Life on the Other Side of Military Service
Two years ago I got sick, we all know the story as I’ve told it ad nauseum by now. It was challenging not just for me, but for my husband as well. No one was willing to help us at all. My family told us to look for more local people because they didn’t want to make the hour drive to see me or help us. Our local friends stopped returning our calls. We were lost, scared, and very, very alone.
Then, one day, randomly and seemingly without reason, my husband came home from drill and announced he had checked out of the Marine Corps. There was no discussion. He was serving on non-ob time (meaning he was no longer contractually obligated to continue to serve). He had dropped to his inactive reserve time.
The plan, of course, was that he would go back in a few months when i was walking and able to care for the dogs on my own. But the doctor’s promise that I’d be walking by summer turned into walking by next year and driving by January turned into maybe next year as well.
Slowly, going completely unnoticed, those few months of IR time turned into a year and a half. And now, with all the time passed, suddenly, I realized that we are not a Marine Corps family anoymore.
Am I still a military spouse?
I have written a number of times about the fear I have of who we would be on the other side of nearly 14 years of military service and almost a decade together. I have never been a military spouse in a time of peace and he has never served during peace. And now, we skipped that step. We skipped the transition to peace time that would help us understand life without the military at all.
We skipped that step and one day I looked at my life and realized that neither of us know what to do. He is unsure about returning to the Coprs after all this time, but the collective we has never known life without the military in the middle. Without long distances and weeks and months apart. Without his passion for his service.
I don’t know if I really count as a military spouse anymore. I no longer feel apart of the blogging niche, nor do I really feel the title is mine to claim now that the foundation of our life together is no longer war and service.
And while I have never allowed my entire identity to be about being a military spouse, I am finding the hole it has left is startlingly big.
So who am I now?
Not really a military spouse, a slacker as a professional blogger, spoonie, disabled, overweight, snotty, bratty… The descriptive words can rattle on without end, but which one is me?
We have finally reached the other side, like we knew we would one day. But the journey was accidental and without preparation. And now that we are on the otherside, we don’t know what to do.
Who are we in this life on the other side of service?