31 May 2012

A Mile In My Shoes

Tonight, as I was driving back from picking up dinner, I watched a C-130 circle around our apartment, wheels out, as it readied for its landing on McChord field. I wondered to myself if that was the same C-130 that would be taking my husband off on another of his grand adventures.

One of the questions I am asked most often is, "How do you do it?" Do what? How do I stand slipping into a cold bed at night, knowing that there's not going to be anyone there to warm it up? Or how do I stand listening to my two year old son walking around the house calling for his daddy? Or is it how do I manage to get up in the morning, listening to the news for any sign of trouble, while pretending that everything is okay? There's really only one answer: it's because you don't have a choice.

That's what most non-Military families fail to understand. We don't do this because we're special, because we think we're somehow better than others, because for some reason, we're stronger (mentally and emotionally) than the average person. It's because for us, there's no other option. Sure, I could choose to stay in bed all day, sleeping away the length of time he's gone, sinking into a depression that can only be reversed with his coming home. I won't lie, some days, that's exactly what I want to do, until I hear my two year old start waking up in his room, giggling and talking, and I know it's time to start a new day. My one night of self-pity is over. It's time to carry on.

My husband is at war. He's not sitting in some nice, cushy jet flying to a week long business meeting, or travelling to some exotic location for a company getaway. He's in a war zone, carrying a gun. There is every chance that he could be shot or worse. Those are the harsh realities we face everyday. What I wouldn't give to have him lying on a beach somewhere instead of in 60 pounds of gear that's meant to save his life.

When a civilian looks my husband in the eye and says, "Thank you for your service", they fail to see the tears shed the night he leaves. They don't see the missed birthdays and anniversaries. They don't see the last goodbye's, the midnight Skype calls, the worry or the dread, the absolute heart ache.

Most of you will never understand what this life is like, and I pray everyday that you never have to. 

1 comment:

  1. *hug*

    i couldn't think of anything more appropriate because, there just isn't anything.