Sunday, August 10, 2008

My Saddest and Most Significant Moments as a Military Spouse

The “Tell-Your-Own-Story” military spouse contest sponsored by in connection with Lifetime TV’s Season 2 of ARMY WIVES has announced the contest winners. Their names and the winning essays can be read at

Here’s a winning essay by Kathleen P., one of five grand prize winners, followed by a second essay she wrote. Both essays are reprinted with permission from

My Saddest Moment as a Military Spouse

I was sad the day my husband Will left for Iraq. But my saddest day came days later when it finally sunk in that he was in the sand and I was here stateside. I was alone with our four children to raise.

Four tiny lives depended on me to be Mommy and Daddy, and I was crying uncontrollably in the cookie section of the grocery store because out of force of habit I was picking up his cookies and there would be nobody at home to eat them. In that moment I felt the most alone I have ever felt. No hearing his voice on the phone because they had to travel in country to their destination.

I came home to my 18-month-old demanding his DaDa.

That night after everyone was tucked in bed I began to be overcome once again by emotion. Then a tiny figure stood by my bedside offering his teddy. Inside the tiny stuffed creature is a recording my husband made for my son.

Michael pushed his paw and there was my husband’s deep manly voice. I decided then and there I had to get it together and keep it together for the sake of my children. I had to be strong for them. I had to find it deep within myself.

My Most Significant Moment as a Military Spouse

Before I met my husband I worked for the Castle Point VA hospital in New York. I saw the aftermath of war on men. I saw what it did to their bodies and to their minds. I had daily contact with these brave souls and they touch my life in ways they will never be aware.

Time marched on. I met and married a soldier, and we were blessed with four children. Veterans Day 2007 came; my husband was deployed. I packed up the toddler and the three girls into the car and drove off to the ceremony.

During the speeches I got lost in thoughts thinking of my husband who was somewhere in Iraq. I started looking around at the faces of these veterans wondering about all they had seen, places they had been.

My eyes then fell on those ladies seated beside those veterans. Those brave ladies who still supported their husbands. These wives were the generations that had gone before me. I couldn't help but wonder about the lives they led.

These were the military spouse that set the standard and broke the ground for the military spouses of today. These ladies inspire me. They convinced me that all those studies that you hear about the divorce rate in the military is on the rise can be overcome.

I often think back to Veterans Day and those specials ladies seated beside their husbands. I want to be one of those ladies who grow old alongside her husband. I want to inspire the next generation of military spouses or at least touch their lives in some way.

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