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Thursday, January 6, 2011

D-Day

I'm asked often by family, and 'non military' friends what it is like having your husband gone. It's usually rather funny because either days earlier or weeks later they will complain that their husbands are going on a fishing trip, or have to travel for work for a few days, or even better... they have to work late tonight, and they have it so hard. I try really hard not to laugh and I really want to sympathize, but it's not easy. Sometimes I want to scream. I will try to express as best I can to express the hearts' of military wives...
This is a picture of the good times. One of my dearest and best BFF's. What a sweet kiss her husband stole at the Marine Corps Ball this year. He just left for another deployment. Another yes, less than a year ago he just got home from a 12 month deployment to Iraq, he's gone again for another 7 this time to Afghanistan. They 3 children and have been married 18 years.
This is a D-Day photo...Deployment Day. The picture tells the entire story. We met this couple over 10 years ago when our husbands were instructors together. They have 2 children and have been married over 15 years.
What does all of this mean? It means we 100% embrace the great times and 100% embrace the heart ache. A heart ache that cannot be understood by the average person and is only reserved for those that carry the title Military Spouse. We have to kiss our best friends, our babies' fathers, our lover, our mate, our everything one last time holding onto every moment of every breath as if it could be our last because none of us truly know if it is our last moment together. Our spouses do not fly to Vegas for a conference or ride to Daytona for Bike Week. They are gone for months on end, year after year. These men miss the birth of their children, anniversaries, Christmas's, 4 of July and the first day of school. They miss out on their daughters first kiss, the first time their son stood up to a bully, homemade dinners, baseball games, tea parties, teenagers with drivers permit, and new puppies.
We, the military spouses, are repeatedly told that we "were not issued with their sea bags" and are not a priority to the military. We are extra baggage. But we also know that these warriors depend on us to stand strong, carry the torch all the while we also keep the lawn mowed, cars tuned up, bills paid, house clean, laundry done, homework completed, work full time, send care packages, write letters and emails and most of all keep a level head. Especially when the family back home who never sees them falls apart and can't handle the deployment we are there... holding it all together reminding them and reassuring them that God is in control.

We cry ourselves to sleep because the pillow next to us is empty again. We shun away our tears at the dinner table when our son says, "This is Daddy's favorite meal, sure wish he was here to eat it with us." We sometimes go to Wal-Mart or the commissary with a ball cap on and dirty jeans w/ a t-shirt because we truly don't have the energy to take a shower or take care of ourselves because we so busy taking care of everyone and everything else. We build homes with blood sweat and tears, we make trips to the ER for tetanus shots, broken bones and stitches... alone. Holding it all together, praying night after night for a phone call or an email anything to tell us that another day has passed and our warrior is okay. We cringe at the sight of black cars in a friend's driveway, but we are smart enough to plan a head... we have a plan of action for the "what if". And then we pray 24/7 never to use that plan. It's not a simple fire escape route, it's my world has collapsed around me I can no longer breath plan. .
We can't tell you what's really on our hearts because if we speak we won't be able to stop. We appear fearless in the eyes of man, but God truly knows our hearts. He sees our pain, the gaping hole from the missing piece of us that only our spouse can fill. We rely completely and totally on God, it is He who carries us, walks with us and talks us thru each and every deployment.
Thank you for taking a peak into our lives. It's a small picture, but I believe an accurate one.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

You have done a great job putting this in words. Thanks for a peek into the hearts and life of the military wife. This should be sent out for all of America to read.
Mom

Anonymous said...

I have no other word except for AMEN. I agree 100%. Thank G-D for our men and women in uniform and Thank G-D for those of use who love them!

Dory Heesch

Anonymous said...

Colleen, if no one has told you this before... you really need to be paid to write! LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! Nora Jansen

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting it into words. Maureen Domery

Anonymous said...

Colleen, I love this so much. Joe is just about halfway through a 12+ month deployment. By the time he gets home he will have been deployed for 28 months of that last 48, then add another 300 days of TDY and you can see that we rarely ever... see him. I hate the questions of "How do you do it?" or "Man I couldn't do that, how do you hold it all together?" - You hold it together, you move on because that is what you do. You don't have a choice, you love your Soldier (Marine in your case) so much that separation of distance and time is part of the whole kit and caboodle. Love is either strengthened or destroyed in the face of trials and in our cases it is fortified because we know if we can make it through one deployment, then another and another, we can manage anything.

I feel I am stronger and my relationship is stronger than civilian spouses who have never had their heart jump when the phone rings at 2 a.m. and you aren't sure if it is an "official" call from someone bearing bad news or just a wrong number. Other spouses can and will never understand the goosebumps and knots we feel as we see a bus driving up to a hanger or see a plane touch down, knowing in moments we will hug a spouse that has been gone for a year and wondering how the kids will react to him.

I appreciate your blog. It is nice when you can see that there are so many others going through the same thing you are going through.

Tawny Camnpbell

Anonymous said...

Wow! God bless all our military families and keep them safe. Thank you for your honesty and heart felt words. You are truly an amazing God fearing woman that I admire! You really should write a book!

Betsie Gibson

Anonymous said...

Well said. That is everything I have ever thought or felt. Thanks for words to our experience.

Brenna Randel

Anonymous said...

Brought tears to my eyes, Colleen. Very well said. God Bless you all. Thoughts and prayers are with you.
Andrea Makynen

Anonymous said...

Very very good! The only problem is you send this kind of stuff to me when I am raging with prego hormones, so I was bawling my eyes. We miss you and love you guys bunches!!! Amy Francis

Anonymous said...

As I read your blog, tears were streaming down my face....you captured what it means to be a military spouse perfectly!! You are so very elequant with your words Colleen....I LOVE YOU TOO!!!!
Danielle Baker

Anonymous said...

I liken us amazing military spouses to Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightely when hrs becomes Davy Jones. Would rather have one day in 10 years then to never have him again! (sometimes it seems like that long....). ;) Dory Heesch

Anonymous said...

...i am not a crier.....but lord i cried at this...colleen..words cannot express what i feel right now...i love you...i love you.....i love you.....you have my families prayers....always and forever.....

Angel Woliver

Anonymous said...

At this moment i have no words, other than GOD BLESS YOU, I LOVE YOU MY DEAR FRIEND! when i stop sobbing i might have more comments.

Angie

Anonymous said...

You need to send this to Military Family Association to read at the next award presentation. So proud of the work you do and the way you have with words. Mom S.

Anonymous said...

I wish I were there to help out, but all I can offer is prayers and thoughts.
Jeff Stewart

Anonymous said...

i LOVE your blog!!! you put into words what i am feeling!!! my husband is currently deployed and this just hits home!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. It doesn't just mean a lot to have it described, it means everything to me. Thank you for saying what I haven't been able to say all of these years. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

I saw this blog on a friends facebook page. I decided to check it out..it is beautifully written! You definitely capture how many of us Marine Corp wives feel during a deployment. Thank you for putting it into words.

Young Mom/Wife said...

I just wanted to say thank you for writing this. As I read this tears were streaming down my face. My husband recently deployed for the first time, we have been married almost 4 years and have two small kids. It is pretty killer to say the least. It is hard to relate to other wives who have never experienced this before, and you are never sure exactly how to explain it with out either crying, being angry, or just remaining silent. So thank you for putting it into words.

Young Mom/Wife said...

As I read this post tears streamed down my face. You have described what deployment is like so well! We are not Marines, but my husband recently deployed for the first time. We have been married nearly 4 years and have two small kids, and this deployment is one giant roller coaster.

Thank you for putting emotions that so many of us feel into words.