Thursday, May 08, 2008

The one where I am not polite

I'm a fairly easy-going person and am always loathe to put forward the unpopular opinion, preferring to go with the flow. So I just nod my head and murmur, "Yes, you're right," when some well-meaning (I'm sure) person tells me that, "At least you know he's safe. There are so many military wives out there worse off than you." And their statements are, in fact, true: many military wives have husbands who are in harm's way every day of their 15 month deployments while mine is relatively safe (if he would just remember to duck before going through a door) and has only been away from me for six months.

But you know what? I'm tired of hearing people who would just about wither and die if they had to spend even a month out of contact with their husbands minimize how I'm feeling. My friends who are Marine wives or girlfriends - and I have more of them than any of these well-meaning people do, trust me! - don't treat me differently because TCB's not in a combat zone or hasn't been gone as long as their spouse has. They know that any time with the person you love 5,000 miles and several time zones away is tough. They have that same flutter of excitement in their tummies when they hear the phone ring at 10:15 p.m. and hope, hope, hope it's their fella. They would have understood how much it hurt to hear my Junior League friends complaining about their husbands' bad habits when I have only had my husband living with me for five weeks out of the 56 we've been married and long for the day I can scold him for not putting his socks in the hamper. Heck, I'll probably pick them up for him for a little while - no scolding.

Those Marine (or Army) wives and girlfriends have earned the right to tell me to "quit yer whining"...but they don't. Instead, I hear it from people who have no clue what I'm going through, and I'm tired of it. Don't dare to minimize my pain until you've walked a mile in my shoes. Don't you dare make me feel guilty because being separated from my husband might be first on my mind when you ask how I am. I'm sorry not to be a more interesting conversation for you, but at least I didn't bore/embarrass you by telling you the story of how I ended up in a heap on the floor, sobbing until I fell asleep, last week - horrors!

Perhaps this is an outcome of the thinking I've been doing re: expressing anger appropriately or perhaps I've just reached the outer limit of how far I can stuff things away...not sure. I do know that the next person who asks me how my husband is doing had better be prepared to hear the answer because I'm done being polite.

4 comments:

Daisy said...

Good for you! I think you're going to prove to the very next person who asks that you are quite capable of expressing your emotions!

I surely hope you didn't take my earlier comment about making a 'good list' as an attempt to minimize your pain. Unless trying to help -ease- your pain is the same thing. Then I'm guilty. But I think it's different and hope you agree.

I used to rebel against military wives saying only other military wives could understand. But, then, I heard it enough that I finally let my ego go and realized it's true.

I'm glad you have us to tell about ending up in a heap - it's good to tell someone. And I'm not bored or embarrassed for you. I think of it as an exercise in empathy.

The build up of anticipation just to have it dashed; it's just horrible and I'm so sorry. Please find something to look forward to, some little thing that you can control. I worry that you will become cynical about hope otherwise.

Now, in all seriousness, please tell me how your husband is doing. I want to hear.

JessiferSeabs said...

I'm glad that TCB isn't in a combat zone.

That said, I cannot fathom ever -- EVER! -- telling somebody in your position to "quit whining," regardless of who or what "my" husband was doing... just being apart as newlyweds is unfair, sad, lonely, and painful...

I don't blame you for wanting to pick up socks. I would feel the same way.

Hang in there. I am sorry he can't come home on leave. :-(

Lori said...

We widows call all those people DGI's - Don't Get It. After my husband was killed I had a couple of people come up to me and tell me that their divorce was far worse than what I was going through - say what???
I realize that person is still around and that can hurt, but at least you can feel anger about it. When I found out that my husband would never be coming home again all I could feel was a deep and lasting sorrow that still hasn't gone away after 3 years.
You stick to your guns girl...you are doing great and you will get through this! And tell TCB thank you from all of us!!

Kristi said...

You are right. I think we all take the obvious things for granted. Your situation has reminded me of that too. I think of how lonely I feel without my spouse (he's my best friend too) for 2 weeks and I cannot fathom it long term. I often wish there was more I could do or say to make this better/easier for you.