg started and finished Command and Staff College with his Masters in Military Studies. He did very well (I wasn't surprised at all by this) and what was supposed to be a 2 year duty station turned in to a 1 year duty station. I have to say I was not happy about that at all. There are many reasons why, I love it here. I love our house, our neighbors, the gym and the biggest reason of all is because as of May our son is here at TBS (The Basic School) for 6 months. So it took me a few weeks to accept we were leaving and with the help of Michael and Greg I accepted it was for the best, Michael was after all going to try to get stationed in California as well. Well fast forward 7 weeks after Michael started TBS ...... he breaks his foot .... and now he is set back at least 7 weeks in his training. So long story short, things didn't work out the way I had hoped they would but there is really nothing I can do about it and well....SEMPER GUMBY and all that. On s good note, Michael seems to be handling his set back well, he is working in the head shed while he recovers and is looking forward to resuming his training. He was doing very well with his Platoon and was pretty heart broken to have to leave but such is life. I would say the year here in Quantico overall was great, with the exception of what heartbreaking thing. In May we lost our beloved Shin. After 13 1/2 years and all our travels our poor beloved fur child just couldn't continue on our journey with us. It goes without saying that our lives were shattered in a way we didn't understand was possible and we haven't been the same since. Although time has lessened the pain the loss is still with us and we will never forget our boy. There are no words to express to you what he meant to us, what we lost when he left this earth. If there is a heaven I know that he is there and like the saying goes, if there are no dogs in heaven I do not wish to go there. Well I hope to continue writing as I deal with once again leaving our son in a few weeks, it's been so amazing having him close by. I had so wished to be able to be here with him while he continued his journey at TBS .....but our journey leads us to Calif......stay tuned.
Friday, January 30, 2015
I love the snow. The Marine Corps has taken us many places but mostly to places that do not have snow in the forecast. When we first got orders to Quantico my excitement was not containable, and a large part of that was because of SNOW! So here I am...just about to enter February..and where is the snow??? I mean we have had some dustings but nothing of significance and it's frustrating. I grew up in Pa and I just want the kind of snow we had back in the day. I will just sit here patiently waiting. Hoping and praying for some of that white stuff. PS..this light hearted post is brought to you by the blogger that hammered you all with that depressing post last week. Have a great day everyone!! Let it SNOW!!!!!
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Military Wife…It’s the loss the hurts I read a lot of articles written by military wives. There are times when I relate, a little. There are more often times I feel like I am a stranger in a strange land and I do not relate to most things I read of my “life” as a military wife. I don’t relate to how “hard” it is. Life is hard in general, no matter what your spouse’s profession is. Do we go it alone a lot; yes we do…is that hard? It can be…but really, there are things in life a lot harder. I guess for me being part of this life seems to me a privilege. I get to share this life with my husband; it’s an honor for me. To every day live in the presence of those who decided to serve their country. I try not to dwell too much on the hard parts that to me aren’t all that hard. Everything is of course about perception, perceptions based on each individuals life experiences. Maybe for me it’s not that hard. I came up in life tough, learned to fend for myself early, never expected life to be easy. When I married my husband, he had just stepped foot out of boot camp. When he left for boot camp I wasn’t too sure I would be there when he came back. I knew what this life meant. My father was a Marine, my mother was a young widow when he was cut down in Vietnam at the ripe old age of 25, my mom had two kids, my sister (5) and me, 8 months old. My older sister was also married to a Marine; he was hardly ever around, because even in peacetime, Marines are gone … a lot. When I say it isn’t hard please don’t confuse that with I don’t miss him or worry. I miss everything about him, about us, when he is gone. Always have. I can tell you that there were times I would cry because his absence was felt so deeply that there was not a single person in the entire world that could fill that absence except him. He is my best friend, has been for over 20 years. I tell him everything and vice versa, I am not sure about the term “soul mates” but if such a thing exists surely it is he and I. Do I worry, yes? But that isn’t a one-way street. Ask any Marine how much he worries about his family when he is sitting in the most dangerous piece of property in Afghanistan…. they worry just as much about their families…. this is a fact. So back to what my point was when I began this. Today like a lot of days I started reading stories on military wife blogs, and articles from military spouse magazines, desperately trying to connect to something and as usual it just wasn’t happening. Who are these ladies? I recognize them of course, but more like a long lost cousin I met once at a wedding never to be seen again but certainly recognizable in family photo albums. Then it hit me, I know why I am not connecting…. because no one is talking about what for me…. the single thing that has defined me the most as a military spouse, the hardest… The loss. When was the last time I knew any one old that died? That was in a tragic accident? That had their life changed forever? I couldn’t think of one. But that can’t be true…. As I checked down the list….nope, nope, nope……not one in at least 15 years….. In the years since the wars started, and not just the wars, my husbands time in service we have lost and or witnessed tragedy to our friends countless times. This thought was trigged by yet another loss of a beautiful young woman, a military wife that served in my husbands unit and also as a spouse in the unit I was a FRO. She was killed in a car accident. So young, the mother of 3 small children …gone. And then I stared to think about all the other losses, Marines killed in these wars we knew, Marines wounded and dismembered, Marines killed in accidents, their wives that had tragic life ending accidents while their husbands were deployed that we knew. All of them, all their faces, hit me and I realized all this loss has taken a toll on me. This is what has been hard for me being a military spouse. The single hardest thing. We don’t really talk about that. Does anyone else think about it? Is it hard on other spouses? I don’t know if this is the same in the civilian community, it has been so long that I have been in the civilian community I just don’t know…but I know for the military community this is real, and relevant. And unspoken. I am weary from it. My heart is heavy from it. Maybe that is why everything else seems so petty, and unimportant. I guess what I will continue to do is let those families of those we lost know that their loved ones absence has left a mark on me. That I will do what I can to remember them, so others remember them. I will volunteer when I can to assist our wounded, those still fighting their battles and try to pay back a little with my time that they gave of their blood. I know loss is a part of life, but some experience more then others and our life, this military life seems to experience a lot of young lives lost. So next time we are complaining about something that really isn’t that big of a deal, maybe we should shift our focus and remember how lucky we are to not be counted among those that have gone too soon. To cherish those we have while we have them. To talk about and remember those gone, to celebrate their lives and stay in touch with their families. To offer a hand or reach out to someone that was wounded. To call that Marine that lost his wife and is now a single parent and see how they are doing. I love being a military wife, I have little to complain about. But the loss, that is the hardest. But also what I have learned my greatest lessons from.