Letter From a Military Wife

Dear America,

I’m pretty sure you don’t know me although you’re probably convinced that you do. You’ve seen me (or someone like me) on the news, in the paper or on a Lifetime tv show. You might have witnessed our tearful airport good-bye or clapped at our  reunion. You might spot me by my bumper sticker, license plate or “Red T-shirt on Friday”. It might be my accent or longing for Dunkin Donuts that gives away the fact that I’m not from around here. Another military wife.

I’m not just another military wife though. Actually, none of us are. There are things you don’t know about us. Things that you can’t see in twenty seconds on the news or find in a front page photo. There are things that are hidden in the tearful goodbyes and forgotten in the sweet hellos. I am more than a bumper sticker, a red t-shirt, a northeast accent and a longing for good coffee. We all are and really, I just want you to see that.

We are called the silent ranks but it’s never said why we are silent. I’m here to tell you it’s because we are waiting. We are holding our breath. It’s easy to be silent when you’re afraid to exhale. We wait…on letters, phone calls, emails and homecomings. But there’s more. We wait on training schedules, new commanders, duty rosters and dates for the field. We wait for leave approval and four-day weekends. We wait for dinner or else someone has to eat it cold. We wait for orders, Transportation, dates, and housing. We sometimes have to wait on Christmas, birthday and anniversary celebrations. We wait for phone calls that will always come at the worst possible moments and require you to give up a perfectly wonderful Saturday evening. We wait to see what last-minute changes will happen because we all know there will be some. We wait on life filled with uncertainty. We don’t usually see it that way though. To us, we are loving a soldier and couldn’t imagine life any other way.

Next time you see me, or someone just like me, notice me. And softly remind me to stop holding my breath. It might be the first time I’ve remembered to exhale all day.

An Army Wife

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166 thoughts on “Letter From a Military Wife

  1. Kelli B. says:

    Thank you so much for using your amazing talent to put a voice to what so many of feel. Not only are you helping others understand but you are reminding those of us who ‘know’ what you are talking about that we are not alone.

    • Jenn Pineo says:

      Kelli,
      Thank you for your feedback. I simply wrote how I felt and am amazed at how many other people have said “me too”. If you haven’t liked my facebook fan page, please consider it. I post all blog entries there. I plan on writing more letters like this since it hit home for so many.

      Jenn
      https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Jenn-Pineo/128405763947682

      • Clara Currier says:

        Thank you ! My husband just left yesterday and it really hard because we are new to our town, I know no one, It just me and our kids . Im glad Im not the only one who for gets to breath , Today is a hard day due to the fact that Im still waiting to here his voice and tell me hes ok and that he made it there … Thanks agian Clara

      • Jenn Pineo says:

        Stay strong, Clara. If you would like, feel free to friend me on facebook.

        Jenn PIneo

      • April Mills says:

        That was AWESOME.. My son is in the Army and My Daughter in law is the GLUE that holds it together on the home front… Love and Huggs to all of you Gals.. It helps us Army moms worry just a little bit less..

    • Bonnie says:

      Thank you. 8 years after retirement, I still forget to exhale. My civilian friends could never understand, and those of us who have been there will never forget. Stand tall, you are not alone, ever!

      • Jenn Pineo says:

        I guess holding your breath becomes a way of life even when life changes. I have been amazed at how many people relate to this post. It’s a wonderful thing to see how connected we really are.

      • Donna King says:

        Oh so very true! Still that way 11 years after retirement. Of course he still works for the Army as a civilian so life has changed very little. Wouldn’t change this life for anyones! : )

      • KW says:

        We retired a year ago, and had a nice PTSD episode last night again…and I held my breath again. Trying to make him snap out of it, letting him know he was ok and home… it doesn’t get easier.

    • lisaacameron says:

      This is beautiful, thank you. I am a Army wife and Mother, my son’s deploying soon and I will keep this to be read often so I too am reminded to ….breath.

    • Laura says:

      Thank you…I am a Marine Corps wife but no matter the branch, we spouses go through the same at home. Your letter brought tears of reality to my eyes and I appreciate the reminder to breathe…
      Love and Peace…

  2. Erin says:

    Thank you for writing this… I’ve read your things before & you have such a clear perspective & a way to put it in to words for others to understand! Thank you!

