Editors Note: This piece was incredibly difficult for the writer to finish. In fact, they almost decided not to submit it for publishing. Because even though it is anonymous, just like all of our other pieces in this series, the writer knew this might not be well-received. But they finally decided that others might just be feeling the same way…and that was worth any criticism that might come from publication. Please keep that in mind as you read and comment.
I am tired. I am over this thing we call “military life.”
Right off the bat I can hear the comments. “You knew what you were getting into,” “What do you have to complain about…you are not the service member,” “Suck it up, Buttercup.”
And all those comments make me want to punch a hole through the wall. This white wall that I am staring at, in a place that is supposed to feel like home because “home is where the heart is” or some other well-meaning cliche.
But this doesn’t feel like home. At all.
I have been a military spouse since many reading this were in diapers. I was a spouse before 9/11 … a young spouse then, new to military life and full of positivity and an eagerness to embrace this strange new world I married into.
Even years after the towers fell, I was still optimistic. That first war-time deployment was hard, but my fellow military spouses saved me.
We saved each other.
Re-connecting with my husband was a bit challenging, but nothing we couldn’t handle. He was home alive… and that was all that mattered, right?
The first couple of PCS moves brought tears to my eyes … but the kids adjusted well and we all made new friends and it was an adventure. I was getting the hang of re-arranging our stuff to fit a new place. I knew all the tips and tricks about how to make a move go smoothly. I tried not to be too upset if something was damaged. It happens … and they are just things after all.
Our immediate family was together and that was the most important thing in the world.
I don’t know exactly when the shift happened.
It kind of feels like a gradual thing … each deployment, each TDY, each PCS move, each homecoming … all chipped away at me. Wore my skin thin. Made me more tired by the minute.
And now, I just feel weary … all of the time.
I am weary of turning on the news and not seeing the numbers of dead reported…because it has just become too commonplace to be newsworthy.
I am weary of watching my children fight back tears as they say goodbye, again…and of watching them struggle to find their place in a new school.
I am weary of sending my husband away again…not knowing if this will be the time he doesn’t get so lucky.
I am weary of spending a large portion of my married life alone…even when he is “home.”
I am weary of lying in bed awake with worry at night over all of the unknowns of military life…and that doesn’t even count deployment.
I am weary of being told how lucky we are to have free health insurance and a steady paycheck…as if it were a gift.
I am weary of being away from extended family…I miss them terribly.
I am weary of making great friends and then saying goodbye…never seeing them again except on Facebook.
I am weary of witnessing the heartbreaking changes in my husband, that he won’t get help for…because he didn’t see combat after all. It wouldn’t be right.
I am weary of wondering what changes I will continue to see in my kids…who have known nothing but a life as a military child, with an active duty parent, during a time of war.
I am weary of the changes I KNOW are happening within in me…but I am too busy worrying about everyone else and just trying to get by, to ever seek help for myself.
I am weary of trying to be positive about the whole thing.
I am weary of people telling me how wonderful this life can be.
I am weary of putting on a brave face.
I am weary of not being honest about it all.
My husband only has a short time left in the military, and I am hopeful that my feelings are just indicative of how long we have been a part of this life…and that we are ready to move on to the next chapter.
Am I grateful for the things that we have gained from my husband’s military service? Of course.
But I am also well aware of the things we have given up. And I know that our weariness is a clear sign that it is time for his service to this great nation to come to an end.
I don’t write this for sympathy…I write it in hopes that if there are others out there feeling the same, they will feel a little LESS alone.
I write it so that I can be honest about my feelings, an important first step in trying to get past them.
Please don’t misunderstand.
I am extremely proud of my husband, his service and how our family has supported him for all of these years.
But I am weary. So weary.
And I don’t believe I am alone.