I’m losing another friend.
Not ‘forever’ lost—not to anger or angst or illness. And really, this goodbye isn’t about me, though I am sad about it. No, it’s that time in friendship when the orders come in, and the people I’ve just started to really come to know are sent off, to serve their country in another place.
To clarify, my friend isn’t in the military; her husband is.
It takes one type of courage to leave family and friends, to serve at risk of physical danger and under mental stress.
It takes another to be left behind. To wait. To raise the children. To carry on as if life is normal even when you don’t know where your other half is, or what he’s doing, if he’s safe, if he’s well. (Substitute “she” for the military husbands out there.)
I’ve had the privilege to have a number of military and ex-military wives in my circle of friends, and their resilience put me to shame. Many of them are spouses of submariners—with their husbands in the ‘silent service’ communication is limited in a way I’ve never experienced. Many times I’ve heard a friend given a month when her husband would be home…then it moves back a month…then they’re home but he’ll need to be on the boat for this, that or the other thing. Many times I’ve been pulled aside before class to be told in a hushed voice, “Their dad’s been deployed again. Just so you know in case they’re having a hard time.”
Today I just want to take a moment to acknowledge the patience and perseverance of the military spouse, their struggles and adaptability as they wait to hear where they’ll be stationed—oh, Hawaii? No, I guess we’re going to Guam now. Oh…well, this week it’s Groton…
Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Sometimes it’s hard to know just how to thank these people for their quiet service—especially since a lot of the ladies I know don’t like to be thanked. “We aren’t the ones who served,” my friends have grumbled.
Perhaps not, not in the same way. Still, to those who faithfully wait, know that you aren’t forgotten. Know that you’re in our prayers too.