My best friend Lisa and I have known each other for 20 years. We lost track after high school and reconnected a little over five years ago…when she was deployed in Iraq. We have been inseparable since we reconnected. For those of you following the Remember September Project, I said that I would provide you with different perspectives from my friends across the military. Lisa’s perspective is unique, she has been an Airmen, serving in the United States Air Force, and also a military spouse, married to an Airmen. Here is a picture of her beautiful family. I hope you will read what she has to say about what this project means to her.
1. As someone who has deployed and left your then boyfriend, now husband, behind, what does a project like Remember September mean to you?
This project means a lot to me. When I was deployed, I knew that I had family that cared for and loved me, and I received regular care packages from them. But, if I had received something like what this project seeks to bring these deployed soldiers, it would have made me feel incredibly supported and cared for and valued in my sacrifice.
2. Speaking from the perspective of a spouse (a very recently married spouse) how did your first deployment go? Did you have the support you needed?
My husband and I were married just a little over a month before he left. I had felt pretty prepared for him to go, that is until we found out that I would not be having the baby that I was carrying. I had a miscarriage and surgery just 2 weeks before my husband left me for six months. And while that may not be a terribly long time in the world of deployments, I was absolutely crushed and terrified. Not only had I lost a baby, but I also had an increased potential of losing my husband as well as he was going to a war zone. Had it not been for the loss of a baby, it would have been far easier to make it through the long days. I would have had something tangible to look forward to, as opposed to just a date in the future. I had the support of family and friends, and my co-workers, as I was still in the Air Force, but all I wanted was my husband. I know that every spouse of a deployed soldier feels that way, and we are SO happy and relieved when they return home to us safely!
3. What would it have meant you as a spouse to know that someone was sewing handmade Christmas gifts for your husband?
I would have loved my husband to receive the gift of something handmade for Christmas while he was deployed. I know that he would have been beyond appreciative, as would I, because there is nothing like knowing that someone cares when you are deployed. You are away from family, friends and all of the comforts of home, so any semblance of normalcy and “civilian life” is greatly relished and enjoyed!
4. What do you think people need to know about military families and what they go through?
I think that people need to realize that military families are just like civilian families, (we have the same hopes, dreams, and aspirations for the future) only with a few very important differences. We face all of the same challenges that they face, only often times we do it with less money, because the military does not pay well in the low ranks. We also deal with the separation that few civilian families can truly appreciate until faced with it. Many times spouses are left to manage home and family and all that comes with that, while mommy or daddy go off to war, or to any one of the required training classes that arise. Life goes on even without your family together, whether you want it to or not. We have not been active duty for almost 4 years, but my family is still dealing with the separation as my husband currently works three and a half hours away from home with his guard unit, and we only see him on the weekends. It is difficult for the children to constantly have their daddy in and out of their lives like he is, and we look forward to the day where he has a job that he can come home from at the end of every day. As the saying goes “Do not judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.” You never know what challenges they are facing, and how many thousands of directions they may be being pulled every day.
Thank you for taking the time to read what I had to say. And thank you Melissa for having me. I hope that what I have said sheds a little light on just how important a project like Remember September can be to the soldiers and their loved ones. Any donations made will be so appreciated!
Thank you so much Lisa for sharing your story with all of us. You and your husband, and your little ones are all heroes for the sacrifices you have made! If you haven’t already I hope that you will join us in our sewing project this month and make a pillowcase or e-reader cover. For those of you are already sewing with us, thank you so very much for your contribution, it really does mean so very much!