Stronger Than I Thought
Stronger Than I Thought
People thought I was crazy when I told them that two weeks was all it took. Two weeks to fall in love with a guy I had just met and to be marrying him. Crazy thing is, what got my attention so fully was, that he opened the door for me. He just opened the door to the truck like it was absolutely normal for him. I had never before in my life had such a fantastic feeling about someone from such a simple gesture. I’m sure my cheeks were just as red as my hair at that point since I could feel the blood rushing through them making my freckles feel like they were just going to pop off! Made me feel so special, I just knew I’d found The One.
Who could have imagined we’d be heading to Las Vegas so soon after that day. Stopping at the “Chapel of the West”, the cutest little white chapel I’d ever seen, and getting married. A whirlwind courtship! Scary as hell at first but it would get a bit more concerning down the road. You see I had fallen in love with a soldier. We married in 1996 and soon after had our first son in 1997. Being the wife of a Soldier wasn’t very hard then. He would go off for field training exercises on occasion but was usually home not unlike anyone else that had a job.
Then, it changed. Now 2001 and our youngest son had been born a few months prior to that day. That tragic day where life pretty much changed for everyone in some way, September eleventh. For me it was the first day of truly being married to someone in the military. The chaos on post as everyone who hadn’t gotten to work yet tried desperately to report in. A ten to fifteen minute drive was now up to two to three hours. Then came all of the rumors of my husband leaving my two boys and myself for who knows where. All of the uncertainty was terrifying, to say the least, and I felt sick to my stomach. I didn’t know if I could do this whole wartime thing, if I was strong enough. Definitely didn’t want to put my fears on my husband with all I could imagine was on his mind at that point. Last thing he needed was me bombarding him with questions he either couldn’t or didn’t want to answer.
He wasn’t in the first round of deployments. Thankfully I at least had the chance to see, from news reports and such, how his life would be depending on where he’d go. That completely backfired on me and didn’t help me even a tiny bit. Actually made it worse. In 2003 the word came down that he would be leaving and not shortly after we got the news, he was gone. I then became obsessed with the TV and watching all of the news channels. Those little tickers down at the bottom became a lifeline to me of sorts. Trying to catch a glimpse of him in a news cast was more important than sleeping now. If I did sleep it was with the telephone for fear of missing one of the very few phone calls I’d get. During this first deployment, the phone rang one night and it was the FRG, Family Readiness Group, on the line and when I answered the voice on the other end said a few of the words I never wanted to hear. She said that there had been an incident. I felt like my heart literally quit beating at that point. They always said that in the event that something happened we would never ever be contacted about it over the phone but here was this lady saying there was an incident. As I was about to start screaming she uttered the words “your husband is fine and I will let you know the details at a later time.” then hung up. I was freaking out. How could this lady call me, say this so matter of factly, and then simply hang up? First thing I did was call my Mom once I got my fingers to work again. She is and will always be the strongest woman I have ever known and any advice as to what to do next would have to come from her in order to calm me down. I was beyond hysterical even though the FRG lady said he was fine. My Mom just told me to take deep breaths and trust that he is ok. She always told me I was a strong woman and reiterated that to me on that phone call. I didn’t know if she was right though. He called a couple of days later to assure me he was safe. In the end, I did decide to “put my big girl britches on” for the remainder of the deployment and we all made it through relatively unscathed. Our Hero was now home safe and sound. I felt a sense of relief and accomplishment as I realized I was a lot stronger than I thought and I was proud of that!
It’s 2012 now and my husband has been deployed 6 times thus far. My boys are now fifteen and eleven years old and we have just moved to a new house in a new city courtesy of the Army. Things seem normal for us around here finally. Then we get the word that we didn’t want to hear. He’s deploying again and he is leaving Friday. That knot in my stomach and feeling of uncertainty is back as I think……..here we go again.