Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou!

Good news! Unspecified-future-deployment is to ________ (safe, non-STAN country)! Although it’s non-tropical and non-European, I’ll take it any day over the war zone.

As an added extra New Year’s bonus: It’s possible he won’t even be included in the group that goes over… So, this is what it feels like to breathe?

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What the Future Holds

It’s much better to live in the present and not dwell too much on the uncertainties of the future. For example: I am grateful to be spending the holidays with my husband in a beautiful, stress-free environment. Yesterday, I got to go on base with Clay because one of his guys is buying an old car of mine. I was again warmly welcomed, offered beer and treated like I had always belonged there.

(Shame on the politicians who didn’t give our servicemembers the credit they deserved in being able to handle the transition. And shame on me for still harboring some of that fear deep down…)

But as for what the future holds: DEPLOYMENT. Don’t know where, and can’t talk about when. We joke that we’re voting for some cool tropical places or even Europe. But I fear the STAN place. Got in trouble for posting about it on facebook as soon as he was officially notified – but I got it taken down before too many saw it. You can say that it’s not imminent, but I can already hear the clock ticking away in the background.

So many things are going through my mind… I am thankful for not having to hide in the shadows anymore, yet I wonder how I’ll deal with being excluded from the official support network now that the threat of discharge has vanished… I have a personal support network of straight and queer military families now – friends who guarantee that I will never again suffer in loneliness and isolation while my husband is deployed. But how this official exclusion will sit in my soul is hard to tell right now.

To be honest, the most important thing for me will be the ability to openly support my husband; to tell him that I love him without fear of the wrong person hearing, to have the freedom to not censor our correspondence for fear of the wrong person accidentally seeing it, to be fully present at his deployment and coming home ceremonies… The freedom to hold on until the moment he boards that plane, and the freedom to be the first to embrace him as he steps back on US soil. There will be no more tearful hidden-behind-a-warehouse goodbyes, parked far out of view of the main gate. There will be no more of that.

And now I know and care about the excellent men he will be going with. I will worry about each and every one of them every day they are gone, but I will be thankful in my knowledge that their support of Clay will be absolute.

But here I am stupidly getting ahead of myself. They’re gonna be going to Diego Garcia, or the Azores, or Germany… Not to the STAN place, right?

World AIDS Day

While I owe a debt of gratitude to many for their support of Clay and I on our journey as a gay military couple, the tangible support we have received from Arnie and Blair has been… what exactly?  What’s the word that means opening your home every drill weekend so Clay has a place to stay so far from home?  What’s the word for having the rare common sense NOT to ask the horribly stupid questions that everyone else asks when you return from war (like “How many people did you shoot?”) – but instead having the patience and understanding to just listen when Clay needed to parcel it out haltingly… painfully?

What’s the word for someone who stood in for me at Clay’s deployment ceremony, or someone who kept me laughing right up to the moment Clay came out publicly to his unit – when the weight of the situation seemed sure to crush me?

On this World Aids Day, I wish to recognize and honor the unique journey that these friends of ours have been on.  You can read about it here – and I guarantee you will be surprised by the way it turns out.

And after you’ve read that, think about all they’ve done for us and help me come up with that word…