I get this question a lot. Usually accompanied by a sympathetic stare. I am surrounded by good women, many of them military wives as well. They know. I don’t know why they bother to ask.
I’m reading a book right now (review to follow) written by an Army wife as she suffers through a deployment. It is brutally honest. Too honest. I keep wanting to tell her to shut up. We don’t talk about these things.
This morning I had a very short email from my husband. He’s written similar emails in the past.
I want you to know that I’m safe and what you read in the news doesn’t involve me but it does involve those I know.
The other times he has written something like that, I picked through the major news networks. Nothing. Not a single thing.
Can you imagine your husband, son, best friend going off to war and dying and nobody hears about it? The news networks are too busy gossiping about a singer who collapses on stage or discussing which teams are going to the World Series. Important stuff that. As your world crumbles around you, nobody really cares.
Today, I did manage to find the news event to which he was referring. Helicopter crashes. My husband has been traveling and had told me he would be flying yesterday. I am grateful that he had access to a computer and could fire off that email. I would be in a panic right now. Even with his email, I am in a panic right now. That email was 4 hours old. There were two crashes – was he in the second one? Utter nonsense, of course, but this is how an Army wife’s brain operates.
There is a term: anticipatory grief. Your loved one is alive, but you have all the symptoms associated with grieving his or her death. It’s quite common in spouses of deployed soldiers, especially when tragedy strikes close to the soldier. It’s emotionally difficult to live with that grief for a long period of time. And there is no closure, because there is no actual death. You just keep spinning in the misery until it concludes – one way or another.
It’s time for me to shut up now. We aren’t supposed to talk about such things.
And how am I doing? I’m fine. We’re all fine. Only two more months. He’ll be home soon.