It came and went without any fanfare: one year. Not our
anniversary or a little one’s birthday, but the anniversary of the day he came
home. The day we both never actually thought would happen. The day I took a
deep breath for the first time in nine months. The day he met his daughter.
It’s funny the days that stick out in your memory after
years pass. I remember random breakfasts we’ve had together, the shocking
moment I saw him after all of those uncertain days and countless moments since,
but the ones that escape me are the big days. The way he looked when he left is
one of the biggest moments that I can’t recall an image for even after those
long months when I clung to the idea that I wouldn’t forget the last time I saw my
husband. On the days and weeks that
passed without a word, as unannounced visitors knocking at the door gave
me a lump in my throat, I clung to the idea that I couldn’t forget that last
moment, thus, it wouldn’t be our last.
One year of invisible battle wounds that have brought our family closer than ever and pushed us further apart than we ever thought possible
There were days since he returned home that I didn't know how we’d get through. Days that turned into weeks were filled with the
challenges of reintegration (or the adjustment soldiers face reentering
civilization after months at war). It wasn’t an easy battle—and it’s one that makes
me apprehensive for future deployments. It isn’t the time apart or the distance
that I fear. Our relationship can handle it and technology can do amazing
things. It’s those months following when life outside of our walls must still
move forward and yet it halts the moment we pass through our own front door.
The juxtaposition between the reality we are living and the
reality the world sees is harsh and unforgiving. The days that ended in silence
and turned backs, thoughts racing as we struggled with what to and not to say
to each other, how to handle this elephant in the room that was WAR. We
survived it though. We have arrived at the other side, as much as there will ever be one. We are one year out. One year of invisible battle wounds that have
brought our family closer than ever and pushed us further apart than we ever
thought possible, that have dried our tear ducts for decades to come and have
given a totally new perspective to challenging circumstances.
Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are
always the little challenges; the moments that catch our breath and remind us
of that another deployment will come. It’s a reality of this life
we lead. There will always be another deployment. Another hurdle to climb.
Another rift that we don’t know how to resolve—but this is the life we chose.
To love each other, to live this life and to take the good with the bad
as it comes, together. We celebrated one year in the perfect way we should:
playing at the park with our daughter and our friends, celebrating this life
the best way we can—by living it.