I once heard being married to someone in the Military described as one long chain of heartbreaks and goodbyes.
Honestly, they’re right. And often times, it’s not even the heartbreaks and goodbyes you’d expect. I mean, yea, there’s the obvious. The day my husband left for his first tour, it literally felt like my soul had been sucked out of my body, and I was left an empty shell of human being, trying desperately not let anyone see through the facade I had going. I absolutely hate to admit that. See, I’m really not good at feelings. I hate feelings. I especially hate showing feelings. I’m not good at dealing with them and I’m not good at communicating them. I prefer to have a stone cold exterior when it comes to anything other than general contentment and the ability to conduct polite small talk. But this is a place of honesty. So, this is me being honest.
Here’s the thing though, there’s a million other tiny heartbreaks and goodbyes involved in this life. Sometimes it’s a goodbye for only a short span of time. 2 weeks, 3 months, 30 days even. Nothing compared to actual long trips to possibly dangerous places, and yet, somehow, it still manages to hurt every time.
Sometimes they come disguised as no big deal moves from one house to the next, from one city to another. There so stressful and insane that you don’t even think about any of your feelings, until you go to walk out the door for the last time, and realize your walking away from the house you called home for the last how every many months. Maybe the house your kid took their first steps in, maybe even a house you hated until right that second.
Other times it’s your friends. The ones who were there when your spouse wasn’t. The one who you texted at 2 am desperate to speak to another adult, knowing that they, too, would be awake and pining for any company other than a toddler and a dog. (Don’t get me wrong, often times my dog is the best company in the world…but I’m sure she get’s tired of my mumbling and grumbling, too).
It can also be your job. Or your hobbies. Or a duty station you didn’t even like, but was the host for a decent chunk of your and your family’s life together. The home of the airstrip where you welcomed your husband home from Afghanistan, your 4 day old son in hand. And again two years later on a dark Autumn night after 8 months of separation. The place where you laid in your driveway with your toddler watching C130’s and C17’s land and take off, and went on family walks.
It’s the little things, like tiny nicks and paper cuts that I, sometimes, think hurt the worst.
But my point here is not that we should have a pity party, or wallow in our misery. My point is simply that It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to be exhausted. It’s ok to be lonely. It’s even ok to feel a teeny tiny bit sorry for ourselves. Have mercy on yourself, and except that some days are just going to suck. Let yourself be sad sometimes. Let yourself cry every once in awhile if you need to.
But, don’t let it stop you from living. Don’t lose yourself in it. And don’t forget that, no matter how bad it may be, you’re going to get through it. Trust me, the hellos and and happy moments are worth it.
So what’s a girl (or guy) to do?
Walk it off and move forward, my friends. Walk it off, and move forward.