Here’s to the ones who sacrifice. Those who find gear in the dark. Those who hug tightly and love fiercely. Those who do birthdays, weekends, holidays, graduations, bedtime stories and date nights solo. Those who give up careers, who sleep alone, who love long distance and spend every waking moment longing to be reunited with a loved one.
To the ones who sacrifice: I see you. I see the red and puffy eyes that tell me you’ve been crying. I see the fatigue and worry on your face that tell me you haven’t heard from your loved one in a while. I see how often you check your phone, hoping for a call or a message. I see the way you hug that person goodbye, as if it’s the very last time you will. I see the way you nervously pace back and forth in the airport as you wait to be reunited with your loved one.
To the ones who sacrifice: I know you. I know your pain and your fear. I know how you toss and turn at night because you made the mistake of watching the news before bed. I know how hot and fast the tears are as they fall when you can’t keep it together anymore. But I also know how desperately you try to keep them at bay. I know the struggle and pressure you feel keeping up with daily life when your heart and mind are elsewhere. I know the sense of relief that washes over you when you hear the door open every night and boots cross your threshold.
To the ones who sacrifice: I want to help you. You are not alone in this journey, no matter how lonely you may feel. There is a wide variety of individuals and organizations ready to help you, myself included. Reach out to friends, to neighbors, to me and unload some of the burden when it gets too heavy to carry. We are stronger together and can do this with each other’s help.
To the ones who sacrifice: I appreciate you. This life can be thankless and oftentimes, quite unglamorous. I appreciate the support you give your spouse as they serve the country. I appreciate the support you give each other as you find your way through deployments, PCS and all the ups and downs of military life. I appreciate the wild creativity you show on a daily basis as you make your own careers, figure out ways to get it all done when you’re all alone and make this life work FOR you instead of AGAINST you. I appreciate the strength and resiliency you show every single day.
To the ones who sacrifice: thank you.