Thursday, November 11, 2010

A veterans wife remembering her army girlfriend days...

I cant say I miss it.  Ok, truth is, maybe I can say I do just a little bit.  I dont however, miss him being gone.

Our story starts a long time ago.  We met when I was 16, and he was 15.  I fell for him way  back then too.  Kind of funny how life comes full circle at times.  Look at us now!

We started our relationship long distance.  He was in Hawaii, I was in Michigan.  In the beginning it was hard, and easy at the same time.  It was hard, because I was really insecure about it all.  I was just coming out of a 10 year relationship, and here I find myself dating a man, a soldier, living in paradise, with lots of pretty girls around.  After being together for a while, my insecurities became less of a problem.

We survived it by talking on the phone alot, and chatting on Yahoo.  And when I say alot, I mean constantly.  I made sure to make myself available to him to him whenever he had the time to be online, or on the phone.  Life was kind of on hold in those days.

I didnt get much sleep back then.  Our time zones were way different, I often stayed up until 2 or 3 am, then up early to get the boys off to school.  I would get 4-5 hours of sleep a night, sometimes less, just so I could have that time with him.

I only got to see him for a couple weeks every 4-7 months, depeding on when his leave days fell.  The time we spent together was so wonderful, and we made sure to fill those days with lots of memories.  The homecomings were one of the greatest feelings in the world.  I remember the countdowns, and the days of preparation before he stepped off that plane, and into my arms.

After doing that for 1.5 years, we found ourselves faced with a 15 month deployment.  That was almost as long as our relationship at that point.  It was rough for me then, I cried alot.  I had to mentally prepare myself for this.  We knew far in advance that it was going to happen, but it didnt make the moment any easier.  No matter how many good byes you go through, nothing can compare to sending them off to war.He came home for his pre deployment leave, and I was a mess for most of it, I can only hope that I hid it well..

Taking him to the airport, knowing this was the last hug, kiss, touch of the hand, I would get for a year was horrid.  I couldnt think straight  I felt like someone was dying.  I cried long and hard, watching him walk away.  I had no idea what would lay ahead for us, I had so many questions running through my head.  All of those "what ifs".  Would he survive?  Would he feel the same about me?  Could we make it?  How different would he be when he came home?  See, we already knew it would be a year before he walked back into my arms.

Nick didnt get leave from deployment (R&R) until 12 months into it.  So for a full year there was only the short calls, a few emails, and lots of chatting.  Of course, that was when there werent any black outs.  And we were lucky, because some girls didnt get to hear from their Soldiers for months at a time.

When he finaly got leave, I remember preparing myself in every way possible.  I was so many emotions all rolled into one.  I was happy, excited, anxious, nervous, and scared, and so many more.  I just didnt know what to expect.  He stepped off that plane in his ACU's, and all those emotions instantly faded.  My Soldier was in my arms.  All I could be after that, was happy.  But truthfully, I was also a little nervous i guess.  After a year, the body makes some changes.  What if he didnt like those changes?

Our time together was wonderful and fast, before I knew it, it was time to send him back to Iraq.  But on the bright side, it was only for a couple more months.  Those months were slow and fast at the same time.  Not sure how that is possible, but its the only way I know how to describe it.

So, I finally got the call that he was coming home.  I think back on that 15 months, and I am so amazed at how great we got through it  I didnt hear from him for a week after that.  I had a bad feeling about it  I knew something was wrong.  When he got to Alaska he called me from a friends phone.  It was short and not so sweet.  I could tell something was wrong, he said he would call when he got back to Hawaii.

He got back to Hawaii, and apologized for the call, and things were good.  We talked for almost 12 hours straight.  Then they got really bad.  I finally got an explaination, something bad had happened on his way home, and he was having a hard time dealing.

After that, things went from bad to worse.  I thought we were done.  It was the biggest emotional rollercoaster I had ever been on.  By then I was his fiance, and these things you werent suppose to do to the one you love that much.  I felt like I had failed him somehow, only i just didnt know how.  I felt completely helpless in the situation.  Angry too.  Mad at him, mad at the army for changing him...Just mad as hell.

It is amazing how events can change a persons life, and how hard it can be to come back from that.  The day he got out of the Army was the greatest day.  At the same time, I was scared.  We werent even married yet, and i felt like I had to fight my way back from some emotions I should have never been made to feel.  I had to try to be understanding of a situation, that he wouldnt talk about.  I had to be supportive of what could have been the end of our story.  I felt guilty for having all of those feelings, because he was the one struggling.  The guilt of not being able to find a way to help him when he needed it most made me miserable.  But we did it.  We made it

A year after he came home, we got married.  It is a dream come true to be married to my best friend.  He is the one person in this world that knows me best.

I dont regret going through all of that.  I wouldnt change a thing.  In the end it only made us stronger.  After 3 years in a long distance relationship, we dont have to wonder what its like to be apart.

There are times I still struggle with the feelings I have about his last days in the Army, but we made it, and the fact that we made it, makes all those other feelings go away. 

I use to be a proud Soldiers Girl, now I am a proud Veterans wife.  I love my husband, my hero, my best friend.

Love Wins.

ps.  this is the first time i have come out with alot of these emotions.  it is sometimes hard to bring them up. 


Nikki said...

Its so sweet.
The past is always memorable

Anonymous said...

Hi Tara!
I, too, am an Army wife so I know EXACTLY what you went thru during a deployment. But, like all military wives, we are a rare breed. We make it thru, somehow. And yes, to talk about feelings and emotions can be very difficult. I can empathize with you. My husband just recently retired after 28 years in the Army. Now, he is our state's Military Funeral Honors Coordinator. He is enjoying his job, but every now and then, he receives honor requests for soldiers we knew, that shared dinners at our table. Just know that you are not alone and we ALWAYS make it thru the tough times. OOOOHHH RRRAAAHHHH!