The Military Spouse Who Has Lost So Much
Monday is Memorial Day, and as a blogger in the Milspouse world, it is always hard to know what to say. Should we get emotional about the day? What if we are too emotional? Are we allowed to talk about what we are doing that weekend? Is there any room for having fun when our others have lost so much?
Memorial Day wasn’t always called that. Back in 1868, Decoration Day was started, three years after the Civil War ended. This day was a day to decorate the graves of those who died in the war. The date was May 30th as on that day; flowers would be in bloom across the country.
In World War I, the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress and changed to the last Monday in May.
Ever since our country has observed the day in different ways. There are ceremonies to honor those who have lost their lives and concerts to honor the fallen. There are blog posts and magazines articles, all sharing different opinions and information about the day.
As I hear the words, “Memorial Day” my heart immediately goes to the friends I have met during my time as a military spouse who has lost someone.
Those who received that knock on the door. Those that didn’t get to be happy on homecoming. Those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
I can’t help but think about them. I always think about them. Always. It doesn’t have to be Memorial Day to do so, but there is something about this day that brings them front and center to my mind.
I can say I am thinking of them. I can say I am praying for them. But I will never really be able to tell them the right words that will make things better. I will never be able to say the right things that will make everything okay. I will never be able to thank them enough and let them know how much we care.
So to these spouses, the ones who have lost so much, I still mourn with you.
I remember when we all stood around a few weeks after they deployed. We talked about getting home in time for phone calls. Not having any idea of what was to come.
I remember when I heard the news that your husband was gone. I wanted to hug you, but I didn’t know you very well. I wanted to tell you everything was going to be okay, but I knew that nothing would ever be the same again.
I remember when we got the message and I had to read your last name several times. I couldn’t believe he was gone. I couldn’t understand why you had to go through this.
I remember when my husband talked about how much your husband meant to him. How they learned from each other and how when he died, it just didn’t seem fair.
The truth us, none of this is fair. War isn’t fair. It’s messy, and when we go to war, some people don’t come home.
When that happens, the military community comes together. We support them, with whatever they choose to do once they get settled. We can be a listening ear when things get too hard. We can remember what they have been through and remember those they have lost.
I don’t believe there is one perfect way to be on this holiday. People have BBQs on Memorial Day with toasts to the brothers they have lost. People go shopping because that is when the sales are, and they need to save some money. Civilians thank us because they recognize our service, even if it is the wrong holiday to do so.
In a perfect world, the entire country would understand what Memorial Day is all about. There wouldn’t have to be any question about it. And you know, I think most people do understand.
When you are in the military community, those that we honor on Memorial Day were our friends, the spouse of our friends, and our own spouse’s battle buddies. These are people we knew and saw on a regular basis, not just photos in our news feed.
As I look to Monday, I want to remember those who have given their lives for our beautiful country. I love America, and it hurts to know that we have had to lose so many along the way.
But I know I am forever grateful for their sacrifice, even if I can’t find the words to truly express how I feel.