An Open Letter to My Med-Boarding Friend

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I remember exactly where I was when I learned that your husband had been shot by an Afghan soldier during his own promotion ceremony. I slipped out of a room of people and cried and cried over the news. Shaking, I called my own husband just so I could hear the reassuring sound of his voice.

“Cody has been shot,” I sobbed. “SHOT.”

Although we were once homefront battle buddies, you and I haven’t spent more than a few hours together since my family and I PCSed away a few years ago. It’s mostly through social media that we’ve stayed connected. That’s just how military life works.

And it’s through social media that I have witnessed your almost two year journey from MilSpouse to Wounded Warrior Wife to med-board traveler to almost-civilian.

When we first met you were a brand new military spouse at your first non-training duty station. You made sweeping statements about what you would and would not tolerate from military life. You begrudgingly put up with the suck of a cross-country move, PCS and immediate deployment. And you made it clear that you were not OK with it.

You acted exactly like we all act when we are first thrown in to the military life deep end.

But while some military spouses stay there drowning for their husbands’ entire careers, you learned to not only survive – but thrive. And even in the face of a broken soldier, shattered military career dreams and a medical board process that would try even the most patient and resilient, you have shown grace and strength.

Once upon a time I considered myself the older, wiser military spouse. “I used to be what she is – so naïve and obstinate,” I remember thinking soon after we met. “Maybe I can help her learn.”

But instead it has turned out the other way. It’s your wherewithal that has guided me and reminded me that even in the face of my own small trials I can keep moving forward. You are the one who has schooled me on how to handle military life.

I asked you recently how you do it. “How the devil do you manage to be so patient during this med-board process?” I said.

Your answer? Faith. You said you have clung to your belief in God and His hand on your life. You said your laser focus on that there is a bigger plan somewhere in all of this is the only thing that has gotten you through.

You – and others like you dealing with all the troubles of wounded warrior life, disability ratings and military transition – probably have no idea that the rest of us look at you with awe. You are probably just trudging on, trying to make the most of it and have a good attitude even though the military is generally driving you crazy.

You may even feel like a military life failure. Even as you cling to your faith, I know from talking to other Wounded Warrior Wives that it can be an isolated, scary position. The rest of the world seems like a happy place and here’s your servicemember, through no fault of his own, broken and discarded by the military he so loved.

But we are not as happy as we seem. And when the going gets tough we marvel at how you cope.

I hope knowing what your example means to the rest of us gives you hope and inspiration. Keep moving forward. We will move forward with you.

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on CNN.com, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.