When I sat down tonight to write this post, I thought I’d talk about the stuff I saw in Europe that has inspired me, or share the news of what has happened in our wedding planning process. Things have moved along, decisions been made, deposits paid, checklist items marked off as done. But the words for talking about those things won’t come. I can’t write them, not right now.
Instead, what I feel inside of me tonight is the hole in my life caused by that goodbye in Heathrow a few weeks back. It is the bittersweet joy/pain of counting down not to the wedding, but to that day on the sometime-horizon when MM comes back home again.
When will it be? Right now, we’re not sure. The military has extended his tour by an undisclosed number of days and weeks. We think he will be home for Christmas, and for my graduation. But, like so much of living within military life, we are not sure.
It seems like every song I hear on the radio that speaks of love, of the joy of finding yourself in the eyes of someone else, or of rediscovering the meaning of home in someone’s arms makes me think of my man. Same goes for every song of separation, of longing, of commitment despite situations, miles and people. And I know that over there in the desert, despite the 8 ½ hours that separate us in timespace, MM feels the same, but amplified. For while I’m comfortable here in Canada, in the house that we’ve put together and the home we’ve made here, my man is hundreds of kilometers away. Living in 50 degree Celsius heat, surrounded by sand and scrub and makeshift buildings, my guy works and eats and sleeps, while also aching and dreaming and yearning of me and of home.
They say that deployment separations like this, with their demands and tensions, details and uncertainties, longing and loving from afar, they test a relationship. More than a few break on the crucible that is a tour. I’ve already watched a few military friend couples, engaged or even married, find their own relationships on rockier footing then they thought possible. And each morning or evening, when I talk to MM and I hear the weariness in his voice, or see the loneliness in his words on my instant messenger screen, I know firsthand how hard it is to live with all of this, and to be supportive and caring and upbeat for him, when I have many a day where I feel anything but those things.
Yet I made a commitment to him. When he first told me he was a military man, and when I accepted him and fell in love with him as my military man, I made a commitment to accept the hardships that came with this all encompassing vocation of his. And then once again, just over a year ago, when I proposed to him in that rumpled bed at 2 am on a Wednesday morning, I did it with a more defined awareness of what it would mean to be his Mrs.
Now, a year later and a little more than halfway into his tour, despite the loneliness and pain of having him so far away, I feel a renewed commitment to accept him with everything he is and an even deeper longing to be his Mrs. Even though I know even better now how hard it will be at times in our future life to be his wife and to share him with the military.
Thing is, he’s worth it. For his smiles and his dimples, his sparkling blue eyes and the sound of his unguarded laughter, the feeling of his abiding love and dedication to both me and to his calling as a military man… All of this and a thousand reasons more is why he is worth it.
As I've listened to these songs in the last few weeks, and again tonight, and yet again probably tomorrow and next week, I remind myself of all of this. It's worth it. He is worth it. When I’m planning the wedding, our wedding, I have tried and will continue to try to keep that one certainty firmly fixed in my heart and mind and dreams. Our wedding will be a public joining of us and a private celebration of the determination that got us through the days we’re in now to get to that Big Day.
Next year, when we are there, and the DJ plays the love songs I’m listening to now and MM and I dance together, I expect that the tears in my eyes and his will be not just be simple tears of happiness. Coming as they will then after two long years of being together, yet separated by military life, those songs will remind us of the days that have come before that Big One. The songs will whisper to him and to me of the deeper complexities of everything that has gone into getting us to our day, beyond the picking of the hall and the dress and the DJ and the flowers. The tears that flow then will be happiness, yet, but also a kind of cleansing of all this, as we join our newly married hands and walk out into the world together, side by side.
As the song says:
Everything I know, and anywhere I goWhile right now, then, I might not be sure of much, the one thing I am sure of is that I miss my military man. I love him, I am committed to him and I can’t wait to be his Mrs.
it gets hard but it won't take away my love
And when the last one falls, when it's all said and done
it gets hard but it won't take away my love