The Boy and I were cleaning today and in order to get keep focused, we like to put the music station on TV. Except, then this song came on:
I hate this song. And love this song.
In order for that to make a little more sense, I am going to have to give you a bit of a personal history lesson.
I met The Boy in 2006 while still in college. Truthfully, I didn’t expect the relationship to go that far, but because I wasn’t really looking for anything particular, I wasn’t worried one way or the other about the relationship. Then, I fell in love with him.
I was never a girl to be interested in marriage. As a matter of fact, I was against marriage on principle. I didn’t think there was a need for it. And the basis of my reasoning then has been proven in my feelings now. I am as committed to and in love with The Boy now as I was when we were dating. The rings and bit of paper haven’t changed the core of my relationship.
Granted, I was also wrong, marriage to The Boy has been the best thing I’ve ever done. I can’t even explain the changes, but I think there is a solidity that no amount of commitment or love can capture. Overall, nothing has changed, but things have been made better. This is my most recent reason to support marriage equality. I have always believed it’s dumb of us to tell people who they can marry, especially since I never wanted to be married. I don’t even get why this is a debate. But. this is not a post about marriage equality. Mostly because there shouldn’t be a need for me to post about it. Tragically, there is.
Back to the story. 3 years into dating The Boy, while he was in the Navy, he was transferred IA (Individual Augmentation) and stationed in Iraq. He was a prison guard in Taji, Iraq for a year.
I was in shock the first day I found out. He was in the NAVY, why the hell were they sending him to Iraq? I generally kept it together. The only time I had problems was when I had to tell people he was being deployed.
Oh, a side story about why insecure girls are the most annoying creatures on earth. (It’s a bonus story! Included free for no additional charge.) The day The Boy told me he was being deployed I was scheduled to work at a computer store in the mall that sells expensive computers, phones, and mp3 players to hipsters (not that I’m naming any names). Apparently, at some point at the start of my shift, I was short with her or ignored her, or something. I don’t even remember interacting with her, honestly, as I said, I was in shock. Well, this girl went to one of the store managers and complained that I was mean to her.
Seriously. That happened. In our 20s, that happened. He came to me, and told me her concerns and I about blew up. I was furious that anyone could be so self-centered that one moment of impatience from someone warranted creating a world of drama all focused around her. The man I loved was going to a war zone and you decided to act like that? Needless to say when I explained what really happened that manager had to have a sit down with her about acting like an adult.
BACK TO MY POINT. So many detours today.
While The Boy was deployed, I was terrified. All the time. It was something I just became used to having inside, that constant worry. It was stronger than any of his prior deployments, and the Iraq deployment was the hardest one for me to get through. I missed and worried about him all day every day. It became a constant presence and a fact of my life.
But, that fear, that worry, that sadness was ingrained in me. It can very easily be called up again. Military homecomings are guaranteed tear-fests. I know the relief that comes with him being home.
It also means that sometimes I can’t handle watching modern war movies. The Boy was never in combat, but the association is too strong for me. It hits my gut and makes me sick with fear.
This song pulls it out of me. It’s the story of a man coping with the death of his brother. He connects with him again by driving his truck. I cry every time I hear it. Every Damn. Time. Why?
Because that fear is still in me, years later. The Boy is no longer in the military, and I still feel it in my core. It’s always there. The terror of losing the man I love. I guarantee this fear resides inside every military family member, and there is no empathy greater than that which comes from us with that fear seeing people have to cope with it becoming real.
This is also why I hate Westboro Baptist Church. Not just because they are wicked human beings who want to control the lives and loves of others, but also because they have the audacity to protest the funeral of someone who has just lost a soldier. Someone who is living my greatest fear. It is impossible to explain it accurately if you have never felt fear like that. It is a fear borne of love. It is the strongest, most horrible fear on earth.
This song reminds me of this fear, so I hate it. But, it is cathartic to let that fear out, so I love it.