Monday, October 4, 2010

Still in the Desert

With as many close calls as JD has had, there is one thing I’m very thankful for- I wasn’t dating him while he was deployed in Afghanistan.  I feel like I cheated in some way- like I managed to avoid what all other military wives and girlfriends have had to endure.  To those who have endured it, I can only imagine the incredible strength it must take.

The girl who does my massages started dating a Marine early this year.  It was fun to hear how their relationship had developed and see how happy she was.  It brought back memories of what it was like to date someone who was stationed a couple of hours away and how every second together was so precious.  Her boyfriend got deployed to Afghanistan about a month ago, and when I went in for my most recent massage, her whole demeanor had changed.

The bounce in her step was gone and her usual smile had faded.  She looked defeated, emotionally drained, and very much alone.  My heart ached for her.  Not that any deployment is easy, but his has been particularly difficult.  His job is very dangerous and there are long periods of time when he can’t call her.  When he does, it’s unexpected, and very brief.  

She spends her time working, worrying, and counting the days.  Imagine 7 months without seeing the person that’s most important to you.  Imagine worrying about that person every minute of every day.  Seven months is a long time.  He will have missed fall and winter completely, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day… and a 7 month deployment is actually relatively short by military standards.

I think Americans have largely forgotten that we are very much involved in a war.  Forget about the politics, or whether we should be there or not- the truth is that we are there and we will be for a long time.  There are men, women and families sacrificing every day.  At the very least, let’s take a moment to appreciate that.

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