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thedrifter
09-05-07, 07:36 PM
A Letter from a Marine's Wife

The challenges and hardships which are a part of Marine life are fairly well known. What may not be readily known or more appreciated is the extent to which these same challenges and hardships affect another critical element of many Marines: the Marine wife as well as their offsprings. The nature of Marine operations imposes tremendous psychological and emotional pressures on Marine wives. These are manifested in the expeditionary character of Marine operations which require Marines to be ready to deploy at short notice for extended periods of time in distant locations, frequently in very hazardous and difficult conditions. Nothing compares to her fear and anxiety for the safety of her husband and father to her children. In this context, the support which a Marine wife extends to her husband as is a critical element in enabling him to focus his attention on his work far from home. This is facilitated by the close family ties which characterize Filipino culture. These same challenges and hardships compel the Marine wife to endure an additional level of stress and pressure beyond that which are a part of a normal married life. This letter from an anonymous marine wife clearly depicts the pain in enduring the life married to a Marine and her understanding to his calling for the sake of country and people. Editor-in-Chief, CITEMAR6.

Dear Daddy,

Have you ever felt so weak and so empty because of loneliness? Like tears would just roll down your eyes for no apparent reason? Like you can't see what you're writing anymore when you make a letter? I'm exactly what that is right now, my love. My chest and throat hurts already because I keep on holding back the tears that are about to roll down. I'm not ashamed anymore; I guess there is nothing wrong in missing the most important person in your life. Right now I keep on whispering to God to give me serenity to accept the fact that forever I will be like this. Forever I will keep on missing you everytime you are far, everytime the country needs you to serve her, with nothing but prayer for comfort. Sometimes I keep on asking why of all the professions, you are called for to be a Soldier? Why a Marine? Why be where danger is? I try to answer it myself and the only thing I come up with is that you are 'special', that is why. The harsh reality that your life is always in danger is enough to kill every nerve in my body. Your job is not something I should be happy about, but it is what GOD had prepared for you so it is what you are right now. You are called to serve the country, your fellowmen without regard to your own self, and to the family you are just starting to build. In the very few times that we were together after our wedding I've known that in your heart you have kept what you have learned in your training in the academy, you are what patriotic is defined. At the start I was hoping that my very person and your love for me can make you think in another sense, but I was wrong. I guess the influence of your school and your personal love for your country was too much for me to compete with. Now I know better, my role is to support you in all things you plan with your career. I will be an ally instead of an enemy. You are a very young officer, so idealistic, so loyal to your country and career. To oppose you and remake what you are will be the biggest mistake I would do. With all my heart, I will be at your side. I will be as strong and unafraid as you are, taking loneliness as nothing. To be a wife of a soldier, so much more of a Marine is not easy, but because of the love that you yourself never fail to show despite all the other things that you do. I will be here always. Rest assured that I would also do my part the way you do yours. You will have nothing from me that you will be ashamed of. You go on with your chosen path and I promise to be there no matter how hard it is. I love you and miss you in a way no word can describe. I pray that all the conflicts in the world will be over so that finally our country that you love so well can return you to me completely.

with all my heart,
Mommy

Ellie

thedrifter
09-05-07, 07:39 PM
A Marine wife: 'I am so very proud'

By: JOHN VAN DOORN - Staff Writer

Newspaper writers get letters. Some are admiring, some less so. Some say we're crazy or on the take, some say the letter-writers were reminded of their own lives.

Observer doesn't print them, as a rule, interesting as they are. We send them on to the Letters pages.

It happens, on occasion, however, that a deeply felt letter arrives that is so honest, raw and beautiful that there's nothing for a columnist to do but give up his space for a day and print it. All of it.


Following is just such a letter. It arrived by e-mail. The writer, who is in Okinawa, had come across an article Observer wrote a year or more ago on the women of Camp Pendleton. She liked it. She wrote:

"Marine spouses are a different breed. We spit nails for breakfast and are gentle and kind as need be for our loved ones. We take care of business because that is our role as a military spouse.

"We are the support system for our service members. Without our strength and independence our spouses could not go across the world or across the base and do what their job calls for them to do. They need to think with a clear head and without worrying about what is going on at home.

"We don't think about how to do it,we just do it. There isn't a boot camp for us, no special training. You either have the spirit inside of you or you don't.

"I thought I was a very strong person, but I didn't realize what strength was until I became the wife of a Marine at the age of 35. Many of us did not know what we were getting into.

"I was a naive girlfriend that listened to a recruiter. I was told that my husband-to-be would be able to provide me a wonderful life as an officer. My children would have the best schools, we would have housing wherever we were stationed, and most of all my husband would not have to be away much. Wow! This sounded wonderful.

"I had been a single parent for nine years and had struggled financially. This sounded like my paradise. I soon married my Marine and thought my new journey would be a sweet one. Paradise would soon be my own personal hell.

"But ask me now how I feel now? I wouldn't trade it for the world.

"Without my husband I have delivered babies, gone through surgeries, sat in the ER with children, and the list goes on.

"Do you notice something I didn't say? I didn't say alone! I am never alone as long as I have a Marine spouse nearby.

"I moved from Ohio to Virginia, to North Carolina (Jacksonville and Camp Lejeune), to California (Monterey and Camp Pendleton), and then to Okinawa.

"I am never at a loss for support. Our paths cross so many times and new support systems are formed easily.

"Currently my husband is deployed. They said for six months, but we all know how six months rolls into more than six. I live in a foreign country, but I have more support than I could ever ask for.

"This may seem strange to you that I am going on and on. It is so rare that I read an article that is not from a spouse that depicts the heart and soul of a Marine spouse.

"Thank you so much for understanding us. I am not 'painfully wonderfully young,' but I am a painfully wonderfully seasoned woman that is so very proud to be a wife of a United States Marine."

---- Cindy Grissom

There's nothing to add; Cindy Grissom obviously needs no assistance from this corner. In North County we know Marines and Marine wives (and husbands). We have seen courage beyond the beyond from one and all.

This is another dimension. We do not always get inside a Marine wife's heart. This time we did. We thank her.

Contact staff writer John Van Doorn at (760) 739-6657 or jvandoorn@nctimes.com.

Ellie