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Monday, November 28, 2011

Top 14 things to NOT say to a Military Spouse.

1. "Aren't you afraid that he'll be killed?"
(This one ranks in at number one on the "duh" list. Of course we're afraid. We're terrified. The thought always lingers at the backs of our minds ---but thanks brilliant, you just brought it back to the front. Maybe next you can go ask someone with cancer if they're scared of dying.)

2. "I don't know how you manage. I don't think I could do it."
(This is intended to be a compliment. Though, its just a little annoying. Here's why: it's not like all of us military wives have been dreaming since childhood of the day we'd get to be anxious single moms who carry cell phones with us to the bathroom and in the shower. We're not made of some mysterious matter that makes us more capable, we just got asked to take on a challenging job. So we rose to the challenge and found the strength to make sacrifices.)

3. "At least he's not in Iraq."
(This is the number one most annoying comment for those whose husbands are in Afghanistan. What do they think is happening in Afghanistan? An international game of golf? Guys are fighting and dying over there.)

4. "Do you think he'll get to come home for Christmas/anniversary/birthday/birth of a child/wedding/family reunion, etc?" (Don't you watch the news? No! They don't get to come home for any of these things. Please don't ask again.)

5. "What are you going to do to keep yourself busy while he's gone?"
  (Short answer: Try to keep my sanity. Maybe there's a military wife out there who gets bored when her husband leaves, but I have yet to meet her. For the rest of us, those with and without children, we find ourselves having to be two people. That keeps us plenty busy. We do get lonely, but we don't get bored, and drinking massive amounts of wine always helps keep me busy.)

6. "How much longer does he have until he can get out?"
  (This one is annoying to many of us whether our husbands are deployed or not. Many of our husbands aren't counting down the days until they "can" get out. Many of them keep signing back up again and again because they actually love what they do or they VOLUNTEER AGAIN and AGAIN to go back overseas  b/c there is work that needs to be done.)

7. "This deployment shouldn't be so bad, now that you're used to it."
  (Sure, we do learn coping skills and its true the more deployments you've gone through, the easier dealing with it becomes. And we figure out ways to make life go smoother while the guys are gone. But it never gets "easy" and the bullets and bombs don't skip over our guys just because they've been there before. The worry never goes away.)

8. "My husband had to go to Europe for business once for three weeks. I totally know what you're going through."
 (This one is similar to number two. Do not equate your husband's three week trip to London/Omaha/Tokyo/etc. with a 12-15 month or more deployment to a war zone. Aside from the obvious time difference, nobody shot at your husband or tried to blow him up with an I.E.D., your husband could call home pretty much any time he wanted to, he flew comfortably on a commercial plane, slept between crisp white sheets and ate well, paying for everything with an expense account. There is no comparison. We do not feel bonded to you in the slightest because of this comment and, if anything, we probably resent you a bit for it. Comparing a 12 month combat deployment to a few weeks business trip is like comparing a shitty ford taurus with mercedes convertible.)

9. "Wow you must miss him?"
(This one also gets antoher big "duh". Of course we miss our men. There are some wives who do not and they're now divorced.)

10. "Where is he exactly? Where is that?"
(I don't expect non-military folks to be able to find Anbar Province on a map, but they should know by now that it's in Iraq. Likewise, know that Kabul and Kandahar are in Afghanistan. Know that Muqtada al Sadr is the insurgent leader of the Mahdi Army in Iraq and that Sadr City is his home area. Our country has been at war in Afghanistan for seven years and at war in Iraq for five years. These basic facts are not secrets, they're on the news every night and in the papers every day ---and on maps everywhere.)

11. "Well, he signed up for it, so it's his own fault whatever happens over there"
  (Yes, ignorant, he did sign up. Each and every day he protects your right to make stupid comments like that. He didn't sign up and ask to be hit by anything, he signed up to protect his country. Oh, and by the way, he asked me to tell you that "You're welcome." He's still fighting for your freedom.)

