Life of a military loved one:
By Danielle Sanders
There is a common saying in the military that when they recruit an individual, the whole family serves too. Sure, it is our military personnel who are brave, strong, resilient individuals who are appreciated for their heroism. They put their lives on the line on a daily basis while deployed to foreign, war torn countries. However, the family must learn to adapt to their new lives without their loved one. They also must deal with a heightened sense of concern and worry about their deployed loved one. When my brother left for Afghanistan in October two thousand for Operation Enduring Freedom, I realized just how stressful deployments can be for family members.
Our family feared that his commitment might demand what is often called the highest price. Before he left, I imagined what it might be like as a sister of a fallen hero. I pictured the flag draped over the coffin, his obituary in our local newspaper and the support of our hometown as they rallied around us during our time of loss. Even with these fears in our hearts we couldn’t have been more proud of his willingness to serve and his bravery it took to start this amazing adventure of his life.
Traditionally, the holidays are a time when families gather together to enjoy the festivities. However, for military families, the absence of their loved one during the holiday season can bring a feeling of loneliness. That is why we must cherish the moments of the past and look forward to the moments of our future. Without the sacrifice of these individuals; rather it be family, friends, or strangers, we wouldn’t be allowed to have these moments to look forward to.
In the beginning there was a daily new emotion to deal with. It’s not just a deployment that you must adjust to but military life in general. The day we received the call from boot camp that he had been injured and is graduation was postponed for six weeks to the day we read in the battalion newsletter that his unit was being sent to Afghanistan brought and unbelievable amount of heart ache. My family realized that without a good support system this journey would be even harder.
Support can come in many opportunities. You don’t need a big group, or a group that likes to hug, all you need is a group that will listen. We found many caring people but also found that we needed to be proactive in finding support. That is how Military Love on Face-book came to be. It is designed to help any active duty military, their loved ones and even some retired military personnel. Since there are several sights for military wives and a few for military parents this was mainly designed for sibling of the men and women serving our country.
The experience of military life is one of a kind. Until you walk the walk you really can not understand all that is involved. However, I wouldn’t have changed this adventure for anything else. I will forever be thankful that I was one of the few people who are lucky enough to know what this feeling is.