Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Love Letter Campaign: The Key to my Heart



My dearest Kevin,

Life without you just doesn’t make sense.

Years ago when we met and first fell in love, I never once imagined myself as being married to someone in the military. A few years and two children later, I stood at the recruiting station and watched you board the bus that led you to MEPS… This is when everything that I knew so well became a distant memory to me. From that point on, we became a military family and started a life full of new adventures, experiences, hard and emotional times, happy times, and some incredibly trying times. Before now, I never would have thought two people, a marriage, and family could endure all that we have and now look back on it all loving each other more today than ever before.

Over eight years ago I kissed you for the last time as a civilian family and we began on this amazing, yet trying journey as an Army family. We survived two deployments, combat injuries, marital struggles, children and all that children bring, living in different places over the world, my serious health issues, my close calls with almost losing my life, family issues, and so much more. We started off naïve to the life the army entails and immature to life in general. Yet, today we stand her stronger than we have ever been even with our health battles and what deployments have put you through and left in our house.

Times have been tough and have left each of us wanting to run in the opposite direction, yet our hearts have always led us back to one another.  In less than two weeks you will no longer be active duty and I find myself full of mixed emotions on this. You will be retired from the army…medically. You fought and tried your best to remain active duty and stay with your guys, but if was a battle that could not be won due to your injuries. At times I have watched and listened as you have let these injuries briefly define you as a person. You, my love, are not defined by the severity of your PTSD or TBI, you are not defined by your terrible spinal injuries or the way your body has changed. Instead, you should look at yourself and define yourself as the man you are today. The man that each and every one of us are not only blessed to have in our lives, but immensely lucky to know.

You have often stated things that have made me cringe and want to shake you into reality, such as asking what kind of man could you possibly be when you can no longer provide as a man should. You are more of a man than the majority of men could ever be. Yes, war did change you physically, mentally, and emotionally, but to live what you have lived through is the most selfless act there is. You have put your life on the line so many times in order to keep not only me and our children safe, but thousands of others safe as well. People like you are the reason that others continue to live their lives as they do and never have to live through what we have lived through. To do all that you have done, defines a not only a man, but a hero. You are not only a hero in my eyes, but you are also a hero in the eyes of our children.

We may battle the war on a daily basis from here on out and you may have bad days that leave you with terrible thoughts, but you will never have a day without me by your side. Without you, there is no me. There are more days that not, which I live for the glimpses of the old you that may sneak through the cracks, but those moments make all the bad ones worth living.  The old you may never appear as it once was, but I am okay with that because I still have you by my side and our children still have their dad. Life may get hard and I fully expect things to get more intense before the sun really shines through, but regardless of this, I will hold your hand as we overcome all the tough times that may lie ahead.

Just as you never left my side when I almost lost my fight last year or the few times before, I will never leave your side. I may want to run away on your bad days, but in all reality, there is nowhere else I would rather be. We have survived three very high risk pregnancies and have been able to love three amazing kids. We have overcome the odds and pulled together when most would fall apart. We have fought like hell and fallen in love all over again when everyone else said we never would. After all that we have endured, I have no doubt that these hard times will be a vivid memory one of these days. No matter how long it takes for that day to come…or if the day ends up never coming… I will always be here to help guide you through this thing called life.

I love you more than any amount of words can express and would be lost without you by my side. I have learned to love and trust because of you, when I never thought I could or would. You truly hold the key to my heart.

Thank you for being you and for never giving up.

I love you and always will…
“100 years”, sweetheart

All my love, always,
Brittney

Look at Us... Vince Gill
"Look at us, After all these years together
Look at us, After all that we've been through
Look at us, Still leaning on each other

In a hundred years from now, I know without a doubt
They'll all look back and wonder how, We made it all work out

Chances are, We'll go down in history
When they want to see, How true love should be
They'll just look at us"




This blog post is part of The Love Letter Campaign... a project started by FamilyOfaVet.com to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they've faced together, and why their love endures). It's not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It's about telling the "rest" of our stories... stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat. To share your love letter or find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.familyofavet.com/love_letters.html.

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