12. "Don't you miss sex! I couldn't do it!"
(hmmm, no i don't miss sex. i'm a robot. seriously...military spouses learn quickly that our relationships must be founded on something greater than sex. We learn to appreciate the important things, like simply hearing their voices, seeing their faces, being able to have dinner together every night. And the hard truth is, most relationships probably couldn't withstand 12 months of sex deprivation.)

13. "Well in my opinion....."
  (Stop right there. Yo, I didn't ask for you your personal political opinions. Hey, I love a heated political debate, but not in the grocery store, not in Jamba Juice, not at Nordstrom, not in a bar when I'm out with my girls trying to forget the war, and CERTAINLY NOT AT WORK. We tell co-workers about deployments so when we have to spend lunch hours running our asses off doing errands and taking care of the house, dog, and kids, they have an understanding. We do not tell co-workers and colleagues because we are giving an invitation to ramble about politics or because we so eagerly want to hear how much they hate the President, esp. while we're trying to heat up our lean cuisines in the crappy office microwaves.)

last but not least....

14. "OH, that's horrible...I'm so sorry!"
(He's doing his job and he's a badass. Don't be sorry. Be appreciative and please take a moment out of your comfortable American lives to realize that our soldiers fight the wars abroad so those wars stay abroad.)

A Thankless War?

Since my husbands last deployment this has been bugging me to the core of my being.  Someone told someone that I love that our Military doesn't see hand to hand combat in war these days.  That they don't actually ever see the enemy...that war is nothing like it was in wars throughout our Nations history.  These ineducated statements infuriate me.  This, my friends, is why our Military is fighting what I say is a thankless war.  They are not being sent overseas for a glorified vacation.  They are being sent to third world countries, in horrific conditions, seeing things you wouldn't even begin to understand or fathom.

If they are just over there twiddling their thumbs, playing video games, and wasting governement monies tell me this; WHY has/is the suicide rate of our war Veterans sky rocketing with each passing year-these last 1o years?  Why is the divorce rate in Military marriages sky rocketing?  Why is the PTSD and TBI rates sky rocketed? Why does the death toll/KIA rate of our Military continue to increase DAILY??  

Some may argue this as they only hear what the news will portray and the Military family will not often delve into the horrors they live with, the unspeakable things they see while deployed, the wreck marriages go through, the nightmares our Vets live with but that certainly does not mean that it doesn't happen.  

It sickens me when I hear of people making light of what our men and women are doing over there.  Disregarding the simple fact that they ARE indeed risking their lives on a daily basis, afraid to sleep, afraid to close their eyes, afraid to turn their backs.  There IS a reason for that.  The dangers are not fake, they are not "blown out of proportion; they are REAL!  

They don't need your sympathy, but they do need to be taken seriously, to be appreciated, to be HONORED for their heroism and sacrifices.

Since we're on the topic, it also irates me when random people will make comments to my husband while deployed such as, "why don't you ever call?" "why don't you write or email me?" or how about this one "why don't you ever talk on facebook" or anything along those lines.  Seriously, people!  When, as his WIFE, I am lucky to get a few minute phone call once or twice a WEEK, or a letter once a MONTH, what makes you thing he has the time to contact you?  I'm not trying to sound catty but the fact of the matter is that he has a mission.  Until that mission is complete, EVERYONE and EVERYTHING takes the back burner.  Until his feet hit US soil again, don't expect anything from him.  But please remember, that while he is making serious sacrifices, living in utter danger for an entire year-he needs YOUR support, dedication, and love.  He needs to know that what he is doing is appreciated.  He needs to know that the people he loves support him and think of him.  So please, write him, send him care packages, send him cards and pictures.  And most of all pray for him!  Recognize the reality of what he is doing.

Thanks for hearing me vent. I recognize that there are people who will disagree with me, and that is fine.  I just felt the need to share my feelings on the topic and try to shed some light where there often seems to be none.

xoxo