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Just One Incident Can Change Our Lives Forever

compressed-ptsd

By Ava Jacobs:

I feel that the majority of women married to service members have experienced at least one incident. An incident that rocks your world, shakes you to the core, and often times makes you wonder why he is still in this line of work. Such incidents serve as a reminder to me, a wife of a man who is lovingly devoted to this great nation, that we live in an extremely privileged world. This country provides those who live here with freedoms, safety, luxuries, and beauty which much of the world could never dream of knowing. Incidents, like the ones I refer to, make you wonder how such evil exists in this world while also unveiling the hardness of the real world in all its beauty and all its evil. It becomes real because you can see it on your husband’s face, hear it in his voice, and feel the loss of something in his words.

The spring and summer trips, as we call them, or deployments are always the worst for me. More action, more close calls, more extremists coming out of hiding after a cold winter of planning. Spring and summer are the fighting season and the seasons when I get fewer calls at our regular times and more emails saying he will not be in his room to call me on a given day or night because he has “work to do”. These are the trips where I always cling to God the most, knowing the likelihood of something happening is far greater than the others. These trips are when the incidents always occur.

The first incident occurred in early summer, just shy of two years into our marriage. In reality, likely not the first close call, but the first one that my husband felt a need to share with me. It was a day like any other, I was at home with our two month old on a beautiful warm afternoon, when I got a call from Mike not at our usual time. He seemed off, exhausted and yet very wired. Not something I often see from him. We had a conversation, per usual of I miss you and I love you, but he ended with “I am glad I got to talk to you, I wasn’t sure if you would be around.” Not a phrase he used often and paired with the unusual time of the call something hit me after we hung up with, “I am just ready to come home.” I called him back immediately, maybe from sleep deprivation or because this type of call had not happened yet, I did not initially realize something was awry. When I called back I asked him if he wanted to see his son and we could talk more if he wanted. He said “yes, I do” to both and began crying, always a silent cry, where tears stream down his face, his eyes turn red, and pain paralyzes my heart because he is a world away and I can do nothing to console him besides sit in front of the computer and talk.

The incidents that happen, the psychological, emotional, and physical tolls taken on men, on warriors, is not to be dismissed because they are men, they are trained and they are strong. These men, need strong women, women of faith, love, kindness, and respect to remind them that war is not everywhere. War happens and yet, there is love and light, there is a safe place to be upset and to mourn and grieve over such evil in the world. It only takes one incident to change any family’s entire world, to bring death closer than a family ever imagined or trauma into our life forever. I try to remind myself as a wife, that I need to be his light and the extension of God’s love here on earth, for he sees more evil than I could ever dream and he eats the sin, death and evil a world away so we do not have to lay witness to it at our front door.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes”

Ephesians 6:11

Ava Jacobs is an OpsLens Contributor and the spouse of a U.S. Air Force Veteran and former CIA counterterrorism official.

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