This post is written with some heavy feelings today. I unfortunately had to say goodbye to one of the most amazing men in my life. A man who taught me the importance of being above all, a good person. He taught me compassion, humility, generosity, kindness, strength and patriotism. My grandfather (Pepere for our French family) died at 97 years old last week. It was at this time, that we not only said goodbye to a proud Veteran of the U.S. Navy, but one of greatest men from the greatest generation that ever lived.
As a support spouse, we often are confronted with the fact that when things happen to our loved ones, we don’t always get to go home. When my Pepere died, I was instantly selfish with the thoughts that I wouldn’t get to fly and celebrate his life with the rest of my family. I cried because I am going to miss him, but I also cried because I realized I didn’t get to say goodbye. It is times like this that I wish I didn’t live so far away. It is times like this when being in the military can make you feel so alone.
My circumstances are not to be pitied. I cannot have it both ways. I have truly had to learn this the hard way. I cannot be boasting at the fact that one second I get to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, just to turn around and curse the Coast Guard for sending me so far away from my family. We all have choices. Alaska didn’t need to be on our list. I wasn’t forced to marry Matt and he wasn’t forced to join the military. I am fully aware of the fact that this is the life I chose. I am just recognizing that there are two sides to ever coin and the grass can most definitely be greener on the other side.
For all those support spouses that miss a friend’s wedding, fail to make it to the funeral of a loved one or can’t be back to see their God child baptized, I send you a big hug. At times it doesn’t feel fair. It can be lonely serving your country. But, I promise you this, those things that you all miss, the family that doesn’t get to see you because your spouse is protecting our country, they all get to do what they do because of you and your spouse. They are living in a safer place because of the choice you made to join the military family.
I am so blessed to have a family who understands and supports us in our mission. I am also grateful knowing that my Pepere taught me the importance of serving our country and doing things for others. He wouldn’t be sad that I missed his funeral; I am confident he is proud of me for making good choices no matter how tough they are.