The Fight of My Life

By: Chaunte McClure

Double dates are always fun even though we don’t often take the time to pair up for a few hours of camaraderie with other couples. Last weekend we changed that.

We went to see “American Sniper” with another military couple. I admit, I had not seen the movie trailer but based on the title, I figured our husbands would enjoy it.

It’s a movie about a celebrated American sniper who decided to become a Navy SEAL after 9/11. He meets and marries Taya, and shortly after he is deployed to Iraq for his first US Veteranstour of duty. That tour was followed by another. Then another. And another. His experiences drove him further and further away from his wife and children.

I suddenly had painful reminders of what life was like as a military wife. I remembered what it was like when it seemed the War on Terror returned home with my husband, when I became the target. I successfully gained control of my thoughts so that I wouldn’t dwell on what life was like during that time. However, I naturally wondered what was going through the mind of the war vet next to me. I kept asking questions during the movie, wanting to know if some of the scenes were really like they were depicted in the movie. I finally got a “Baby, you’ve gotta be quiet.” Okay, this is a movie theatre. (I think I was also trying to distract his thoughts, although he seemed to be concentrating on the big screen.)

Pre-deployment I daydreamed about what it could be like to get that dreadful knock on the door and I prayed, God, please don’t let that happen to me. I think I was too naive to pray about our reunion; it just seemed like it would be a honeymoon.

After my husband’s return from his first deployment, family and friends always asked how he was doing, but I don’t recall anyone ever asking how I was doing. Not that they weren’t concerned, but I think they were oblivious to the impact deployment and separation has on military spouses.

I held things down well while he was away. However, post-deployment, my superwoman cape was wrapped around my neck, choking the life out of me. I was in for the fight of my life to keep my sanity and my marriage. I won! All thanks to God.

I could relate to Taya and so can thousands of other military spouses across this country. Don’t forget about your friends who have worn the fatigues, but remember the other heroes, the women (and men) who wore the S on their chest and fought the battle of surviving the deployment cycle. The battle is not over for many families because in one way or another, war will affect them for the rest of their lives. Be a good Samaritan, show compassion, and reach out to at least one family.

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