Dear [Reality TV Star],
Last night, my husband was sleeping off a fever next to me on the couch. Which meant I had full control over the TV remote. So, I clicked on your show to watch. During one of your interviews, you said something interesting.
“We have to talk about things that probably a lot of couples wouldn’t talk about back in the States just because…
if we were back in the States, we wouldn’t have to be talking about, ‘Now if you die, like, what am I supposed to do from there, you know…like, if you don’t come home after you’re supposed to, you know, this hour…what do I do?’ It’s hard to talk about those things…”
I thought you hailed from America. Like, from the United States. I had thought I heard you were from Arkansas. But, there must be a different United States. A different Arkansas.
Because I live in America–I live in the United States. And I know so many couples, both young and old, who’s entire lives revolve around this very conversation.
My friend Sabrina lives this conversation everyday. She has three beautiful, young children. A girl and two boys. Her husband is an Oakland police officer. Every day she sees him off to work, and everyday I’m sure she fears him not coming home. She inspires me. Nearly everyday, I think of her. How I would not be able endure that kind of stress, everyday. My friend Michelle lives in Georgia. She has eleven beautiful children. She also endures this stress everyday, as her husband is a police officer in Georgia. She, too, I’m sure fears his not coming home everyday.
My sister-in-law Angie lives this fear. Her husband–my twin brother–serves in the National Guard. Recently, he left for three weeks of intense military training, with weapons and large military vehicles. They were at Fort Hood, training in dangerously high heat. I’m sure, everyday, she would worry about his safety. I’m sure, at least a few times during those three weeks, she worried about him not coming home. Because I did.
I live this fear everyday, too. I worry that my husband will die sometimes. A lot of times. We have conversations pretty frequently about his will, our wills. About what would happen if he died on the job.
Because my husband is an active duty Soldier in the U.S. Army. And every wife on my street is a military spouse. Wives of helicopter pilots, military police officers, former infantryman–they all live on my street. As we’ve watched our children play together, we’ve talked about our back up plans, about what we would do if our husbands were killed on Active Duty. And we all have a back up plan. Because when those uniformed officers show up at your door with a Chaplain, you won’t have time or the emotional stamina to get together a plan.
You live in South America as a missionary. You probably won’t spend 20 years down there. You’ll probably mission elsewhere eventually. Maybe even back in the States. But my friends and I, the police officer wives, firefighter wives, military wives–we will spend a lifetime living in fear. The fear you said most couples probably don’t have to discuss. We have wills and power of attorneys and back up plans, just in case. Because we live this everyday.
I’m happy for you that, if you were back in the United States, you wouldn’t have to be talking about the what if’s should your husband not walk in the door at the appointed hour. I’m relieved for you that your life would not revolve around the possibility of him dying. It’s a hard life to live. I would wager though that, when you are home in your United States, milling around in your Arkansas, you likely are rubbing elbows with men and women who do live with this fear daily. More couples, perhaps, than you realize.
Because we are everywhere. Living lives, silently praying everyday that we don’t have to pull out those power of attorneys, put into action our back up plans. Hoping we never have to tell our young–or older–children that Daddy, Mommy isn’t coming home that night. That they aren’t ever coming home.
Enjoy your safety in the United States. Your comfort. It’s brought to you by a band of fearful, heroic young and old couples, silently going about our lives. Everyday.