I know Veterans Day is about showing support for our troops -- and trust me, I totally do. But I also think it's really important to spotlight the significant others who literally sacrifice the loves of their lives for their country. While their husbands are overseas at war, wives are holding down the fort back home. And being a single mother/father is hard enough as it is -- try having the worry of not knowing where your love is on top of that.
I know I couldn't do it. It's perhaps the most unselfish act one could do.
Jenifer Coleman, whose husband is in the army and currently serving yet another deployment, compares it to being single all over again (only with the stakes much higher!): "It's like saying goodbye to your marriage and hello to a lonely, single life. To being a single parent and taking on the great big world all by yourself. It's like saying goodbye forever because it truly may be."
My friend Laura Weddle refused to use the word "goodbye" when her husband left for Afghanistan a couple of months ago:
"Goodbye" wasn't a word for us. "Goodbye"stung too much because its not like you are saying 'bye' for the day at work, or while he is out with the guys ... it's for a year deployment to a war zone. You don't know if you will see each other again. Also, think about how much can change in a year, how much you can change, how war can change them. Is he gonna be the same man when he comes home? Is this the last time I am going to see his face? His smile ... be able to kiss him. So many questions and fears that force their way into your mind. All you can do is hope and pray that you will see him again, hold him, and continue your lives together. The world around you moves on, but you try your best to stand still and keep everything the same until he comes home.
Constant worry. That's what you're faced with if you're the wife or husband of a soldier. And no matter how many years you've dealt with it, it never gets easier. Breanna Haddox, who has a little one on the way, knows that it just comes with the territory of falling madly in love with a hero.
It would be nice to say, "No, I don't worry. I know that he will come back home safe and sound.' and 'It's not hard to be the wife of a soldier." I wish I could say those things and believe them. The truth is, I constantly worry and it is hard. But it is the life I signed up for when I married him and I would stand beside him no matter what.
But along with the sacrifice and the lonely, sleepless nights tossing and turning with worry comes pride. A pride that is so well deserved, it can only be comparable to the folks who are actually in the war zone. "I love being able to say my husband is a U.S. soldier and is serving in Afghanistan. I love standing next to him when people come up to him to shake his hand when he is in uniform. I love being able to have magnets on my car that say 'I love my soldier.'"
So a big thank you to the women and men of our troops, and those that are behind them. You're brave beyond comparison. We appreciate you and everything that you've given up so that our country can be safe.
Happy Veterans Day.
Is your significant other in the military? What is it like for you when they get deployed?
Image via The U.S. Army/Flickr