Reflection gets harder every year, especially since we’ve personally known so many soldiers that have given their lives for our country.
We were broke newly weds. Like, seriously broke.
And I was a shy, fresh off the farm girl, looking for a job.
Conveniently, my husband had a good friend, Bill, that he had always worked for, whose wife worked at the employment place on post.
She was one of the first people to show me kindness in my new venture of Army wifedom…
She found me a job…and she found it quickly!
And thank God, because the rent was due.
It was not the job I was trained to do, but it was an interim position until she could find me the next job, which she did, three months later. I thanked God many times for her and her family.
My husband had worked under her husband as a private, corporal, and a sergeant. And at that time, they were squad leaders together.
They played flag football together and she and I would sit diligently on the sidelines and cheer them on and chit chat. She offered me a great reprieve of the loneliness I felt from not knowing anyone.
Her and her husband were so sweet! He would smile so big at her from the field.
She told me of how my husband was hurt playing flag football the year before by someone tackling him (which, of course, is illegal in flag football). Anyway, she said that her husband, who NEVER cursed, was yelling and cussing at the ref and the other team for being so flagrantly disrespectful of the rules, that she didn’t know which kid to grab to cover their ears. She just laughed and said “that’s the only time I’ve ever heard him cuss”. She would always tell me how much her husband appreciated my husband and how good my husband was and blah blah blah:) They had a close relationship with my husband and that made me smile–because sometimes, you just need a friendly word and face. They provided both. And then she would catch her husband smiling at her again, and a slow smile would come across her face.
I remember thinking how sweet they were and how I hoped we could be like that after years of marriage too.
While I’m sure there were other wives attending the game, she is the only one I remember.
Of course, this all happened before the war.
They served overseas together for a few rotations, but then they moved as both of their parents got sick. He took a job as a hometown recruiter to help his family out.
And with the fast paced lifestyle the Army provides, we lost touch.
He recruited for a while, took care of his family, and then went on to another job. A special job.
One day, I was sitting at home and my phone started ringing. It was weird at first, because it was people from our past calling, people that my husband hadn’t worked with in a few years. No one would tell me anything, but I knew what it was, I just didn’t know who it was.
Then my husband came home.
Bill was gone. Killed by an IED.
He was only 30 years old.
I still get sick to my stomach thinking about it.
Just like that.
I have no words, nor do I even want to imagine what his wife and children went through and are still going through, even six years later.
I can say that I will never forget their kindness, nor their ability to lead as a family by example. They loved each other. Their love was apparent to anyone around.
Reflection is hard, but necessary.
I can still see Bill smiling across the field at his wife.
And when I see my husband smiling at me across the room, I am mindful of not taking that for granted (although sometimes I do).
This Memorial Day, do what it calls you to do: Thank a soldier. Reflect on their sacrifices.