Recently one of my best friends had a major life event happen and I missed it.
I don’t mean that I simply was unable to attend. I mean that I completely missed that this was even happening. It’s the kind of thing that has been months in the making. There were announcements made, showers thrown, and a sense of celebration for everyone close to my friend. Except me.
In this situation a friend would have at least sent a card. A good friend would have sent a gift. A best friend would have been there. I simply wasn’t.
Before you read too much into this situation let me give you the background. This was a very close friend of mine a decade ago, before military life separated us. There was no issue between us. No falling out. I’d like to think that if we ever live close to one another again, we can simply pick our friendship back up without missing a beat.
There are dozens of women who have been a significant part of my life since I joined the military 16 years ago. Over the years circumstance has separates us and I have missed so much.
Simply doing life together.
I have been very open that I don’t think deployment is the hardest part of military life and I have not made a claim to any one part being harder than other until now.
This is the hardest part.
Opening up your heart to others only to say goodbye a few short months or years later.
I sit here with my calendar open trying to fit in one last visit with everyone before we leave Small Town, NY for the metropolis of our nation’s capital and my heart is breaking. I know from past experience that there is a very high chance I’ll never be back. I may never again see the women here who helped me grow during the past 4 years. And it’s not for lack of wanting to stay connected. It’s just really hard to do.
Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. I have spent most of the day sending snarky e-cards to my girls because I just can’t bring myself to say the truth. There are no words to fully express how much I have depended on them and how I will never be able to replace them. I am beyond blessed to have a tribes of women who have rallied around me.
To my fellow military spouses I really don’t need to say anything more, because they understand this completely. There is no question that I’m only a phone call away if then need advice, or a laugh, or someone to celebrate with. I have no doubts that if our paths ever cross again, nothing will have changed between us.
But to my other girls, I really hope we have the kind of friendship that oozes with grace. I hope that I have been transparent enough for you to understand the struggle of military life so when the next young military wife crosses your path you can empathize with her and support her. I hope you will try just as hard as I do to stay connected with the very real possibility that I will never see you again.
I love my life. I have been asked many times if I would pick military life again given the chance. Without hesitation I can tell you I would. Heartbreak and all. There is always something sacred in the things that challenge us and grow us.
New York, I will miss you.