Few Americans have missed the news from the Middle East in recent weeks.
It’s difficult to scroll through social media without seeing calls for war, specific response, restraint.
But in the military community, it isn’t the politics that matter as much as what will happen with our service member spouses.
As we watch the news, our stomachs drop through the floor.
Our chests tighten to the point we can only inhale shallow breaths.
Our hands shake a little.
Our hearts beat a tiny bit faster.
Images of yellow ribbons, hugs and kisses goodbye, waving flags, overstuffed olive drab bags littering the entrance to our home, and uniforms in a combination of browns and greens packed tightly run through our minds.
It’s hard to stop that flow through the channels of our brain, the rolling images of what we’ve done before.
It’s what we know after almost 20 years of deployment rotations, where many of us have faced two or three or four or more.
This is when military life feels scary.
While some civilian and government leadership counterparts may talk about troops on the ground any time there’s potential conflict, we are the ones that understand these aren’t nameless, faceless individuals.
We know it consists of loved ones: fathers, mothers, husbands and wives, children both serving and waiting on the homefront.
We know the pain of their absence, the worry that will never leave our hearts or minds, until they come home and we learn that they truly are OK.
What do we do during this time?
How do we cope with this huge unknown, this fear of what will come, our bodies’ physical responses we simply can’t halt?
This is when we keep on going. This is when we turn to our community, the one that always shows up in one way or another.
This was displayed recently in a group conversation with AWN bloggers. Justine checked on us all, asking how we were holding up. Many in our group are not currently affected by deployment, but some are, and those who are, feel the fear deeply.
We’ve been through this before, but still, nothing really prepares us for it. Not the time spent apart, not the time spent overseas, not the numerous warnings.
Because it never gets easier.
Many of us have seen the cost.
But we’re doing what we always do: marching on.
We’re prepping our heart. We’re planning dozens of ways to prepare our families, our children, if need be. We’re tamping down the fear as much as possible. We’re assisting friends who sent their service members over on short notice, who might have been recently put on notice. We’re at the ready to start the care packages, to cheer up our friends and neighbors.
Know that if you are affected, we, your milspouse community, see you.
And as AWN Owner and Commander Sharita Knobloch shared recently on our Facebook page, AWN is here for you—not just now, but always. Not just with content, but with connection. Not just with resources, but with responses. Not just with engagement, but with empowerment. Regardless of your political affiliation, location, branch of service, race, demographics, beliefs, or background.
If at any time you find yourself struggling, you find yourself with endless questions, you have things to say but don’t know who will listen, send us an email at email@example.com, send us a private message via Facebook, or post on our wall.
We are here for you, not just when military life feels scary, but always.