Ever scroll through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for no reason other than you need to kill five minutes?
I was on a weekend hiatus filled with nothing but me and my laptop as I tried to finish three books before Monday. Around midnight last night I took a short break and picked up my phone knowing I shouldn’t.
I came across a post online. One that would stop me in my tracks.
How could someone being so cold? So cruel?
I have made mistakes in my life, and spoken out of turn as we get into later in the post, but I have never once ever been this heartless.
I have been a military spouse for a really long time. Married my first husband the same week I turned 18 because I thought I knew what love was, and I did love him, but not the way a wife should love her husband. He was my best friend and through deployments and life I stayed by his side. During our not-so-nice divorce we were still amicable. Never once through that pain or heartache did I ever wish him dead.
Makes me wonder how much hate has to be in someone to wish that upon a service member when I couldn’t get to that point even when I thought I hated him.
I took the screenshots that made my vision blur behind tears and posted them on my family page and my author page. You see I live in two communities. One where I am just another army wife and we all stick together, and one where I am an author which is a community inside a community. In some cases the two come together as they did when they saw the same screenshot.
Most were heartbroken. Others wanted to sob alongside me. Some messaged her hoping to make her understand it wasn’t okay to say something like that, but people like her do not listen to people like us.
The Army Wives.
Life as an Army wife has been an amazing journey. Even when we want to claw each other’s eyes out we stand by each other whenever someone needs us. We refuse to spit on or burn the flag. We have weekend cook outs, and talk each other through anything. We show each other respect.
During my time as a wife the most important thing I have learned is that we are able to adapt and overcome.
I made a mistake nearly two years ago when I started my author career. I used an actor as a muse. Not just any actor (apparently) while I had heard of him about some Entertainment Tonight drama I never paid attention because it was none of my business and I work a lot so television is out. I truly didn’t know who he was. I knew the name, but not the face, and when I found my blue eyed model I didn’t bother to check because I was still new and thought “No big deal, I can reach out later and make payments for my covers from him.”
Ian Somerhalder – he had the eyes my character needed, the adaptable face where he could show any emotion except an emotionless mask, and even the occasional five o’clock shadow. He was everything I was looking for in my character physically.
This was what my character looked like, but the problem is that I am me. I am always going to give 110% at everything I do, but that won’t always put me at the top. I am okay with it. I know my strengths and weaknesses which is why I never wanted to use an actor/singer/etc as a muse. When I get a story done, or get the series out I update the covers. I wanted him on a cover, but sadly someone of my stature will never be able to get someone of his to do something like that without winning the powerball and becoming the first woman president. It would take massive strides.
When I found out I had my mini-freak out and thought about what I was going to do. I turned to my army wives who are amazing at being creative.
“You may never get him on a cover, but at least you know who to cast if the story ever makes it to Hollywood.”
That was the first response I heard. One wife took something negative and turned it into a positive. In the author world I got told it was okay, that many people used him from some television show, and how I should watch it on Netflix. I appreciated their suggestions, but my army wives came back with…
“You could always try to reach out, but he is a busy man so what if we found you a look-a-like. There are a lot of men on the bases. I am sure we could find one that fits the description.”
I love both communities I live in, but they each get me from a different aspect. They both want to help when I need help, so then the question comes up… Why would I bring something like that screenshot which is so negative to the attention of others who would never feel that way and instead they thank our service members.
Because they get me.
They would understand that I shared it because I felt for who it was directed at and even more so because some of the people in my author world are military wives themselves. We have patriotism pouring out of us on the author side from the authors, models, editors, PA’s, and more. They support our service men and women.
I know some of you are probably like… Big deal you used a movie star. I get that I do. But you see I went against everything I try to hold myself to because I didn’t research that face and find out. I have to deal with it, but the point behind it is that the wives picked me up, brushed me off, said do it again, and go write your ass off. I used this as an example of some of the little things we all help each other with. Like unsolved freakouts, but these are miniscule compared to what I will share next.
A few (like 10) years ago I was on my first deployment with my second husband. We had just moved to the pits of hell at a duty station I hated, but would eventually grow to love because of the wives I befriended there. My oldest (autistic) son was back home with my parents while I had the two smaller kids with us as we adjusted and bounced from off post to on post housing within months of our arrival, and within two weeks of moving on post my husband was deployed
My husband had been deployed gone five weeks when I got a call from my mom.
