Today is the day I’ve been dreading. It’s the last day Matt is home before he’s once more sent to Wainwright for a month. I’m lucky in the sense that its just me I have to take care of and that I’ve gotten the last two weeks with him at home, but seriously, could we stop with the exercises already?
But today’s post isn’t about me or my specific situation. Instead, it’s about all of us – military and civilian, kids, no kids, here, there, wherever. It’s about the strength inside ourselves and the choices we make every day that determine what kind of person we are and will end up being.
This past week I’ve met with my doctor, my lawyer, and my psychologist. I’ve driven hundreds of kilometres across Alberta and back. I’ve been somewhere beautiful, somewhere moving, and somewhere I’d rather not be again. And in all of these places, in all of these meetings, I’ve had to make choices. Choices for my future, and choices that will continue to define the kind of woman I want to be. Let me tell you, it’s been challenging. It’s been emotional. It’s been good feelings and bad feelings and hope and despair, frustration after frustration and quiet simmering anger.
And then I saw something that made me pause. While we were visiting The Military Museums in Calgary, we stopped in the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) wing and stood for a moment in reverence. Housed in their own display were the two rocks from Masum Ghar, Afghanistan that honoured the soldiers who had fallen while attached to the LdSH(RC) during their tour. Their names were Nate and Mike. They were my husband’s friends. They were both killed while Matt was on tour. Because fallen soldiers are returned to their home to be with their families, there is nothing left in the war zone to memorialize them. Soldiers instead painted rocks to stand as monuments, to symbolize that yes, they had been there, and yes, they have made the ultimate sacrifice to be true to the person they were inside. It allowed others to grieve properly. It allowed them to be reminded of the real dangers of being where they were. They gave the other soliders strength.
|Tpr Mike Hayakaze and Cpl Nathan Hornburg’s memorial stones display|
And they gave me strength. I stood there, holding my husband’s hand in silence, and watched him as he looked over the display. For a moment or two, my mind was blank. I couldn’t even begin to think of something to say. Then it hit me, and I realized: I don’t have to say anything. Being who I am, having gone through what I have, all I had to do was honour their loss and commend my husband’s strength, and that didn’t need words at all. So I squeezed his hand a little tighter and when he was ready, we moved on.
The meeting with the doctor was positive. The meeting with the lawyer was, in its own way, positive. But the news we wanted to hear didn’t come, and we were left feeling frustrated, scared, and resentful. We have no idea what is going to happen once August rolls around. But after being to the Museum and seeing the display, you know what I do know?
I know I’m strong enough to take whatever comes our way. I know that I have a huge support base that will do everything in its power to help us. I know that I could not have stood and looked at that display if it hadn’t been for the choices I made every single moment after the accident, or the choices I make every single moment of my newly reborn life. I am strong because I choose to be. So is my husband. So were Mike and Nate. So every single one of us can be, if we choose. We all have steel inside us, we just have to choose to bury it deep and lean on it when we need to. We have to choose to make the sacrifices, and because we have, our steel is stronger for it.