The Helplessness of a Military Spouse.

First of all – Thank You for all the nice/supportive/AWESOME comments after my last post. I’ve been brainstorming about HOW to visually portray my idea of lupus – and even though it was a bit scary putting myself out there, highlighting something that I’m pretty sensitive about – I felt extremely encouraged by the support I received. Thank you all – I was extremely touched.

In other news…

We are on pins and needles in our household. Literally. The Yankee is being considered for a Forward Air Controller (FAC) Tour as an Individual Augment (IA) to a ground unit based in 29 Palms. I’m not really sure of the schematics of something like this… who is chosen for something like this, the why’s, the how’s, the ‘are you fucking kidding me dude?’… but bottom line, he’s one of the few being considered.

Among other things, this means he would be stationed to 2-9-er Palms as a geographical bachelor, while I remain (home) in San Diego. We are already preparing for his fourth deployment – be it with his current squadron OR as a FAC. But, if he’s chosen for the FAC Tour, he would move away for five months before deploying, deploy overseas for 7 months, and only then – return to his current squadron in San Diego.

Lovely, right?

On the one hand, from a career perspective, this is NOT what he wants to do – and given his two deployments on the ground to both Iraq and Afghanistan as a ground guy – this would not be ideal for him. His current Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), is as a pilot. He wants and needs flight time and qualifications, if he is to be competitive with his peers. Granted, there is no “right way” for one’s military career progression, and N. has clearly not gone a “standard route”. Changing the MOS four year’s into one’s tenure, is challenging at best – an uphill battle at worst.

They are not making it easy for him. And that’s really sad – because as tough as his tenure has been thus far, why make things more difficult? I don’t understand… I’ve always believed that one should do the right thing for the right reason…. because why wouldn’t we try to help people, if we can? Alas, I suppose I’m naive, silly me – and I guess I don’t understand how things really work.

From a family perspective, this would be awful. 29 Palms is close enough to where we – as a family – could potentially relocate. And I know that some families would absolutely be able to make that change, especially for an IA billet. However – THIS is the part where my health (yet again) kicks me in my respective rear. My primary care manager, and seven specialists (rheumatologist, vascular surgeon 1 & 2, dermatologist 1 & 2, orthopedic surgeon (thank you arthritis. I am looking forward to more surgery), OBGYN) are ALL located within 25 miles of where we live. And I’m not even mentioning my new Hematologist. Combine all of these folks with 1-3X weekly blood drawings and the seriousness of my lupus – and it’s quite the combination.

I spent a long time in the hospital last year, and have already made several ER visits this year. This is serious – this is MY reality.

The continuity of care is crucial to my ability to stay as healthy as possible – let’s face it…. 2-9-er Palms, a mini desert town built around a sprawling Marine Base, probably doesn’t have the health services I need. I doubt that – had I had my Pulmonary Embolism there last year – I would have survived. There is no way I could relocate with the Yank. My health just wouldn’t allow it – and that makes both of us fearful and sad.

Let’s face it: military life is NOT easy. I just don’t understand the why’s of something like this. Why N.? Why now…? I see SO MANY other people at his squadron that would be a good fit…. pilots who haven’t served in a ground capacity yet, guys who recently checked in from other units, people who want to go, – but for some reason or another, aren’t being considered. It’s tough as a spouse… I see all this, yet I am helpless.

I think about everything our squadron went through last year – the Afghanistan deployment, loss of life, major upheavals and changes – and as tough as that Shit was, there is no other unit that I (as a spouse) would rather be with. I know, that my friends from last year’s deployment, and the guys that N deployed with – we have a unique bond, cemented through life, love, and loss. Those friends who went through that time last year, I can look at them and know, without a doubt, they understand ME. We understand each other. It would make me sad to leave the sanctity of that support system. I look at that group, and am reassured that, as tough as life gets – I can fight through and survive.

There has been such a push to make military life more “family friendly”. But I see things like this happening – and it makes me question all of that. At the end of the day, the Marine Corps WILL get their Person, regardless of family, career progression, personal desires or XYZ. It’s tough to not be bitter, angry, and upset. After all, “Unit, Corps, God, Country” as the saying goes.

