casualties of war

Subject: casualties of war
From: A veterans wife
Date: 23 Oct 2017

Dear husband,
I never took the oath. I didn't have my branch pinned to my uniform. I never put on combat boots or trained with a gun. All I did was fall in love. I loved you my soldier for your gentleness. You are a quiet leader. Your fellow soldiers respect you and I respected you too. You were a good listener. You carried a sense of pride in your work and were good at it. You always pushed yourself to be better. You were my best friend and lover. You gave me everything you could to make me happy. There was something I wanted most from you but just couldn't have. That was your time. The army had you go from here to there, this duty and that duty, this exercise and that training. 2 weeks here, 1 month there. But I was willing to wait for you. I gave up on my own education and career to have your babies and make your home. It was lonely raising a baby without you. But I was still in love. We prepped and planned for a 15 month deployment. And the day finally came, a bit unexpectedly too. We spent the last two days together frantically packing up the apartment instead of getting to love each other and bonding. When you kissed me goodbye, there were no tears. Everything was happening so fast and I wanted to be strong for you. I wanted you to know I could do it. I could be a strong army wife, use to doing things independently. I never shared how hard it was when half my heart was in Iraq. You never shared what was really happening over there. All I knew was you were safe. I didn't know the world around you was changing you so much. The world without you changed me too. I was a 23 year old "single" mom, missing my husband and hoping he was ok. I moved back to home base a whole month early just in case you came home a bit before scheduled. I desperately hoped you would but you were the first to leave and the last to come home. Integrating was difficult. You had a 1000 mile stare. You no longer listened. You were jumpy. You shared stories but were quick to be frustrated when I didn't understand. You decided to end your time actively serving and took a civilian job. You had always planned to be a lifer in the army. You wanted to be a badass green beret. But after a long and violent deployment, you didn't want to go back anytime too soon. So we got out and it was time to adjust to civilian life. I got sick....really sick. Crohn's took over. You became worried, anxious, controlling, bitter, angry, and critical. I was dying because the medications were failing so what did you do? You went to a reservist exercise out at fort huachuca and you got drunk at a bar, met the wife of a deployed soldier and you let her take you home with her. You slept with her. You felt bad but you hid what you did. You took whatever you had been exposed to back to your sick wife and never mentioned it. Your anger and anxiety grew. Your discontinment with life grew. You were unhappy and unfulfilled. You turned to alcohol and porn to give you an escape. You actively pursued a high and escape every chance you could. You took up hobbies that you did obsessively and ignored your family. You traveled for work and you continued to travel as a reservist. You kept looking for things here and there to fulfill you all the while blaming your wife for all your unhappiness. You looked for exciting opportunities to take short deployments or go to special training courses that could give you a quick fix or a high but the highs were too short lived. You decided that a particular CA school would be just the thing to give you a fix so you went. You learned moral ambiguity, to justify any means, and that integrity is for weak people. You came home to your wife and new baby and young daughter more confused than when you left. Then there came an opportunity for something exciting. Cristin from work was unhappy in her life and wanted you as her fix. So you took her. For an entire year you spiraled out of control I. An affair, still angry as ever, yelling at your wife, blaming her for why you needed the affair, drinking and drinking, and porn porn porn. You wanted the porn you had imagined to be true so Cristin was your ticket to erotic town. Maybe she would do all the things in the porns you watched. But she wasnt. She was just a normal woman, unhappy with her own husband and wanting love....not erotic porn type sex so that fizzled and you continued to see the world in gray. You continued to justify anything and everything you wanted to do. All the while your wife and kids are unsuspecting of you affairs, addictions, and perpetual stress, anxiety, resentments, and unhappiness. You continue to flirt with women at bars looking for opportunities for a high. You take a new job but you aren't thankful to have it. It's just a job. You meet Michele and she is a willing participant for another affair. You sleep together and there's your fix but she's more open than the last affair partner, maybe she'll play out your fantasies. You need your fantasies like you need water in the desert. With every affair you become more sick, more confused, more angry, lashing out at your wife more often. You tell yourself all sorts of lies to justify your behavior. You tell yourself that your wife has just as many affairs as you do. She becomes pregnant and you tell yourself it isn't yours but you keep your lips sealed for fear of your own affairs being found out. The alcohol abuse continues, the flirtatious behaviors and affair with Michele continues. Then you slowly start to see things a bit differently. You saw me as the enemy, ready to strike and kill you at any time. I was never going to harm you. Something changed and you were starting to see me to be loving towards you. You had seen your job as senseless and unrewarding. You earned a promotion and a chance at leadership and suddenly your job became more fulfilling. You started to notice the alcohol use was out of control. You started to ask me for help in making changes to your life and I was kind and supportive. All of the bad behaviors before were like burying IEDs in your life. With every affair you planted an IED right under me. Your anger, anxiety, and alcoholism was like planting IEDS under the feet of you friends, children, and family. Your confusion spun you out of control. Porn had made you see sex as novelty to be shared and explored as you saw fit. It changed you. It all changed you. Then one day you detonated. All the IEDs went off all around us. There was nowhere to run for cover. And just like that, one day we all became casualties of war.

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