This morning as I was washing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen, reality snuck up and hit me like a ton of bricks.
It felt like my heart sank deep down into my stomach. I glanced over at the counter top with a daunting binder staring at me that read “Transition Starts Here” with SFC Reynolds in bold letters across the bottom. How did we get here? What does this even mean for us? We have been living this military life for 12 years together. My husband has sacrificed and served for 14 years and counting. Then, I studied the paperwork inside the binder. The binder contained question after question about his experiences in theater, and if he had ever received treatment for medical concerns. It asked personal questions, as well as questions about your marriage and how war may or may not have affected your relationships and your well-being.
I stood in my kitchen and wept. In that moment, I was like wow…we are really here. To tell you a little bit about what we are currently going through, my husband had some episodes with his heart and ultimately ended up needing surgery. Now, he is needing surgery on his shoulder due to an injury that he has had for at least a year that we know of. He never complained. He would just take some ibuprofen and continue on. Now, he has orders to the WTB (Warrior Transition Battalion) where he can hopefully recover, and then resume his career in the military. Hopefully.
My husband is 33 years old, y’all. He is so young, and yet he is experiencing all of these things! In those moments as I was standing there weeping, I realized the sacrifices my husband has made and continues to make for our country and our family. I realized that the man I fell in love with will never be quite the same again. Additionally, that the war had taken a toll that will never really be fixed. I also know that some are impacted in a much worse way than this. And for that, my heart breaks even more.
Last night, my husband and I were sitting on the porch and he told me he would need my help filling out this packet. I told him we would work together and get it done. When we went inside I barely glanced at the packet and we both just shut down. We both needed time to process the information and we both knew we needed that without saying it in that moment.
As military wives, we have to be there for our husbands during these experiences. We have to sit down with them and fill out the huge packet of paperwork, even if it brings up old wounds and memories from times in theater…times when we were both trying our best to thrive through a deployment while also holding down our marriage, and making sure our children were cared for.
So today, I am going to wipe my tears and I am going to be there for him. I am going to walk alongside him proudly as HIS military wife. I am going to continue to be his best friend, his life partner. Because, that’s exactly what we do as military wives. We support our husbands no matter what this life brings our way. We are military wives, and our soldiers have our hearts.