Sunday, October 29, 2006

Tell Him the Truth!

We got a call from the flight facility that one of our soldiers needed to be picked up. Long story short, he wasn’t one of ours but we got him anyway so he wouldn’t get stuck at the terminal all night. During the course of the ride to his unit, it all came spilling out. It seems this soldier just returned from emergency leave in the states. That usually means the worst of news for the soldier about someone in his family. His father passed away while he was enroute to Iraq. Not ten minutes in Kuwait, he was told and then returned to the states to help his mother make all the arrangements. At this point, I purposely took the long way around to the destination.

Not that it’s bad enough to see a young soldier going through this, but then he let me know the worst part. He told me that he had to have his emergency leave extended because of the divorce. I asked what happened, out of concern and to let him keep venting. His wife of three years had decided she “had enough” of him being deployed and gone so long and she had started seeing another guy about a year into their marriage and wanted to be with that guy. She just didn’t know the proper time to “break it to him gently”. Now I know that I’m only getting one side of the story but, I’ve seen this story over and over again throughout the course of my career, and I’ve gone through it myself.

People, if you’re not going to honor your promises, don’t make them. If you’re looking for “the right time” keep in mind that you’re decision is affecting more than just YOU! Don’t wait until your soldier (or yours formally) gets home for his father’s funeral to tell him that you want to break it off or get a divorce. If you can’t face him, at least tell him the truth while he is surrounded by friends that will be there to pick him up and keep him going. He deserves some bit of honesty out of you. I can still lead a soldier through tough times in his life and through the tour if he at least knows what his home life is like back in the states; whether it’s with you or not.

I was engaged to someone when I was younger and due to the number of deployments, she decided that this was not the lifestyle she could take. During the first Gulf War, the first chance I got to call home was three months into the campaign. She told me that she wanted to call the whole thing off and that she had met someone else. I told her I was sorry she felt that way and I wished her the best of luck. I meant it too. The good thing I had going for me was that my buddies were there to keep me going and our task force chaplain was there to help in any way possible. Things happen and people grow and they change, it’s called “life”. I drove on and went on with my life. It hurt, but I went on anyway.

Point is, at least I knew what was going on back home and what to expect. If you’re having problems with your boyfriend, fiancé, or husband, get counseling, try to work things out or just be honest with him. If he can’t count on you, at least he can count on his buddies to be there through the rest of the journey.

I spent almost 90 minutes driving around to let this soldier get all of this out of his system. The ride normally takes about 20 minutes. When we got to his unit, his buddies were there waiting for him (at 3AM). They knew the whole story because one of his friends from home e-mailed the unit in advance to let them know what he was going through. It didn’t matter the hour, the rain, or the problem, what mattered to them, is that their friend was in pain and they were going to be there for him.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey soldier...your comments really touched me...keep up the good work...Carol

10:51 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I saw this happen with the friend of a friend; his wife of 14 years and at least 4 deployments decided she had enough 2 months before he came home. At the time, all I could think was what a cruel, heartless b**tch she was to do that while he was deployed.

Then after my husband had been deployed about four months, I understood. It hurts so much to miss them, to worry, to be apart. So if I was feeling weak enough, I could logically understand her actions.

But I still think she's a heartless b**tch.

Spouses at home, if you're in this situation, I agree - talk to somebody, get counseling.

3:35 PM  

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