Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Radio Silence

It's probably not the best time to blog after reading the news, but I can't help it today - something is bothering me. A group of Army wives I know from an online discussion board recently discussed communication frequency with their deployed spouses. I can't help but wonder if when the average person expresses appreciation for the troops, if they stop to think about some of the small details like this.

Obviously, a war doesn't bode well for courtship and romancing your wife and I don't complain about this or expect it-it's just the way it is. I don't get to talk to my husband everyday and I don't get super long emails and love letters everyday to sustain me. However, there are women I think of today who hear from their husbands once a month. Their husbands are living in conditions and places that do not permit regular phone calls/email.

Can you take a second and imagine hearing the deafening sound of that empty crackle on the other side of a radio, moment after moment for 30 days? Writing letter after letter with infrequent response, sending packages, waiting by the edge of your seat in trepidation only for this to crecendo in that grand moment when the phone rings and you talk, and the process begins anew and the worry starts all over?

Think about it. What would you talk about after 30 days of silence between you and your spouse? How do you cram in all the updates, needs, and chit chat that would have occurred? How do you affirm your love for one another and encourage?

Does anybody out there besides me feel grieved by the repeated stretching this does to both parties in a marriage? I think today of an Army wife who responded to the survey. She's in Alaska entertaining herself for 30 days in a row, gets a call, and then repeats the cycle for one more of the 15 times in a row she will do that and not say anything about it ever. I've never heard her complain about her world of one-sided seeming love. Another is pregnant with her first child. I hurt inside today for her as I imagine the unspoken moments of her lonely experience. She never says anything about it to the rest of us, but I have a son and I can only imagine the weight of her heart inside her chest.

The silver lining I find today is not so much in the realization that I am extremely lucky to have more frequent communication with my spouse. My message today is that I feel grateful a grateful witness to a secret sisterhood so strong - women who are a living examples to me of how selfless love, devotion, and faith are present in a marriage's most precarious time.

I really can't know if all the people who have a "support the troops" car magnet ever consider the communication patterns of military families during wartime deployments, but what I do know is that as much as we are being tested, we are made of a special kind of steel, formulated to quietly bear the weight that less than 1% of the population in this country will ever have to bear on their shoulders.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stella, your words are like a mirror to my heart at times. As that Alaskan girl, I thank you for your friendship and your loving words. The silence is deafening, but the support speaks volumes. *hugs*

Anonymous said...

Beautiful words, Stella. Being in the thick of a difficult time in life, it's always nice to know there's someone out there that can see what silence means to your heart. Thank you for sharing in our journey.

cc said...

i am trying to find a good online discussion board for military spouses enduring a deployment. my husband has about 12 months to go and i don't live near where my husband was posted so dont have a lot (any) live support from others going through the same thing. am looking for a good online community. you mentioned one in your blog....

Anonymous said...

Stella...I just read this and it remind me once again to be so grateful that I am one of the lucky ones who gets to hear often from my man. Thank you so much.

ABW said...

I don't hear from my husband much while he is gone because of his job, but we manage.

I love what you have written.