Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Military Wife Random Thoughts...It's the Loss that Hurts
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.