I take this time, to reflect not of the road ahead of me one possibly littered with IEDs, VBIEDs, snipers, and untold as of yet unseen dangers. I take this time to offer my renewed faith, not in our cause here, but of my faith in my love for the most wonderful woman I have ever known. My best friend, my truest love, my wife.
This day four years ago, we had our first date. Looking back it wasn't much, some awkward conversation, a couple of tacos, and to me not a premonition but a determination to spend the rest of my life with this wonderfully shy, and beautiful woman. I was certain nearly from the beginning when I first laid eyes on this woman, who I now call "my angel" that it was to be her. It seems that almost every important hallmark in our relationship thus far save for our wedding I have been away. We were married two years ago in November. On her 30th birthday I was at Officer Candidate School. Our first anniversary I was away, preparing to be here. On this date which marks the fourth year of our time together I am away. I'll miss her birthday again this year, and our second anniversary I'll be 10,000 miles away from the one person who means more to me than my own life. I never really understood what love truly is until I met her. These last few days have been emotionally trying, we have had to endure heart breaking disappointment and intense emotional assaults; and have had to do so so far apart. Words over the telephone and emails of support are a sorry substitute for being able to hold my angel. My hands shake as I write this, because my heart is heavy with longing on this day. I know my duty and continue to discharge said duty, but today my heart just isn't in it.
6 months two days, and 16 hours this minute and I'll be closer to home. about 9.5 thousand miles to be exact. So much time to make up, when I get back, so much to do. An entire year will be missing from my marriage, and I don't know how to get that back. There will be challenges aside from having to get to know each other all over again. There is significant resistance from family to our relationship, that must be overcome. A campaign to run, moving into a new home, and rebuilding a life that was put on hold. Not just mine, not just hers but "ours" as a couple. There was a movie that I saw as a child called "The Best Years of Our Lives" about soldiers returning from WWII, and the challenges they faced upon return. I remember a quote that has always stuck with me, a husband said of his wife; "I have had to fall in love with my wife all over again."
This war has offered me communication that was undreamed of in the 1940's, so I get to hear her voice almost daily, I get to read her words nearly daily, I get to see her face in near real time weekly. It has been two and a half months since I saw her last. It will be 6 months two days, and 16 hours this minute and about 9.5 thousand miles until I get to hold her again and start making up for lost time. I can't say with certainty I understand everything about Iraq. But what I do know is that everyday I survive this war is a day closer to home, and the woman I love. Every single day here is a fight, and we are very much in a war. At the end of this all I'll be able to say is "I was there." At the end of this, when I look into my wife's eyes she won't care about the war, the insurgency, or the United States Army. All that will matter is we are again together and after a year, we are again whole.
Happy anniversary angel, I will do everything I can to return to you...I love you endlessly.
Oh, for those of you who haven't heard this song...it was written by a fellow soldier from the 1st BN 153rd Infantry Arkansas National Guard. Fellow goes by the handle JR. This is a link to a previous post, forgive the crude language. Download the song it is worth it.