Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ebb and Flow

Post BCT my and FM’s relationship has been, for the most part, a steady flowing river, making gentle turns downstream and skimming right over the rough rocks as though they were never there.  AIT has been a fantastic reminder of our easygoing flow as a couple pre-basic training, and I am eternally thankful for the now increased information current.

FM and I have always had an open relationship policy, and before you get all excited and start wondering how we could function fluidly with multiple crew members in the wheelhouse, I mean it in the sense that we try to be as straightforward and honest with each other as we possibly can, creating our own system of canal locks.  This is why when FM finally found out where his first duty station would be he did not hesitate to tell me the very same night.

On any other day on the water, this would have been a simple ship to set sailing.  However, my branch of the river rarely runs so steadily smooth, and often
creates distracting detours to avert my attention in multiple directions.  This day way no different.  Just twelve hours before FM learned where he would be spending the next portion of his 27th year, my grandmother, my sole surviving grandmother, was rushed to the hospital steadily submerged in severe renal failure, sending my family scrambling for details and fearing the inevitable.

Upon FM’s routine phone call that evening I finally felt like I had a chance to vent after a tiresome day of talking to relatives and worrying, thoroughly exhaling for the first time since breakfast.  He listened ever so patiently as I continued to build up the dam that was holding the impending mental overflows at bay.  He had big news too.  He was going overseas.  He was going to overseas right after AIT.  He was going overseas and possibly not coming back home first. He was going overseas, probably for a year. He was going overseas.  

I found it difficult to even breathe as the cracking dam developed a slow leak  in the wall and began to drown me.  I could barely keep my thoughts together no less consider how our lives would soon be radically changing even further than it had in the past year.  I spent the next 20 minutes weeping, creating a tributary of tears running down my new throw pillow, poignantly adding salty water to the seaside themed stitching.  FM waded woefully on the end of the line, trying his best to soothe my sobs.

After the initial blow ripped through my mind’s hull like a cannonball, I started to make repairs the only way I knew how; I got online and started researching everything there was to be researched about FM’s new duty station, the surrounding area, if I could join him, typical tour lengths. If you could think of a question or query, I looked for it.  At 2AM, four hours later, I finally emerged from the choppy waves of the internet, only to learn that my first concern, my grandmother’s precarious health, was not only declining, but sinking fast.  This day’s journey seemed ill-fated from the start, a red sky in morning sailor’s warning.
A mere twenty-four hours after she had been admitted to the hospital, she was gone.

In one day’s time I had lost my grandmother, been reduced to one surviving and heartbroken grandparent, and learned that my significant other was being sent overseas for likely a year, that I probably would not get to see him before he left, that any of our plans to start exploring and conquering this Army life together would be put below decks indefinitely, and that I would have to keep this all bottled up for the next week while my family grieved and I attended funeral services.

While this day will not soon be forgotten by any involved party, it is a reminder of the strength and fortitude it requires to navigate these choppy and heaving military waters.  While I know that it pained FM to blow the dam wide open and deliver the unpleasant news, I appreciate knowing that we are secure in being on this raging river together, and know that we can handle any buoy, boat, barge, or barricade in our way.  It is an endurance we did not know we had until we put to the Army Sea, but one that I would not trade for anything.  

My greatest advice to any new military girlfriends/boyfriends/fiancés/spouses is to make sure you are very certain of the waters you will be sailing on with your soldier as the ebb and flow are great, the tides and currents are forceful, and you must keep steady lest you run aground, or worse, capsize.
Best of luck always on your military voyages!

Feel free to leave comments/start a conversation about occasions when you may have put up a flare or sent out an S.O.S. as the waves started getting larger, and how the distress made your military relationship stronger.

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