Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Thoughts From A Service Wife

For some time I have been wondering how to commemorate a small anniversary; the one-hundredth entry on this Blog.  I had thought to summarize my seagoing and/or astronomical career, or perhaps to finally publish one of the several articles I have labored over literally for years.  Those entries will wait, I think.

This morning I would like to hand the 'mic' over to my infinitely better half, the woman who willingly shares my life and therefore the tribulations of being "the sailor's wife".  Lucy is indeed my lighthouse and my anchorage, friend and wife and all-too-often distant confidant for these 28 years, and she knows all too well of what she writes. Heed her.


For a while now, I have been asked to contribute to this blog.  In light of some recent events, I decided it was time. 

Being the wife of a military man is a hard job.  Not necessarily for all the weird work schedules, strange commutes and places of residence, but for making the civilians who comprise our families, friends and co workers understand what we have chosen.  Because it IS a choice, and we make it for the man we love.

We go through relocations to strange new places and major life re-adjustments, house and appliance repairs, sick and dying pets, all perfectly timed when the husbands are deployed.  We slog through the missed birthdays and missed holidays.  We are the accountants, the keepers of the lighthouse that keeps the men coming back home. 

We have good days and we have bad days.  We keep ourselves busy with work and projects just to stave off the loneliness.  It is the latter that sometimes gets the better of even the toughest among us.  We put on a brave face, especially for the outside world, but inside, we are screaming for an ounce of comfort, comfort that is usually thousands of miles away.

That is when we tend to hear the inevitable: How do you do it?  How do you put up with it?  These questions are like a knife twisted in a festering wound.  Please don't ask.  Be there for us to talk to, to go to the movies with, to have tea with.  We love our friends and family, and your greatest support for us, the military wives, is just to BE there.

 When we are told that 'it must be great to have all this time to yourself', the words are a double edged sword for us.  Yes, it is nice to have the time, but it can also be too much.  "Your husband is on a cruise?"  Well, not really.  He works long hours with little sleep, and in an environment where anything can happen at anytime.  "Can't you fly over and meet him?"  Not exactly.  Schedules are subject to change, and we the wives, have obligations, if not to children, than work commitments, pets, etc.

With all due respect to families and friends, next time you are tempted to say any of the above, PLEASE rethink, and help us put up a clothesline, pot up a plant, or paint a cabinet!   We will thank you with a meal instead of tears after the phone has been hung up.

                                                                                                            Lucy Marie Epps
                                                                                                            Newport News, Va.

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