Scrolling through my news feed on a Sunday morning, I came across an article about the war in the Middle East. Being a military lifestyle blogger, I follow hundreds of organizations that share these types of articles across every platform, with various viewpoints on the topic. As a military spouse myself, I’ve always tried to keep things calm, cool, and collected when it comes to this war, and the non-military/civilian perspective. But this article made me wonder what people really think is going on over there.
When my husband was getting ready to deploy, we went through what I would consider the typical training experience. It was chaotic, honestly. He went back and forth for several weeks, spent some time at home, and then left for Texas for the official pre-deployment training. Everyone would ask me where he was, or what his schedule would look like until they finally got overseas. And my answers were always followed by, “Oh, that’ll go by so quick!” or “At least it’s just Texas for now!”.
Training was followed quickly by the real thing, and again, the questions would come. “Where is he going?”, “For how long?” Afghanistan. A year, give or take.
“It’s not that bad there anymore.”
“The war is basically over.”
“Nothing is really going on, he won’t get any action.”
Let me start by saying this: I know they meant well. But we’re not making mountains out of mole hills here. Their answers were always so upbeat; so enthusiastic. Like their excitement could somehow diminish my very real feelings. I wish I could say that after nearly 18 years of war, that things were truly coming to an end. I wish I could say that nothing was going on there anymore; that it’s “not that bad”. But there’s a big stretch between what we comfort ourselves by believing, and what’s reality.
The reality is that my husband had to suit up with 60 pounds of armor every time he walked to get his breakfast. The reality is that some missions, he wasn’t sure he’d get back to us. The reality is that some families never heard from their loved one again. If you asked my husband about that reality, he can sum it up with the things that changed him forever. The things that made him both strong and weak all at once. He can tell you about the day that he woke up to find that his teammate had stepped on an IED in the early morning hours, and how they tried so hard to save him.
So, don’t tell us about how it’s almost over. Don’t tell us how safe they’ll be, or how it’ll go by so fast. There’s nothing we want more than for you to be right… But after almost 2 decades of war, we know better. There are some things we just don’t want to hear anymore.