My ex husband is a veteran. My two best friends from elementary school are both also veterans. I have always felt grateful to all veterans on Veteran’s Day. But it felt like it meant something more when I was married to a veteran.
We got married prior to my ex’s deployment after knowing each other for about 7 months. We were married when he served our country in Iraq. I knew what I was signing up for with him deploying within a couple months of our marriage. I became an Army Wife. The worrying and fear was constant for our first year when we should have been blissful newly weds. I was anxiously waiting for his return to the states. When he returned safe, with his new title of Veteran, I was so thankful.
When he came home, we bought our house, adopted our dog, and eventually started a family and things felt normal. We had been married almost 4 years when we welcomed our daughter into the world, and about 5.5 years with our son. Life felt like it was on track. Every year on Veteran’s Day, it felt extra special that he was home. I would post on Facebook about how thankful I was for him and all vets. It felt like I, as a veteran’s wife, was also honored every time we went to an event where vets were honored for their service. I was sitting next to a man who served, and I was back home waiting for him and worrying about him when he did. I felt like I was a PART of his service. Like my role as Army Wife mattered.
Fast forward a few years later, to today. Veteran’s Day 2018. My ex and I divorced just shy of 2 years ago. I am no longer an Army Wife. I am no longer a Veteran’s wife. I have not posted about Veteran’s Day on Facebook since. My ex and I are not on great terms and the divorce was not amicable. He moved on, and so did I. Veteran’s Day feels different for me now. It is not about me, and never was. I fully understand this. I didn’t join the military or go to a combat zone. Though it always felt like since I was married to him, a piece of me had went and served. But since the divorce, that piece is no longer a part of me. So while I will continue to always be grateful for the sacrifices our Veterans make, it feels a bit like I divorced that part of me and I don’t know how to be thankful the same way I once was. I don’t know how to honor or celebrate Veteran’s Day now that I’m divorced from a veteran. I am now a Veteran’s ex-wife, and that title seemingly holds no honor. So I’ve been silent about Veteran’s Day for the last few years.
I am writing this on Veteran’s Day, but will be posting on another day, as I want to do my best to honor Veteran’s and their sacrifices on Veteran’s Day. I think it’s also important to recognize those that are left behind from service, too. Many veterans come home changed forever from their service. And some veteran’s spouses find that it is no longer possible to keep a household normal after the vet returns from deployment. Every single military family goes through an adjustment period surrounding a deployment. Sometimes that adjustment period never stops and sometimes it may even end in divorce.
I won’t tell you all of the reasons for my divorce were because of my ex’s service. Many of them were probably more a result of not knowing each other very long before we got married. We thought we could overcome the odds. We were young and thought we were in love. Sitting here, on Veteran’s Day, though, has stirred up feelings for me. Veteran’s Day has just never been the same for me since the divorce, and I really just don’t know how to reconcile that feeling. For me, I think the only thing I can continue to do is be thankful in a more quiet way for the sacrifices of our country’s veterans.
To those Veterans reading this, I want to sincerely thank you for your service.