Here’s to you Military Wife.
Here’s to the woman who watches her husband get on that bus. The woman who sits by a computer or stares at a phone for hours on end, waiting for that one message that says “I’m ok.” The woman who holds back tears every time the internet crashes and she loses him for another day. The woman who wishes for one more call, one more word, one more letter just to keep going.
Here’s to the woman who warms her own bed, dries her own tears, and holds together her own house. The woman who makes too much food because she isn’t good at portioning to eat alone. The woman who eats in front of a computer screen or a television, just so there will be noise to keep her company. The woman who mails box after box, just so he knows that she thought about him.
Here’s to the woman who cuddles her babies (Furry or otherwise) to make them feel better when they can’t understand. The woman who gets up in the morning, even though all she wants to do is lay in bed. The woman who cleans up the messes and fixes the problems that inevitably show up as soon as he walks out the door.
Here’s to the woman who fills the void with projects. The woman who travels until she can’t walk, exercises until her body burns, works until she can’t think straight, or makes art until her hands are blistered or covered in muck. The woman’s whose only motivation is that one face that she can’t see.
Here’s to the woman who turns to her family. The woman who calls her mom every day just so she hears her voice other than when it’s lecturing the dog. The woman who attends gatherings and holiday parties alone, when everyone else gets to be with their spouse or significant other. The woman who tries so hard not to let it bother her that she wonders whether or not it would have been better to spend the time alone.
Here’s to the woman who fights her demons alone. The woman who hides the insomnia or nightmares behind coffee, and the depression behind a few more carbs than she needs. The woman who sleeps in the living room because sometimes the bed is just too big, or reads until the wee hours of the morning just to occupy her mind. The woman who can get herself so paranoid that she sleeps with a baseball bat in her bed. The woman who reaches out until she has literally fallen apart, then stands up and starts to put herself back together, because her other half isn’t there to help her.
Here’s to the woman who has to learn to endure. The woman who crossed an ocean to be with him, and stays just because this was where he left her. The woman who feels alone even when surrounded by people, because she knows that none of the people around her really care that much what happens to her. The woman who makes plans and lets people drop them, just so she can say she is trying to make it work in a place where she just doesn’t quite seem to fit.
Here’s to the woman who waits. The woman who watches husband after husband come home, watches the joy spread through a community, and tries not to drown in self-pity. The woman who puts on the brave face, who smiles and is happy for them, when the anger in her chest boils up, and she would give anything in the world to be one of them.
Here’s to you Military Wife. I understand. I have done every single one of these things, and I have matched you tear for tear. I have felt every gut-wrenching worry. I have prayed every silent prayer. I have felt every sigh of relief when that message finally comes. I know what it feels like when someone who doesn’t really understand what you are going through tries to offer help, and only makes it worse. I understand how much the wrongly chosen words can hurt. I have felt every stab of anguish when ANOTHER picture of someone else’s homecoming turns up in your Facebook feed. I understand. I understand because I feel it all right now.
I’m not going to tell you to keep your chin up. I already know that you can do it. You’re strong. You have to be if you married the military. I’m just saying that I understand. And even though you feel alone, you aren’t. I’m right here, feeling it all with you.