They conveniently left out Family.

At the end of the day, I just wish that Those in command, making this decision, would have a better understanding of his situation. Or perhaps, compassion.

Granted – I’m looking at this as N’s wife, and my view point is undoubtedly clouded. Maybe he’s a “fill-in-the-blank-with-your-choice-word” – and the squadron wants to get rid of him…. I highly doubt this – but you never know. I’m not in the military – therefore I don’t get to make decisions like this. I see what’s happening, though (and will ultimately live with The Command’s decision) – I am absolutely helpless. There is NOTHING I can do – no amount of begging, pleading, a willingness to donate a House Monster or two in his behalf – that can convince those charged with making this choice, to not pick my husband. It’s sad – because if it’s not my Yank, it will be anther one…and one of my friends and their Marine will be affected.

And therein lies the plight of military spouses throughout the world. At the end of the day, we have no control – whatsoever. But our lives are absolutely affected by what happens to our Marines, Soldiers, and Sailors. We stand by their side, roll up our sleeves, and support the best we can. We are issued a tan military ID card, willingly help and/or volunteer our time for our spouses unit, bid farewell to best friends over and over again, move across country (or world, in my sister-in-law’s case) on a moment’s notice, keep the home fires burning when they are away, spend endless nights in an over-sized and empty bed -alone with our nightmares, deal with constant worry and fear for their safety when they are serving in a war zone and flying at home, sacrifice our careers and lives for them – and so much more. And we do these this willingly – because we love our spouse, our best friend.

And if I had to do it over again, 10+ years ago, I would still have sat down next to that crew-cut guy in Soviet History. Absolutely – without a doubt.

As a result of this impending decision – it’s easy to say that we’re both living with a lot of stress. I’ve never seen N this upset – and it’s hard to watch. He’s lost his appetite and sleeping is difficult at best, impossible at worst. I also worry – because I love him. Let’s just say that sleep – for both of us – is hard to come by. I’m hoping a final decision is made by Monday or Tuesday. The not knowing part – waiting in limbo to figure out HOW your life will be affected by something completely out of your control – is cruel. I also don’t know how much longer my body can go without a major flare-up – the lack of sleep and stress is NOT good for me, and I can tell that I’m on the edge because of how my skin is reacting.

This has been one Major beacon of light, throughout this process. The Yank’s immediate boss has been incredible – extremely supportive. N is touched – and I’ll forever be grateful. If there’s anyone who does understand the importance of family within the realm of military service, it’s this guy. I will always consider him and his wife friends. I only wish the Command would take his recommendations into consideration, as he works with N on a daily basis, understands the situation, and values N’s experience and leadership as a Marine.

And that – my friends – is the latest and greatest. We are just waiting… My goals today include 1) swim 2) violin practice and 3) Real Housewives of OC marathon tv viewing. I will be grateful for the ability to zone out, if only for one hour. The Yank is flight planning and gone all day – dinner together would be SUPER.

There you have it… the grim realities of military life. Yes, there are absolutely WONDERFUL moments, great friends, and I certainly look at life with a different perspective because of what my husband does – but some pretty tough moments as well. This is one of them. So now we just wait. And worry. And maybe pray.


4 thoughts on “The Helplessness of a Military Spouse.

  1. *sigh* Oh, Marit, this is so so hard for you guys. I will keep my fingers crossed that the unit makes the right decision by you guys. Keep me posted–Skype soon?

    I LOVED your post with the pictures of your pretty pink cheeks and nose! Like my freckles, they are what make us special and unique.

  2. Oh Marit. You know that I get all this. ALL this. I just really really hope that he doesn’t get this job.
    Over the years both Shaun and I have experienced first hand what the military life is like. It’s interesting because there are many things in the military that do not make sense to me. There are things they could do to make our lives easier at no cost to them, but oh no…. That is not how it works. We must catch up soon. Skype?

    Lots of love and huggs coming your way.

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