Monday, March 7, 2011

Things I Can't Do

I can't do sad songs or some very random things while my husband is deployed. The silliest things make me start to choke up. Daddy's with their kids out and about is a recent one. If someone is crying on TV I get teary. (I still don't know what's up with that one, that started while I was pregnant!) I can't do shows like Coming Home, I cried the entire preview commercial I saw for it. Yes it's a happy occasion for these people but for me it's just a reminder that our own homecoming is a long way off still and it's entirely a possibility that we won't have one.

I know it may sound pessimistic to those of you who aren't related to military in some way but to those of us who are it's more just a fact of life. You never really think you'll be 21 the first time you have to talk to your husband about what they'd like their funeral arrangements to be. I know for a fact 21 wasn't when my husband thought he'd be having to think about it either. I remember days before he left for the first deployment he went on having to cover this situation and all I could do was try to crack jokes. They were some morbid jokes to say the least, but it's the only way I could cope with the situation at the time.

I can't watch the news. It bothers me to hear about all the conflicts going on, not just in the area my husband is serving in but everywhere. It's a fact that you'll worry ten times more than you normally would too if you try to keep up with the current affairs in the area you're husband is in. Every little thing will have you wondering if they're ok. Needless to say I have NO idea what is going on in the News world while he's gone and whenever someone tries to ask me about something I'm usually clueless. What little news I do receive is via military communities and some of it is extremely heartbreaking.

There's sort of a fall of how certain things work though and how you feel about them. When you're Military, ANY branch of military, you're this giant family. You knock each other all the time, wrestle and argue, but when it's time to get down to business you have each other's backs. It's easy to have an instant camaraderie with someone once you find out you're both involved some way. The other branches are sort of like your cousins, you don't always have to like them but you've got to recognize that you're related. Your branch, it's like your more immediate family, aunts and uncles and the like, the people you have a close relationship to. Your job field and more specifically your unit, those are your brothers and sisters.

When something happens to the cousins you don't really know or talk to, you get upset. When something happens to your aunts and uncles you get heartbroken. And when something happens to your brothers and sisters you feel a great sense of loss.

The shootings that happened recently in Germany were a great example of these stages for me. Finding out that individuals from the US Military were involved was upsetting to me but not something I would necessarily dwell over. Just something I would accept with sadness. Finding out they were Air Force, 'my' branch, was heartbreaking because instantly the possibility of knowing those involved increases a little. Finding out they were from my husband's career field put me and many other wives I know on edge. Instantly you're waiting to see if your phone will ring, waiting for the names to be released, just to see if you know who anyone might be. The realization that that could have been your own husband there makes it worse. It makes it hit closer to home and it's like feeling the bullet whiz by without hitting you. My heart hurts for the wife and families of Senior Airman Nicholas J. Alden and Airman 1st Class Zachary R. Cuddeback.

And while this is how it feels with a situation I could easily call a 'near miss', I can't even begin to imagine how it would feel to be the one getting the bad news. I am terrified of men in Blues coming to my door. When I first got married and was living in base housing I was woken by the door one day by two people in ABUs, and while I had just gotten out of the bed my husband was still laying in I have to admit my heart stopped for a moment when I opened the door. It took me a moment to process that A) These people weren't in Blues and B) My husband was asleep in bed, but you can see how it sits with me. I've had some of my husband's co-worker pop by the house while in uniform and have seriously yelled at them for scaring me. They think it's hilarious, obviously me? Not so much.

But since I'm talking about all the things I can't do, I'll try to end this on a more positive note. There are a few things I can do: I can miss him with all my heart and love him with all my heart so that when he comes home it feels like the deployment wasn't as long as I thought and instantly just becomes a faded memory. I can cherish every phone call, letter, and email enough that it almost feels like he's not so far away. And I can love our children enough that they will lack for no love while he is gone.

Please say a prayer for SrA Alden and A1C Cuddeback's families tonight.

Defensor Fortis.


KarilynAley said...

i hear you. i'm obsessed with army wives (yea as a wife to a just-turned-civilian i know how "real" it isn't :) but i read the book, too!) but i SOBBED during commercials for Coming Home. it's all fairy tale and i'm happy for those families, but my husband got out of the military when his 5 years was up (December 1) because he couldnt think about leaving our daughter. now, months later, he's still unemployed and contemplating going back in. i'm so scared. but i know about the sacrifice! keep on keeping on and know we all have your back!

Cloth Mommy said...

I am not a Military wife so I can't say I know how you feel. But, my brother is a Marine. Last summer he was hit by a road side bomb and almost didn't make it. He is home now and is doing great. But I remember getting a phone call from my other brother at 5:30am and I knew. He didn't have to tell me. I am a sap and can't watch a simple show like Coming Home without crying. I know it is not the same. I have my DH home with me, but I'm here for you if you ever need a friend. ~Annette

Pandora's Cardboard Box said...

It's close enough, Annette. You get it. You're family through him. You don't have to be a wife to understand. You just have to love someone in the military.

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