“…I’m right here by your side. I am not your enemy. I don’t wanna fight…” -Mary Gauthier, ‘The War After The War’
After my few short years in the Air National Guard, I understood that life would always be different for me in comparison to civilians around me. I had been trained to put ‘Integrity First, Excellence In All I do, and Service Before Self!” These are great values, but as a single mother and young adult, it was hard to find someone else who had those same morals and also understood the challenges of the military in my community.
Then entered Steven; an Army National Guard Veteran who served in Afghanistan, was the same age as me, held the same morals, and wanted the same things in life. Needless to say, He is now my husband of six years and we have three beautiful children.
Life hasn’t always been a “Cinderella Story,” for us however. The first few years of our marriage contained many highs but also a scary amount of lows. Thankfully, I had received some training through the Air Force and was lucky to have support from several military friends which helped pinpoint some of the battles my Soldier, best friend, and love of my life was facing everyday.
We made a commitment to face those battles together and remember that we are always working together on the same team. We are better spouses, parents, friends, and workers because of it. PTSD, anxiety, hearing loss, sleep disorders, and extreme knee pain, are a hand full of things we have handled together over the years.
Thankfully we have been able to take some of what we’ve learned and pass it on to our brothers and sisters and we will continue to do so as long as we can. Everyday is a learning experience. I love to tell our stories and take every opportunity to show our fellow veterans and their families that you are not alone.
If you are a military spouse, I hope this blog brings you some comfort and guidance. I know you feel invisible at times and it feels like no one understands, but I promise you, I do. Ask the hard questions and connect with other spouses like myself. Don’t wait until it is too late.
Opening the eyes of civilians in communities that our veterans live in is essential and urgent. I hope our stories help those outside of military life better understand the day-to-day struggles of our vets and what they can do to help. We have lost too many to the ‘War After The War.’
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*Asking for help or someone to talk to is a STRENGTH and you have all of my faith and support to take that step!*