What are the three most memorable moments — good or bad, happy or sad — in your life?
- Loading my full combat load on the day my boots hit the ground(01/30/2004).
- The moment I had to tell the judge that my wife was in love with someone else and had been for years.(01/30/2013)
- The moment I noticed Jeannette 02/09/13
There are so many moments to remember. As I sit here and think of this question I just want to keep going, but those are the first 3 that came to mind.
As a veteran I can tell you that nothing prepares you for the moment that you first realize you are in a combat zone. We were prepared to be in a combat zone, sure. But there is nothing that prepares you for the moment that it becomes real. I will not even tell you how I reacted. I will tell you that some people cried. I will tell you that some people became very quiet. I will tell you that some people were upset because they couldn’t remember if they had given their husband the password to the bank account. We heard about that bank account a million times that day. I will say nothing more about my military service for the time being. But to quote a phrase that I’ve only heard from military people in the last year, “RRRRAAAAHHHH!!! Shit just got real!!!” is the only summary I can offer.
My wife was in love with another woman. I knew that it was misplaced emotion that was the residue of a horribly traumatic event, so I refused to let her telling me how important this girl was to her diminish my love for her. I stood by her for years. She stood by me. But eventually, it all catches up with you. There is really no other way to explain it. I wanted to be wanted. I wanted to be her one and only. I tried and tried. Then I tried not to care and that slowly killed my ability to love. I denied what love was to me so that I could give her what love was to her. If there is one piece of advice I can give you, it is never deny your heart what it wants. If you learn to listen, your heart will tell you what it needs. Regardless, I tried to tell the judge that we had “grown apart” but that is not grounds for a divorce. So I lied. I told her my wife was in love with someone else. I guess it was true enough. I didn’t want to say that though. It wasn’t her fault. I starved my heart and it withered away into a raisin.
I met Jeannette several months before my divorce. It wasn’t until 10 days after my divorce that she caught my eye. It’s funny. a friend of mine had mentioned how “hot” she was, even before I met her, and when I met Jeannette I barely noticed her. A few months later, she made a comment in passing and it is truly hard to come up with an analogy or a description of what happened. It wasn’t like the lights faded out and there was that romantic flare lighting on her. It wasn’t like a violinist floated by on a gondola. It was like that moment you wake up and you see a stranger, but before you wonder where you are or who they are, you pause and think, “Woah…”… And then you wonder if you said it out loud.
And as beautiful and amazing as she is, she pales in comparison to the fact that she made me remember that there was beauty outside my shell.
So yeah, there are hundreds of moments I will never forget, but these are the moments that are at the top of my mind right now.