“Your dad is sick,” she said and everything after that was a blur. I had seen him sick before, but when my mom rasped out those words I knew. I pleaded with her to take him to the ER, but he didn’t want people to fuss over him. I told them I would call my husband’s friends at the Fire Department where he had volunteered for many years before we left, whatever I could do from so far away, but he declined.
I told my mom I was coming home.
My husband called the next morning and I told him I was going to go home early to get the kids from their dads during summer, and was going to delay admissions to school for them until we knew what was wrong. Then I scraped together every dime we had in savings to make the long trip. I arrived two days later to my mother in tears telling me they were going to have to do surgery. I got all three of my kids together and waited.
I waited for the doctors to update us.
I waited to hear from my husband.
I waited to see if I was going to make another drive to the hospital an hour away.
The life of an Army Wife is to hurry up and wait, so I waited.
My mom called a few hours later and told me that my dad wasn’t waking up. He was supposed to have woken up hours prior. I called my brother, and piled my kids into the car and drove. By the time we got there we were arguing as any siblings do, and the nurse came out and said “Your dad wants to see you both.” We went back knowing we were in trouble, but we weren’t. “It’s cancer,” my dad said to us both. He knew before the pathology had come back. I cried and swore to him I would give him my liver. I would let them have whatever they needed to save him.
He lasted a few days before checking himself out of the hospital to go home as they had given him a death sentence of four to six months. My husband wouldn’t be home for twelve months so I was in this alone. I couldn’t lean on my mom or my family. I refused to lean on my kids and my support system was hours away…. When I had to go home I cried the whole way, but I had to get my kids in school, and deal with the fact that housing only allows you to be gone 30 days or they take your house.
The entire trip my fellow wives called me to talk me over bridges that scared me to death. To let me vent while my kids were fast asleep in the back of the car. Some even just called to pray with me. I had to Red Cross my husband to even let him know what had happened as they went on a communication black out, and I didn’t hear from him since before my dads surgery. When they are deployed you cannot just pick up the phone and call them. Red Cross agreed to deliver the message, but it was still days before he could call.
I drove back and forth every weekend for as long as we could afford it. Then when we ran out of money I stayed at home on base with my friends, my fellow wives. I saved up for a couple months planning to go home at Christmas. I couldn’t miss Christmas, we always went to my dad’s side of the family and I got to see my Granny. The same family that my dad somehow held together. Without him around I don’t see them or hear anything unless it is on Facebook or I make impromptu visit to my Granny. (You never know who is the glue till they are gone)
It wasn’t very long after the trip that my mom called in tears. I couldn’t understand what she was saying and she tried to tell me, but everything drifted into a blur after “Your son hit his head and drowned. They are trying to revive him.” Some part of me died until I heard “They got him back, we are headed to the hospital.” I called in every favor I had which weren’t many left and had to rely on my exes new wife to go sit with my mom at the hospital and update me because I wasn’t there. I tried to Red Cross my husband, but the Red Cross informed me that because my son had been revived it was not an emergency. Once again my husband wasn’t there, but the wives in the neighborhood, from our unit, and the ones I knew from the internet had all come together and I wasn’t left alone until it was time to drive home and one even dropped her whole life to come with me for a month.
My son was fine, but I wasn’t. My dad was dying, my son had died and came back, my ex was being a narcissist and explaining why he shouldn’t have to pay child support, and my brother told me my dad was okay with my mom dating when he was gone. He didn’t want her to be alone, but as long as he was breathing I didn’t want to hear it. (Selfish, I know, but I couldn’t handle the when I am gone conversations yet)
Out of my mind I went to Walmart on payday weekend… This is a mistake every payday weekend, but this weekend I had my first overseas argument with my husband and hung up on him. Every second that he didn’t call back left more what ifs in my mind. I was buying bed frames for my kids so they could upgrade out of those cheap $30 plastic toddler beds with stickers for headboards. Only they weighed 300 pounds each. I asked for help from the manager when I found him and he sent an employee over. The employee wouldn’t help me so with leverage, two kids under five, and a miracle from God I got them on top of the buggy. I then proceeded to the check out line where the end of my sanity was reached when she asked if I needed help and I said yes, then she called the same teenage employee who came over and walked out with me.
