A dear friend posted an article on her Facebook page today. It was an article from Stars and Stripes, profiling a war widow caught between trying to move on and keeping her husband's memory alive for their children. Heartbreaking, beautifully poignant and haunting. A tear jerker, for sure. It also makes me realize just how blessed our family is.
You see, my husband celebrates his 20 year anniversary as a Sailor next week. He has gone from E-1 to O-3. He has done 5 or 6 major deployments, several NORLANTs, and spent too many days underway doing workups or missle shoots to possibly count. He's missed Christmas, birthdays (oh, the birthdays he's missed!), funerals and weddings. He's missed our children's milestones, parent teacher conferences, and, now, teenage angst.
But, thank the Lord above, he has not been IA'd. He's not been in combat. I don't know what it is like to have a husband on the front lines, gone for 18 months at a time. I've not really worried about uniformed visitors knocking on my door in the middle of the night. Or that terrible, terrible phone call that might come from parts unknown. And for that, I am so very, very thankful.
I am thankful to those families who do know what this is like. I am thankful for those men and women who made their decision to be combat troops and put themselves in danger. I am thankful for the spouses and families left behind to worry, fret and panic. My heart is heavy for them, my eyes tear imagining their heartbreak and fears. And I secretly wonder how I could ever be as strong as those women: raising their children, running their homes, planning meals and careers with the added, unbelievable stress of wondering if today would be the day their doorbell rings. And I secretly wonder how I would keep it all together should the unimaginable happen. How could I carry on without my husband, if he were to never return.
From one MilSpouse to another, they have my utmost respect and love. And my wish that these wars end soon, and that their loved one comes home.
Here is the link to the article, "For One War Widow, Moving On is a Marathon." Please take a moment of your time and read this. And then, give your spouse an extra tight hug tonight.
image via stripes.com, Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post