There are nights where I lay in bed, staring at my ceiling, wondering why I do it. Why wait for someone who can’t be here with me when I need him? Why wait for someone to come back to me when he’s the one thats constantly leaving? Why wait for a brief moment with him after so many months apart? Why wait for something that might never happen? Why wait for him at all?
I’ll admit, there have been times where I’ve totally lost it. There have been times where I’ve thrown things across the room and dented my walls. There have been times where I’ve screamed into pillows so no one could hear me. And times where I’ve gone and sobbed in the shower until I couldn’t breathe. If you’ve done it, then I’ve done it too. If you’ve thought it, then I’ve thought it too. If you’ve felt it, then I’ve felt it too. Every single day I think, “What kind of relationship is this? Who has a relationship with someone they never get to spend time with? Who deals with this crap? I can’t plan a single damn thing without having to consult the the military first.”
I mean, it’s insane. right? My whole life revolves around skype, phone calls, and the promise of a future together. I don’t fall alseep next to him, I fall asleep with him on Skype. I don’t get to touch him, or hug him, or kiss him, nearly as much as I’d like to… Or nearly as much as I’m entitled to. I find that I secretly resent girls who get to see their boyfriends or fiancés or husbands all the time - the line “I miss him” doesn’t mean anything to me when they say it. I feel like they never understand what missing someone is until their someone has been taken from them. So, when our someone has been taken away by the military, it’s like we voluntarily rescind any rights to a life of normalcy for a love that is committed, first to country, and second, to us.
So, why? Why do we do this to ourselves? Is it not enough that our men are taken from us, shipped off to god-knows-where, and then returned to us only after their (and our) duty is done? Who, in their right mind, would want to deal with that?
Well, I’ll tell you who wants to deal with it:
I do. Your next door neighbor does. The cashier behind the counter does. The science teacher does. The stay-at-home mom does. The average college student does.
Any woman who loves him, wants to deal with it.
We do it because we love them. We do it because we are the strongest women on earth. We do it because one, single, solitary moment with them is worth a lifetime away from them. It doesn’t mean we have to do this with a smile plastered on our face, and (Lord knows) we certainly don’t most of the time. We do it because, for his love, we’d do anything.
Honestly, most of the time, I hate it. It takes a pretty strong person to ignore the sting of tears, threatening to spill onto the canvas we call our face… The smallest thing can bring tears to my eyes: a song, a smell, a word, a place. anything and everything can make me tear up. Pretending to be happy is like an Olympic sport for those of us who are in love with someone who serves; their duty is to their country, while our duty is to love them. Despite all the pain we endure, it is truly an honor to love a man like that.
I fall among the silent ranks of those who love someone in the military. I live, love, and suffer in silence, with thousands of others who are waiting just as patiently as I am. We cling to moments, few and far between, because they are the promise of something more. We yearn for the phone calls, the text messages, the emails, because they remind us who were waiting for. We don’t measure time in days, or weeks, or months… We measure time from when he left, to when he’s going to return. We’ve learned that long stretches of time without them is worth the minuscule amount of time we get to spend with them; “time is of the essence”, is our motto for life.
So, when you ask why we do it, remember, we also ask ourselves why we do it. We ask ourselves every single day why we deal with this loneliness, this pain, this stupid thing we call love… And every time we remind ourselves: because one day he’ll come home to me.
After all, if it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth it.