Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

I don't have any sort of meaningful insight about Veteran's Day.

I can't; my husband is deployed.

My job is to keep myself at an even emotional keel so that I can function alone twice as well as I do when he's home. In addition to that, other people are depending on me to set an example of "dealing with it" and not least among those people is my thirteen year old daughter.

I can't shout at media outlets that insist on focusing on fallen veterans that a dead soldier is dead every day of the year, not just Veteran's Day.
I can't scream at well meaning acquaintances that I don't need the pity that always saturates their "Thank you for your husband's service," as though my only choice is to endure it.
I can't give the military and government a giant middle finger for cutting support funding for family programs at the same time they get on TV and profess to be "so proud and grateful" for what we do.
I can't watch tribute programs or documentaries that talk about soldiers who come home in pieces - both physical and psychological - because letting myself dwell on those horrors means spending the next 11 months in constant terror.

Look, I'm not against Veteran's Day. I think it's an important national and cultural ceremonial marker. Necessary, even, for those who don't live close to the military. But it's not my holiday. It's not a freaking holiday. It's my life, my reality, my day-to-day existence. I won't wave my flag harder or sing louder or do anything else just because it makes the rest of the nation feel better.

I can't; my husband is deployed.

Maybe someday after his retirement I'll pin a little flag to my lapel and be glad for the extra day off from work. But for now I'll just do what I've been doing - functioning twice as well alone as when he's home, avoiding the news, struggling to live the Serenity Prayer - living through a war.


  1. I love you so much for your courage and strength!! Please know that even at your "weakest" moments you are still 3x the woman that most wish they could be.

  2. I wish I knew something to tell you that would make it easier but the truth is that I don't know your side of it. Your mother does but I was in Randy's place so I can only imagine what you're going through. Every veteran wishes that our war was the last one that anyone would have to endure and yet here you are doing the same things we did. I am so proud of the three of you for the lives you live and the things you do every day.
    Today is Veterans Day and I'll let Applebees buy me a free lunch and when they thank me for my service they won't understand my reply, "It was a privilege to serve." Maybe someday you'll say the same thing in retrospect but today it is a burden to be seperated from the one you love and to not know if he is safe or in danger. For now all I have to offer is a verbal hug, "You bear your burdens well, I am proud of you."