Seven years ago you came into Hooters wearing that Air Force flight suit. I wasn’t impressed. You took me at the surface of being a stuck up snob. I took you to be a dumb country boy. You found out my roots and then your opinion changed. You came in everyday and tried to charm me. It took a while but it finally worked. It was my 23rd birthday the night I finally agreed to hang out with you. You took me out in that shiny, black Chevy purchased with combat pay. We went to your stomping grounds and got stuck in the mud. It was a cool fall night and we laughed and talked and got muddy. I had the most fun I had had in a very long time. I think it was the most you had had as well. You were still very tan from that desert sun and your blue eyes twinkled when you smiled. I was busy with school and work and wasn’t looking for a relationship, but ready for some fun.
Six months later we were Mr. and Mrs.
We have weathered illness and injury, hospital stays and worse. It has not always been rosy or easy or even happy, but we never gave up; we never threw in that towel even when we tried. Our marriage has not been typical, not a marriage that resembles most, but it’s our marriage and we treasure it. We treasure it more than anything else in our lives. At this point, the roughest in the storm of life, we have each other and not much else.
We are stronger today, than we were 9 April 2005. I am so grateful for every kiss, hug, tear, and fight we have shared. From you I have gained a kind of strength I would have never known if that redneck in the flight suit had never entered my life. For some reason the universe has thrown challenges our way, more than most, but we have come out stronger as a married couple. Our love has strengthened to one most will never be lucky enough to know.
I used to think that the world brought us together from some unknown reason, the whole “opposites attract” thing. Now I know why we were brought together: we each give the other purpose. You need me to ground you and guide with logic and I need you to add levity to my otherwise tight and rigid ass. You make me laugh and I make you dinner. You make me feel important and I make you fix the toilet.
Humor aside, words will never be adequate to express our love and our connection to the rest of the world, and that’s okay. The world doesn’t matter. There is something completely intrinsic about our feeling for each other; it is imbedded in our DNA it seems, we don’t have to think about it, it’s just there.
We matter to each other, through sickness and health, in good times and in bad, for richer or for poorer, until the end. Thankfully, we know that we will forever be together, even in spirit.
Forever and always,
Liz, Strengthened by my Staff Sargent
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.co