Our adventures in this army life began in 2002 when my husband went off to Kentucky for BCT. I just KNEW it was going to be a piece of cake because he was only going to be gone for a few months. It was easy at first, but I had two toddlers to keep my busy. I soon found out that nothing was going to be easy about this adventure and everything I thought I KNEW was wrong.
You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you’re so excited you think you might burst? I had that feeling, magnified by 100, when I finally got to see my husband graduate BCT. The first time I saw him I was completely shocked. He had always been athletic, but he changed so much from the high school boy I knew, physically and mentally. Watching him graduate and getting to hold him again was one of the best feelings every…. Until I had to leave him there for AIT. The morning we left, I cried in the van for 3 hours because I couldn’t stand to leave him there. Lesson one for me: My teddy bear is a great comfort when I want to cry like a blubbering idiot. He muffles my tears and says exactly what I need to hear, nothing.
I joined my husband at his first duty station and was excited to begin our new life. The apartment we had was small and a bit uncomfortable but we made due. It was better than what we came from. During my first few weeks in Kansas I met some wonderful ladies from a military outreach church. These ladies ended up being my strength when all I felt was weakness. My husband came home one day, a few months after me uprooting and leaving everything behind with two toddlers and moving half way across the country, to tell me some news. He broke to me that he was leaving for Iraq for a year. I was devastated because he was suppose to be going to NTC, not war. We knew it would come, just not so soon. Lesson two for me: Nothing in the Army is for certain and can change anytime. They don’t have to give you notice for anything. Having friends is a must!! In order to survive, we need some kind of support network.
Fast forward to nine years later, present day, I have been through many big and small adventures during my husbands time in the Army. We’ve now been through 4 deployments, one of which was 15months long. I’ve been trying to spread awareness about PTSD with the military, but over the years I’ve noticed that soldiers aren’t the only ones who can suffer mental problems from war. I’ve seen so many wives suffer from depression and other conditions. I was one of them but I refused to listen to my friends and get help. I finally caved and sought counseling one year and I’m so much better for it. If you need help, get it. I kept thinking, “he is strong enough for the both of us” but I was wrong. We both needed to be strong for eachother. Lesson three for me: We, the wives/girlfriends/fiancés, may be the backbone of our men when they are gone (and here), but we ARE NOT superwomen! We are strong! If you need help, seek it. Admitting you need help and seeking it, only makes you stronger, not weaker.
What lessons have you learned about yourself or life in general since living this great adventure? I have tons, but not enough space here to share.