Guest Post By: Laura Feeney
It all happened really suddenly. Life as I knew it and life as I thought it would be no longer existed.
I married into military life in August of 2005. Almost 11 years later, I am no longer a military spouse, but I am not leaving empty handed. I learned some amazing lessons, met the most compassionate people and watched in awe how these women did life and did it well.
A decade after saying ‘I do,’ I heard the words that were the most gut wrenching, scariest words of my life: ‘I am leaving you, I don’t love you anymore.’ He may as well have punched me in the gut. I was stunned. I didn’t see that coming.
THE NEW CHAPTER BECAME OUR FINAL CHAPTER
My ex-husband and I had the perfect life, or so I thought. Just a year earlier, he had retired from the Marine Corps. I was relieved. No more time apart, no more moves. We were about to start a new chapter of our lives. We were going through the normal motions of married life – we bought our dream home and recently returned from a family beach vacation where we bought a time share. Life felt good … until he blindsided me.
Once I picked myself up and tried to figure out what went wrong, I turned to my friends – a few trusted friends that had been there my entire life, friends from college, friends from work. They were easy to talk to, to tell. Then came the hard part. Opening up to my friends, who I lived this military spouse life with, scared me. I was worried about what they would think. I was worried what they would say. But one after the other, they had my back. They picked me up when I needed it. My tribe was there for me in full force. My squad showed up out of nowhere, be it across the state, the country or oceans apart, they showed up. My ride or die girls, the ones who knew my deepest secrets and fears, showed up. Those that I had a falling out with, once they found out, not one bit of judgement, not one bit of told you so, they showed up.
WHEN A NIGHTMARE BECOMES A JOURNEY
What did them showing up do? It did everything. It made this nightmare turn into more of a journey about me. They reminded me who I was, what I was and who I needed to be strong for. They told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. They called me out when I needed it, calmed me down when I losing it, and they showed up day in and day out for as long as I needed.
They reminded me of who I was – a military spouse. My identity and friendships didn’t dissolve with my marriage. He may have left, but he did not get to take who I had become. I am proud, strong, and independent. This obstacle was just another bump in the road. They reminded me I was capable to do this. I had done it alone for a long time, although married and alone. I could do this single and alone. I would do this single and alone. Because although I wasn’t married anymore, I was never and would never be alone with that tribe by my side.
I can say that this entire process, though not something I had planned or wanted to go through has made me a much stronger person than I ever thought I could be. I would not have been able to do any of this without my people, my fellow military spouses that showed up. If I asked for it, if I didn’t ask for it, someone was always there with the right words, joke, song or picture. The advice was invaluable, the love was unconditional, and the strength they gave me is something that I can’t put into words. I am forever grateful for those women, those military spouses that showed up.
About the Author:
Laura Feeney is an elementary school teacher co-parenting three children of her own. In her spare time she likes to drink craft beer, meet prince charmings, and dance in the rain.