Together, Never

United in marriage but not geographically, Military life is tough. That’s probably a horribly unjust, understatement but I can say with conviction, that being married and living more apart than together is one of the most challenging situations I have ever found myself in.

Together, Never

When I post pictures of me smiling in beautiful places around the world does my life look perfect? They aren’t supposed to translate as ‘look at me, look where I am, look how much greater my life is than yours’ because when I post them I am simply living in the moment, elated by the fact that I have the opportunity to be with my husband or be briefly content without having to worry about when that fleeting happiness will cloud over. In five years we have been given one clean break of 9 months together. We have spent just 15 months out of five years side by side. From conducting a relationship between Germany, Ireland and the US to Afghan deployments and field training exercises, we have been through hell to stay together.

I keep seeing the quote ‘there’s seven days in a week but someday isn’t one of them’, well in the military ‘someday’ is the hope that keeps you going. Someday we won’t have to keep moving. Someday we can start a family. Someday we can make friends we won’t have to leave. Someday we’ll see more of our families. Someday I’ll be home before 9pm. Someday we can eat dinner together.

We await another year apart, another year of wondering where he is and worrying about his safety. Another year of pleading with technology to stay connected. Another year of family celebrations, birthdays, holidays and anniversaries celebrated alone, trips away cancelled and all the days in between wishing it wasn’t so. The Army is the reason we met and has provided us with many opportunities. But it has taken thrice as much. The time lost can never be given back and years and years of memories went unmade. We make the most of every second together and will continue to do so.

Something bothers me and it’s so brain-achingly stupid! With the blog and social media comes many, many statistics, analytics and insights. I’ve noticed as of late the negative feedback on my facebook posts and interestingly enough not blog shares but personal posts: photos, specifically. I sat pondering why someone is so irritated by my smiling face that they need to conduct a physical action to not see it any longer. Or why someone is so displeased by the idea of my being home to the extent that they need to hide an image of what is also their own home in response. It’s a sad state of affairs when I (someone who considers themselves very weak when it comes to dealing with the burdens I have) can manage to find silver linings to keep pushing through the huge obstacles that the Army creates in our lives but someone else’s biggest problem is my face. During my saddest times it makes me realize how good I actually have it for if it meant behaving like that, I’d happily take this stress for five more years.

My plea to such people (and all people) is to go out and enjoy your life. Savor every second and be grateful for what you have every day that others long for. Let the world and the people in it influence you positively. Don’t sit on facebook hating someone’s face. It’s probably not enriching your life in any way.

 Together, Never

“How long have you been together?”, is just one of the questions I am tired of answering.

Sixty months; Two hundred and sixty one weeks; One thousand eight hundred and twenty five days;

However you measure time, that is how long we have been together.

“Five years”,

and never.

“It must be so hard, him being gone all the time”, is another one.

Ten birthdays, five of every major holiday, the anniversaries and one wedding.

That makes thirty-six occasions.

Just four were celebrated together.

“Yeah, it is but it could be worse”

A cliche, a cliche that is so frighteningly true. We are proof of its sentiments.

It has only ever got worse, not better.

“At least it won’t be for much longer!”

Do they have no concept of time?

Now say, “what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.”

“No it’ll fly”,

The ultimate white lie.

 

Happy Birthday, husband. Happy Birthday wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. Here’s to the future and raising our glasses from afar, sending virtual kisses and counting down days until we are together again. Shared, real-time, real-life experiences are not things we can take for granted. And while everyone else looks forward to Friday, Military families are always given the gift (or the curse) of an extra day – some day.

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24 Comments

  1. This post is so heartbreakingly beautiful, Amy. My dad was in for 20+ years so my family knows the struggle well. It was hard on my mom when my parents first started dating and were first married, and it was hard on the kids moving every few years. Like you, we’re grateful for the opportunities it gave us, but it didn’t come without serious challenges.

    All I can say is: thank you BOTH for your service and sacrifices. I’ll be sending you many positive vibes.

  2. I was a military wife and I understand. It is difficult to love from afar and live in uncertainty. I agree that you should still live your life to the fullest.
    My best to you and your hubby. Thank you both for your sacrifice.
    :
    Traci

    1. That’s often the biggest struggle, listening to ignorance and things people say in innocence that are actually quite insulting >.<

  3. Oh Amy, my heart hurts for you, your husband, and for all military families. That your husband is apart from you on his birthday (and 36 holidays and other special days over 5 years’ time) is simply heartbreaking. There is no joy in that. I admire you greatly for sharing your pain about this situation. You can’t keep it all in. These things need to be spoken or you’ll break. My love and hugs are sent to you across the miles from my home in California.

  4. That was so beautiful and heartbreaking. You are such a talented writer because you took me on a journey. That would be so hard for me and I bet most people have no idea of what you go through. Thank you for your snapshot in your life and thank you for the sacrifices you make. You are a strong woman.

  5. Loved reading this article. I always say that I am not sure I could marry someone in the military, because of the fear that there won’t be a someday. Tons of love and positivity your way 🙂

  6. I can understand being away from the one you love but unlike you I was able to do something about it temporarily. See I fell in love with an exchange student in high school and we spent the next two years with a long distance relationship. It can be tough. I feel for you. My husband is not in the military in the US so I don’t understand that but my brother is and so many of my friends. I see the challenges their families go through.

    I agree no matter what you have to see the good in things. If you don’t you will be miserable.

    Hoping to you getting to spend some time together soon.

  7. Wow! What an amazing way to wish your hubby! I am sure he would be so proud of you. You’re an amazing and courageous woman. Never loose your spark and keep on influencing others around you to live their life happily and enjoy each and every moment..cheers gal!

  8. This was a very touching and moving read, girl. I now want to sit down together with wine so we can chat about great things. I hope you and your husband are able to spend time together again soon – and celebrate his birthday the way you’d love to. Sending you lots of love and comfort! XO

    Anna || A Lily Love Affair

  9. My boyfriend is in the army reserves and while we have only had to spend 2 weeks apart so far, we both know that with the current state of the world a deployment is on the horizon. It’s such a scary thought!

    But thank you to your husband for his service and both of you for your sacrifice!

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