I met my husband in 2005, about a year after he returned from Iraq. I remember him telling me, most people were afraid to ask him questions. Maybe I was ignorant at the time and didn’t have the full understanding of what he had just survived through, so I wasn’t one of those people who were afraid to look him in the eyes and ask him if he was okay. It wasn’t even apparent at the time that he wasn’t, as he even said himself—he never realized it.
Just turning twenty-one in a combat zone, my husband lived through unthinkable and unfathomable times. I wasn’t versed in how to help him or how to support him. But everything was instinctual. The occurrences of him spacing out and remembering everything, happened often. They occurred during the day and at night. He never displayed physical reactions with these moments, though. It was always just a look in his eyes—a look I’ve come to know well.
I listened to his stories, most of which I had a hard time sitting through without wanting to cry and hold him. But that wasn’t what he needed. He needed someone understanding and strong. He needed a shoulder to lean on. My husband has made me a stronger woman over the past ten years, and I realize now more than ever how much I was needed during those earlier years. I’m thankful I was that person in his life—someone to bring him comfort.
So while I never lived on base or had to say good-bye for a year or more, I’ve given him every ounce of support and love I can. I’ve done what I can to live up to the name of a Marine wife.