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Dear National Guard and Reserve Spouse

National Guard spouse and HUN writer, Rheanna. Photo Credit: Jessica Del Vecchio
National Guard spouse and HUN writer, Rheanna.
Photo Credit: Jessica Del Vecchio

Dear National Guard and Reserve Spouse,

I see you.

I see that you are just like me. That you fight back the same tears, straighten the same shoulders, and force that same last, little smile when you watch him walk away not knowing if that is the last time.

I see you hold those same little hands and hold those same tiny bodies when they cannot understand why “daddy has to leave.” I see that you fight for the same strength, pray the same prayers, hope for the same hopes.

I see that you are fighting as hard as you can to simply survive on those days while an entire country calls for you to thrive.

I see that you push through the hard days, the long nights, without the community that I am so fortunate to have. I see that you battle through the same fears, the same chaos, without the same brothers and sisters beside you that surround me. I see that you fight like hell to do it on your own without the same resources and preparations that my community almost takes for granted.

I am in awe of you for that.

I see that you swell with the same pride when the national anthem begins and are overcome by the same paralyzing pain when a flag is folded and held between gloved hands. I see that you too know what it is to forget to breathe. What it is to sob until no tears are left.

I see that you know what it is to feel broken beyond broken and to still get up and keep moving forward.

I see that when disaster hits our own homeland, the same uniforms are put on, the same boots are laced, and you must live through whatever that disaster is while your partner goes to help everyone else.

I see how much pride and pain that brings at the very same time.

National Guard soldier, husband of Angela Caban, saying goodbye to their son at the airport for a 15 month deployment.
National Guard soldier, husband of Angela Caban, saying goodbye to their son at the airport for a 15 month deployment.

I see you.

I see you fight through reintegration in a nation that still doesn’t understand. I see you try to carry him while his two worlds crash back into each other – half the world expecting him to be exactly the same as before and the other half scared that he cannot be. I see that strength in you, and that heartache, and that sadness. I see how much that breaks you and heals you, breaks you and heals you.

I see those things in me too.

I see that you feel like you do not have a place. That my community isn’t your community. I’m so very sorry that too many people make you feel that.

Your struggle is my struggle. Your heartache is my heartache. Your brokenness is mine too.

I see that you are just like me.

That you know that guilt and relief too often go together, how absolute joy can consume you, what it is to finally breathe after three months, six months, nine months, twelve.

I will carry you. I will support you. I will welcome you. My community is your community. You are my sister, my brother. I’ve got your back.

You are just like me and I will always see you.

From,
An Active-Duty Spouse

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7 thoughts on “Dear National Guard and Reserve Spouse”

  1. I read this once to myself and teared up, and then a second time out loud to my husband and had to stop and compose myself a couple of times. Nobody has ever said this to me before… that they recognize how hard it is to go through a deployment without being surrounded by a community of other people doing the same thing, or even just people who understand what it means. I just think of how utterly alone I felt when my husband was deployed. I hope the writer knows how much this means to us NG spouses. Thank you Megan Williams.

  2. Wow wonderful article. Having been a National Guard Family for over 25 years it was right on the mark! So truly thankful for my wonderful friends and family that get it and have stood by us a we have seen 3 deployments with one being father and son.

  3. We just switched from years of being an active duty family to a national guard family and I’ve had the hardest time adjusting. No one in this town understands our lifestyle like those in all our previous military towns. This post was such an encouragment to me.

  4. Such powerful and amazing words. Thank you for writing them and understanding the plight of the NG spouse. We may not have to deal with PCSs and base housing but we miss our soldiers just as much. Sometimes being part of a civilian community is great and other times it creates this huge divide between you and the rest of the world. Most of the time I feel so very alone even though I am surrounded by friends and family. It’s nice to know I am not.

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