“Everytime I pulled out the camera the day I left, you stopped crying or looking sad, and would smile.”
Yes, I did. The day that I felt like my heart was being ripped from chest, the day that I saw my daughter’s favorite person board a bus, the that day I saw my best friend pull away–I smiled only in the pictures. There were moments of intense heartache, that panic overtook me, that I was gripping wildly at my last shred of self-control to not break into desperate tears. I watched you holding your daughter, with that calm, sad look in your eyes, I watched as you looked intently at me while holding her hand, I noticed how extra hard you held me as we hugged the last time.
You deserve better. I swallowed desperately, to hide the tears, the sadness. I smiled for you. And only for you. I knew you’d look at those pictures every day for the next twelve months, garnering strength, peace, fond memories. And what strength, what peace, what fond memories would you have received, if those photos showed a crying, down-trodden wife?
No. I stand tall for you. I walk forward for you. I sleep in a bed alone at night, not for myself, but for you. Because you deserve better. You deserve a wife who can hide tears behind a smile, shadow sadness behind laughter. You deserve a family who stands behind you 110%. You, sir, deserve a family that is heartbroken by your departure, but is strong enough to stand in your absence.
I will move forward for you. I hide my tears, shadow my sadness. I smile and laugh. I do all this for you. Because, while you fight the war, I hold down the homefront. While you are separated from loved ones, I instill joy in them. While you sleep on a cot in sand and stand in defense of our freedom, I sleep in an empty bed, and stand in defense of our family. I do not do this for me. I do not do this for pity or credit. I do this for you. Though separated by thousands of miles, we still fight together through prayer and isolation. We fight battles that are mirrored in their motives. I don’t fight for myself. I fight for you. I stand for you. I smile and laugh for you. My Soldier.