Only on certain nights do I possess the courage, someplace between loneliness and desperation, to reach under my bed to the dilapidated shoebox filled to the brim with letters and notes of yore, hidden there. Such was the case past midnight on Mother’s Day Eve to the chorus of loons on the lake and crickets in the gardens among the patter of a light rain. I set down my Bible to reach into the darkness and extracted a folded piece of brittle paper at random. I opened it, and found it to be a fitting tribute to the hundreds of thousands of Army Wives across the world, and I share it with our OneLife Warriors in their honor as many share the same solitude as I this night.
Can it be five years ago today that we stood on the breezy shores of Unity Lake and pledged our love for each other? It seems like only yesterday, yet time has passed and with it so many memories of happiness and sacrifice. Having spent the past two days near our first home in Caribou, such memories are re-kindled as I reflect on the early days of our life together.
How often I have marveled at your strength as an Army Wife with all of our travels and moves; the many times you have stood alone, surrounded by the responsibilities of motherhood, a big house and all that goes with being the matriarch of our family. You are truly the cornerstone of our health, happiness, and the life force behind our unanimity.
It is hard for me to recapture the sentiments of my initial letter to your family explaining my intention to marry you, except to say that the choice was not mine. I simply could not imagine NOT being with you. If there is anything that I have done that was right and good in my life, it was marrying you Carol, and fathering our sons into a world so much in need of their beauty and wisdom. The glory of their very existence is a testimony to our love and how goodness brings goodness.
And your family. What more could a husband ask for than to gain sisters, and a mother and father, who are closer to me than even my own. There is no doubt that my love and affinity for each of them is mirrored in the eyes of our little ones.
So on this day of our fifth anniversary, remember that you are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I hope that I can hold you for 60 more years and laugh with you with grandchildren and great grandchildren at our feet. And on the day when this old soldier passes into the rolling pastures of Flanders Fields, I pray that the my last earthly vision is sapphire blue of your eyes smiling down on me.
I love you so much, Carol. You are my only hero and the inspiration for all that I do as a soldier, father and husband. Please stay away from danger and I will be in the safe haven of your loving arms tomorrow before the sun goes down. As always, thank you for knowing me so well, and loving me, anyway.
Your husband of five years,
The roles of Army Wives should never be overlooked for their historic and often unheralded contributions, nor should the simple fact that our Soldiers are not the only casualties of war.
God bless you, OneLife Warriors….keep running and I’ll see you tomorrow.