I believe in acceptance.
I was 20 years old when I met my husband. It never occurred to me that his one weekend a month/2 weeks in the summer National Guard commitment would turn into a full time career in which he quickly advanced and came to love. As his commitment became more apparent, my fears that would he would be deployed grew daily, as National Guardsmen began to be called up at an alarming rate.
My husband left on our second wedding anniversary. My emotions were certainly confused; pride mixed with free, loneliness coupled with relief that this was finally beginning. To my surprise, with each passing day, I found my anxieties easing. I became less dependent on the daily news reports coming out of Iraq to define my day. As this happened I began to let the emotions hidden for so long began to surface. Yes, it is certainly a messy process. Thinking back to the day my 28 year old husband filled out his will still seizes my heart with fear. I will never forget the day a helicopter coming out of Kuwait crashed two days before my husband was set to fly into Baghdad. Sometimes thinking of all that my husband will miss in this upcoming year makes me catch my breath.
Amidst all this, I find my appreciation for my husband growing. Not just for the mundane things he does that make my life much easier, but for his strength of character, integrity and courage coupled with kindness. He believed he married someone who could do this with him, who could sustain herself on her own. No one’s surprise was greater than mine when I found out I could. I found my happiness to be more genuine, I was becoming more and more able to enjoy my time alone. I remember the independence I had so loved in my first years of college. I finally came to the conclusion that this separation has to become something positive. It has to become a testament to my marriage, to my husband. My husband can make not promises that he can always physically be there and I realize I must embrace the life we have chosen. Not even for any patriotic reason but merely for the fact that my love for my husband outweighs anything else.
When I think about the journey that has taken my husband so far, I look at the letters he has written me and imagine them taking the journey home that he will take in eight months and smile. My husband may have many miles left to travel but it is a comfort to know, like the journey my father took 40 years ago as a young lieutenant leaving Vietnam, they will bring him back home.
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