(Editor’s note: Tim is one of our Military Helpline specialists and is scheduled for active duty as an Army Lieutenant this coming February)
“Why don’t you like to talk about the Army?” she asked.
“It’s not that I don’t like talking about the Army, it’s that I don’t like thinking about how it will pull us apart.”
This has become my reality.
Tears began to roll down her face as I spoke about my time here, and that it would come to an end, as all good things do. Eventually I would be called off to do a job that not many people want, or choose.
Lost in thought about all that I would be losing and leaving, and sitting next to me, was someone that was also looking into the future at something that eventually she was going to lose.
As we drove on, fighting back our own very real fears of the future to come, I turned to see her, sitting quietly while those tears of fear began building up in her eyes. I reached across and held her hand gently. No words were spoken, through that touch, that bond, we both understood.
But we didn’t understand.
We probably never will. The changes that will happen are as obvious as the differences between a man and a woman. I am leaving to do a very un-natural and dangerous job, while she stays here, in school, never to see what I go through. Life for her, and for all my friends and family will carry on when I’m away, just as it has in the past. For me, life will become sweeter in a way. All the effort, long nights, early mornings, being away from those I love for long periods of time, they will all finally be justified.
While I am privileged and honored to carry the flag of this nation into areas of strife and contention, I must also carry the burden that I will be leaving those I consider closest in my life. This weight will be much heavier than any load I will carry on my back, it is not visible, and I will never show its true weight.
Watching the tears roll down her face, the burden becomes very heavy.