When I got to the car he scoffed and walked off leaving me there. I was able to push the boxes off the buggy with a bang and leave them up against the car. My kids climbed inside and got in their car seats. They were tired, hungry, and wanting to go home. I pulled out a walmart bag with pop tarts inside and gave one to each of my kids then I waited. I called everyone I knew, but they were all out. I wasn’t about to call staff duty and tell them I needed anything this late, so I waited leaving messages everywhere. Three hours later… I walked up to a soldier and grabbed his uniform and yanked him over to my car and said “You are going to be a good fucking samaritan for me today.” He, of course, wanted all my husbands info because of my behavior, (As an army wife your hubby can be judged by what you say and do) but him and two other guys got me loaded up and I was ready to go.
I was thanking them when the employee came back around and said “Typical Army bitch, always get what they want.” Without thinking I threw one of the pop tarts from the bag. I won’t get into what happens when you do that, but will say there are laws prohibiting such things as throwing pastries. But you know who was there for my spiral? The wives… Know who was there to laugh with me? The wives… Know who took me in and kept me from having another meltdown? The wives…
My father did die eighteen months later. My husband had returned from deployment and was given orders to move us even further away. We applied for a compassionate and got reassigned back home where we were able to spend the last couple weeks with him awake before he drifted into the sleep that takes your life. My dad held on long enough for my husband to come home and tell him he could handle the wave of grief that we all knew was coming.
You know who drove all the way from the other side of the country to be at my dads funeral? The Army Wives.
Army Wives are a community and whether we like it or not we are all in this together. I was in tears thinking how wronged this army wife was when some civilian wished death upon her husband. In her shoes I would be curled up next to my husband with a first aid kit, defibrillator, Holy Water, and a gun so no matter what attacked him I could save him to be able to keep him for at least one more day. We always need one more day.
I knew when I married my first and second husband what I was in for. The every other year deployments, moving all the time, never knowing if they would come home for dinner each day, playing mom and dad to the kids, a sex deprived existence, and being their #1 whenever they need us.
The woman that posted the status in the screenshot seems to think that we get some kind of privileges because we allow the military community to come together to do activities. Last time I checked this was aimed at being family fun while keeping our community close so when someone doesn’t come home, and their families are notified they have all of us to lean on. I guess I am a rare person because I would let a stranger lean on me if they truly needed it, but it would seem most people only care about themselves and their hatred, unless they are in communities like I have in my life.
It is very easy to be a keyboard warrior these days. It is extremely easy to say things we don’t mean or react without thinking. I know I have done it, but you know what is great about being a decent human being… we can apologize.
I doubt we will ever hear one though. Some people know how to be an adult with sincerity and some people know how to act entitled behind a keyboard. Hence the laughter at the end…
So in closing:
To the Army wife this was directed toward:
Do not listen to people like her. Go to bed and sleep and in the morning hug your husband from me and tell him I thank him for his service. Then I want you to come back and read this from me to you. Thank you for your service in standing by your husband. It is a hell of a lot of work out here, but you are not alone, you will never be alone. If you need anything just give us the Army Wife bat symbol and we will be there.
To the woman who wrote such a hateful message:
I do not know why you feel the need to hate military. Churches, schools, and businesses alike have trick or treating and trunk or treating. There was absolutely no reason you couldn’t use your keyboard warrior fingers to google it and find one that is appropriate for you. But I don’t want you to feel like we get special treatment so when you can say that you live the army wife life you can come and hang out with us… The criteria is below:
- When your Husband deploys every other year
- When you have to play both mom and dad to the kids
- When you have to move duty stations every two to three years and live out of boxes in between
- When you go weeks without hearing from your spouse
- When you put up with sometimes horrible medical care (cause no one accepts Tricare Prime unless they have to)
- When you wake up at 5am to start your day, but your husband is already at work.
- When you deal with spousal drama and wives bickering because no one is getting laid (every other year deployments remember)
- When you have to talk a wife out of committing suicide because everything falls apart and her husband doesn’t know
- When you have to hide events till you know your spouse can handle whatever has happened.
- When you have to bite your tongue so the last possible words you say to him are not in anger.
- When you hold your husband’s hand and bury more people your age than anyone else you know.
- When you wear painful shoes, and have to act like your momma raised you better than what you have shown online because you are required to attend a ball.
- When you see the news of someone dying, but no names are mentioned so you have to wait and wonder
- When you smile for photos, but you are dying inside…
- When you have to deal with uneducated people telling you that they can’t wait till you get the death notification
There is a lot more too it, but when you live this life, we will be able to make an exception and allow you to participate in activities we pay for, coordinate, and use as military family builders. I however advise that you change your name, dye your hair, and bite your tongue because if you have learned anything from this it is that wives stick together and we are universal.
An Army Wife