Thursday, August 28, 2008

Life and Death and Everything Inbetween

The thoughts usually start brewing in my head at around this time at night after not hearing from Aaron by the time I thought I would have. My mind starts to go into overdrive, and I start creating the scene as I would imagine it would happen. I can’t help it either – I don’t know what I’m thinking about until I’m done thinking about it.

There are times, like right now, that I realize he could be gone and I wouldn’t even know it. Since the Army doesn’t have my correct address (as far as I know), I would get a phone call from one of Aaron’s fellow soldiers. It’s not protocol, but times like those are more important than protocol would ever be. So I would get a phone call, I would crumble to the floor, and I wouldn’t know what to do next. My mom would get on the next flight down here, and if there wasn’t one for a while she would jump in her car and drive like a maniac. I know she would. But then what? Over the past 8 plus months, this scenario has gone through my head many, many times, and the endings are always different. In one ending, I shut down and keep going through life as a robot, doing and saying what other people expect me to say, just trying to hold it all together. In another ending, I go to Austin, TX, to where Aaron’s ex-wife and son live, and I sit in their living room with Diego in my arms for hours. In yet another ending, I quit my job, bail on my lease, and make my mom come to a deserted island with me for a few months. But in every single scenario, however different the endings might be, one thing is always the same. I feel lost. And destroyed. And utterly helpless.

A lot of people cringe when I tell them I think about the possibility of Aaron not coming home. A lot of people look at me like I’m the ultimate pessimist and worse, like I’m a bad wife. But, the way I see it, the ultimate sacrifice is something that needs to be thought about and respected. Is it sad and terrifying to think about? Absolutely. But in a way, I feel like if I don’t think about it or don’t give it the respect it deserves, I’m only fooling myself.

Death is only a natural part of life when it occurs naturally. But when it comes before someone’s time is supposed to be up, it’s just not fair. So many young men and women have been taken from their loved ones because of this war we are in. I absolutely refuse to say that they died for nothing, though, and when I hear anyone say that I want to slap them across the face. The ones who have died for nothing are the ones that die in drug deals gone wrong, in gang related violence, in alcohol related car accidents. Those are the people that die for nothing. The ones that have died in combat or as a result of combat have died for EVERYTHING. They have died fighting for our freedom, our independence, and our quality of life. They have died with their honor intact.

I wonder if anyone other than a military spouse can know what this feeling is like. It’s like a pit at the bottom of my stomach that won’t go away until my husband is actually physically in my arms again. It’ll be there until I can smell his cologne, feel his breath when he whispers into my ear, and run my fingers across his scars, knowing he will never have to go back to that awful place. But for now, I am left waiting for that phone call that will put my fears to rest and that will let me sleep peacefully for at least one night.

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Why we wait.