This past weekend my husband and I celebrated our 57th wedding anniversary. It is almost impossible to think that we have been married for so long. Where did the time go? It really doesn’t seem that long ago…and yet a lot of people have no idea what life was like in 1962.
For me it seemed ideal although looking at it now I wonder how. My husband was a new officer just graduated from West Point and beginning some training. He was in paratrooper school and went on to ranger training. During ranger training he was gone. How in the world did I think that was ideal. I guess I was living in a bubble of newly wed happiness. I think the saving grace was having other wives going through the same thing and us becoming friends. Friends were made quickly as we all needed support. We were lucky as our husbands had known each other at West Point and that made it easier.
Our life in the service was challenging. We moved often and I was alone a good bit. Some things were wonderful…the birth of our first child…language school in Monterey…living in Panama, Central America.
Times were also tough with spending two different years alone with children while my husband served in Viet Nam. I don’t know how I managed the worry but I seemed to cope with the stress and loneliness. Children are wonderful companions but they don’t replace a beloved spouse.
Our last tour was a joy. My husband went to graduate school and then taught math at West Point. It was an amazing experience.
There have been many years and many different jobs for each of us since his retirement from the military and life has been good. Our three adult children, their spouses, our six grandchildren, one great grandchild and one on the way have added great joy.
57 years. Amazing!
Today is Memorial Day. It is a day for thanksgiving for those who gave their lives that we might live free. This day is hard for me to write about since my husband was in the Army for 20 years. He spent two years in Viet Nam fighting a senseless war. He graduated from West Point in 1962 and felt obligated to serve in the war. Wars run by politicians cannot be won. All the idiotic rules that governed what could and could not be done made it impossible. I could give many examples of this but it would not only take too long but also bring up too many bad memories.
My husband does not talk about the war except for a few incidents that had some humor attached to them. He fought in the battle of Dak To which was so badly run that many people died. He won’t talk about this.
We have been to the Viet Nam Memorial Wall but he will never go again. There are too many friend’s names on it.
I spent those years at home with our children worrying about him. There was little communication with loved ones during WWI, WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam. I even had to number my letters so that he knew if some were missing. His letters to me came in bunches. Communication is better now but it doesn’t take away the worry.
This is the fate of families today who wait for loved ones in danger. I grieve for both the soldier and the family. Many families don’t survive the separation. Please pray for those soldiers and their families.
If I think I have serious problems all I have to do is to look around me. I know that all of us have problems but there sure are some I wouldn’t want to have. One friend has a child with a brain tumor, another friend has had 2 recurrent brain tumors, I can look around me and there are people in pain with things unimaginable.
I need to remember to be grateful. Maybe I need to start saying: thank you that I don’t have a brain tumor, thank you that my children, grandchildren and great grandchild are well. Thank you that I am not in a wheel chair. Thank you that I have a home to live in. Thank you that I have food to eat.
I could spend the rest of the day listing the things that are a gift. I don’t need to be saying “poor me” and feeling bad.
Focusing on the good things makes life a lot more joyous. Gratitude helps us. Sometimes we are sad that some of our own problems are difficult and it is ok to understand that but it is not ok to dwell on it. It doesn’t help.
Find some way to keep track of the good things and focus on them.
This is an absolutely wonderful video from the Mayo Clinic. The conclusion is a new way to think about finding happiness.