A Little Lost…

I have a confession to make. I’m a little lost right now. I get weird when Clay goes away, and it’s not really as rational as it sounds.

The first time Clay went away for Military training he was gone for a few months. The first week I called-in sick, sat alone in the dark TV room and watched movies all day while eating ice cream. Then I lost my appetite and stopped eating much for the rest of the time he was gone. He was just in Texas, for christsake. And we both travel extensively for work, so WTF?

And now he’s on his second deployment and I’m feeling much the same. And remember, he is not now, nor has he ever been to, Iraq or Afghanistan. I feel like I should smack myself in the face and shout, “Snap out of it, you freakin’ MORON!”

In April we will have been together for 15 years, and we’ve had our share of rough spots. We drive each other crazy sometimes and there have been times when we thought we were through. Yet here we still are.

So I had to ask myself: Why do I go into this funk when I should be thanking my lucky stars at his very fortunate assignments?

I met Clay at a very low point in my life. It was a time of such darkness that I wasn’t sure I’d make it to the next day, let alone ever see daylight again. And then all of a sudden there he was. And everything got better. And over the years we’ve held each other up through some really fucking hard times, and we’ve floated high through lots of incredible ones.

I have accomplished things that I never thought I was capable of. Clay will tell you that I’m the strong one. That I’m the sane one. That I’m the one who pushed us forward to realize the dreams we were afraid to dream. But, truth be told, I slip back a little into that dark time (before Clay) whenever he goes away. It’s a struggle, but I’ll be ok – but only because his being in my life for 15 years has made me stronger

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The Dreaded "I" Word

I debated some time about writing this blog. Clay is a faithful (if silent) reader, and I know that he will read this – tomorrow. A common, oft discussed problem of soldiers is their family’s penchant for burdening them with problems on the home front while they are deployed.

Clay, I’m sorry.

We have been very fortunate with Clay’s deployments to date: one in Europe, and the upcoming one to a “safe” Middle Eastern country.

And then we just had this conversation:

Clay: Oh, we were told of the possibility of another deployment when I get back from *safe-middle-eastern-country*

Brad: Oh really, where?

Clay: Uh, *really bad place in Iraq* or *a somewhat safer place in Iraq*, or someplace like that.

Brad: (playing it totally cool while his heart is beating out of his chest) OK. Those are two very different places…

(A discussion then ensues about the differences between the two places)

Clay: I think it’s *a somewhat safer place in Iraq*

(Brad refrains from losing consciousness while appearing like nothing out if the ordinary has happened at all…)

On February 12th, Clay and I will have been married for 14 years. We were married in a liberal Church a few miles from where we now live. This marriage has never been legal in the eyes of the law, but it is a day that no one will ever be able to take away from us.

While truly not trying to be morbid, I feel the need to reiterate the fact that I do not exist in the eyes of the military. Lord forbid, if something were to ever happen to Clay while he is on duty, no soldier will ever come and knock on my door. I will not be the first to know. There will be no support group, no letters from comrades, no folded flag.

Every Democratic candidate has pledged to end “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, while every Republican has pledged to keep it in place. There are an estimated 65,000 gay soldiers currently serving in the military.

And what if the ban is lifted, you ask? Will Troy suddenly be accepted and welcomed into his unit with open arms? Dream on, sisters. His unit mates relentlessly bash on gays (and democrats!) So, although his life may be made hell and his chances at promotion dashed if he is found out, he will at least not be dishonorably discharged.