Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Military Wife And Me

Last week, before my family vacation, I was touched by the story of a military wife whose husband of 15 years returned home and shocked her by telling her that he wanted a divorce. I was touched by how she related the story. No big drama, no begging for someone to help her make it through. She just shared the facts with me. She told me of the counseling. She told me how he had always been her best friend as well as her husband. And now she wanted to run with her pain to her best friend, except that she couldn't. He was the one who caused it this time.

Statistics tell of the huge number of divorces within military families. Military personnel see the worst, day after day after day. They lose so many friends. They see the deaths of people they are responsible for. They are soldiers, first and foremost, and there is no clocking out at the end of the day. And then they come home to a nation seemingly obsessed with who gets voted off of American Idol. I can only imagine that coming home to such a contrast can either be the greatest satisfaction (at the end of every episode, everyone is a winner because no one dies) or it can seem so extremely petty ("I have gone through hell...and for this?") that it would fill a person with disgust.

I really admired her calm recollection of the events that she chose to share with me. I tried not to give her that stupid look of sympathy. It was obvious that she wasn't looking for that. She just talked about it like it had happened a generation ago. But it had happened less than a month prior. On with life. That seemed to be her M.O. Her husband had come home with a hardened heart (there's the sacrifice), and I could feel hers hardening more with each word. "From now on, I am focusing entirely on my work," she said.

Whatever her name is, I wish her well. And I thank her for sharing with me.


Sam Davidson said...

As always, excellent writing.

jag said...

So sad.

AWE said...

Hate to hear stuff like that.

I kind of know the feeling, one of my friends just returned from Iraq, well part of him did.

gnightgirl said...

I had a similar experience with my first husband. I was a real trooper when I had so many distractions: my son, a new house, a new life. It was when "normalcy" returned that it hit me: How in the heck did I get here!! I find it easer to be strong in the eye of the storm, than in the calm that follows. But that's just me.

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