I was annoyed after reading Jacey Eckhart’s column about a veteran who thought it was “typical” that a young spouse was surprised when her Marine deployed unexpectedly. The first thing that crossed my mind was that maybe this young spouse DID consult everyone she should have consulted. And maybe she married the guy anyway.
Many of us know what we’re getting into when we marry into the military. That “knowing” doesn’t make the separations, the absences, the sudden deployments, the time away from family any easier to take.
We are humans and we have feelings. Why wouldn’t we hurt when the person that we love most deeply leaves to serve? No matter how much we believe in what they do, no matter how much we support them and their beliefs, it still hurts when they leave.
It isn’t just about overconfidence of the young. It’s also about love. When we love as passionately as we do, as strongly as we do, we know that we can’t take anything in this life for granted—especially in the military.
We have seen what is happening around us. We will be devastated when the love of our lives has to leave. That doesn’t mean that we won’t be resilient. That doesn’t mean that we won’t handle all the stuff that happens while they’re gone. That doesn’t mean we won’t continue to juggle ALL that we juggle as military spouses.
We don’t have to always hide how we feel just to prove to the world that we are tough military spouses. Every once in a while, we should be “allowed” to express our disappointment, our devastation, our anxiety, our whatever.
If the journey over the last 11 years of war has taught us anything, I hope it is that we have to rely on each other. We have to be able to ask for help when we need it (something we’re definitely NOT accustomed to doing). We have to take care of ourselves.
If that means every once in a while one of us is venting, then we’re ENTITLED to do it–without anyone judging us.
Marci Szymanski has been a Navy wife for 27 years. Currently stationed in Virginia Beach, Marci and her husband Tim have two sons. After 9/11, she stopped counting deployments, trainings and workups and just focused on life itself.