    • Jenn Pineo says:

      Erin,
      Thank you for your feedback. I am in complete awe of the effect this has had on people. I certainly plan on writing more “Letters From A Military Wife”. It seems to really hit home for a lot of people. Thank you for reading my writing. It’s wonderful to know I can capture what others feel. If you haven’t liked my facebook fan page here is the link.
      https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Jenn-Pineo/128405763947682
      I post all of my blog entries there.
      Jenn

  3. amanda hunandkiss says:

    Oh I was totally thinking it was going to be about what they do why their husbands are on deployment!!

  4. Jennifer Mix says:

    Beautifully written. Brought tears to my eyes. So true!!

  5. christina says:

    what a great subtle way to remind us all to breathe!

  6. Diana says:

    Love this… I can almost breathe, only 3 trash days left until mine comes home. But I have accomplished quite a bit while he has been gone.

    • Jenn Pineo says:

      Thank you, Diana. I always counted our time apart in shampoo bottles. What a wonderful feeling to realized that somewhere during that bottle of shampoo he would be home. And soon, you will be able to say “This is my last time taking out the trash. Next week, it’s HIS job.”

      So happy for your upcoming reunion!

      Jenn

      https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Jenn-Pineo/128405763947682

      • Amber says:

        Its so funny to hear how people count the time he is away. Me and my son always count sleeps. Its something he started by asking how many sleeps till Daddy gets home. So now thats how we count time. How many times do I have to go to sleep till he gets home.

    • aowife says:

      I get excited when he will be home before my groceries expire! I always check dates when I buy and I love that little tingle I get when I have the thought, ‘he will be here before this goes bad’. Especially if it’s dairy. ;-)

  7. Hilda says:

    Beautiful posting and message.
    Just retired…still have not been able to relax and exhale….now is the “waiting” to see what’s next…and the dealings with “what’s coming”. They come home…but you never know what comes along….
    Nobody knows how much work is left for us to do regardless….
    Hang in there…we are all together and will remain together.

  8. JuJu says:

    Amen, sister.

  9. bartha89 says:

    Hi Jenn,
    I am a old one at this….22 years. Thank you for reminding me to breath. It is a very long road but we are better for EVERY minute we do it. We do this for love of our spouse and American pride.
    Thank you for writing such a true letter. Peaople do not see us or they feel sorry for us.
    Hugs,
    Bonnie

  10. Anya says:

    This not only applies to spouses but also those of us who are dual military, not easy dealing with life + military+ if my spouse is ok or not so you are not alone we have many forms and we all deal with it the same way. Most of the time we who are also soldiers are over looked but we also deal with all of the stuff the regular spouse deals with X10 so never feel sorry for your selves it could always be worse………… keep strong!

    • Jenn Pineo says:

      I think the thought America has is that we only wait during deployments. As we know, that’s not the case. I really wanted to show that. I’m lucky that my husband is home every night (for now) but by no means is my waiting done. I just wait for different things. Thank you and your family for serving.

  11. Sandra Jacobson says:

    Thank you for speaking my heart and my 20 years of experience. One who has served in the Silent Ranks.

  12. Marci says:

    I love your post! It is so true. Retired Air Force 6 years ago but still works with the military as a instructor, so he has to travel world wide to teach. The fear is still there! And the waiting on phone calls, emails, and celebrations. Our children have gotten so used to celebrating birthdays and holidays at different times it is a natural part of life. Our civilian friends don’t understand how we do this, but we know it is what is needed to keep our country safe and our people free. If I was given the choice to start over again I would still choose to marry the same man and go through the same fears and joys all over again! What he does is worth it! Thanks for your post!

  13. Rachel says:

    Beautiful! And absolutely dead-on. After so many years, I always say “hopefully” – “Hopefully, he’ll be home for that,” “Hopefully, we will be moving to Ft. X in three months,” etc…My kids don’t even notice it anymore. My family doesn’t understand why we live in “chaos” (their word, not mine), but it’s just military life. Nothing is ever in stone, and I’m always waiting for the phone call, the change in orders, the short-notice TDY, etc. Thank you for reminding me that we are all in this together, and we’re not alone. I am proud to serve in the Silent Ranks. Remember, those who wait also serve!

  14. Helen says:

    Military moms feel the same , maybe not in the same way, but we are holding our breath too .

  15. Jenn,
    Lovely letter. Thank you for spreading the word about real military spouse life!
    Happy writing,
    Siobhan

  16. Alia says:

    Beautifuly written!

  17. beautiful job jenn! Love it! Fellow military wife here & blogger! I’m following! Love your blog!

  18. Kimmno says:

    Well said! As an Army Daughter, former Army (now retired) Wife, and now an Army Mom, I thank you. You put into words what I felt all those years and have felt since December when my Son deployed to Afghanistan. His beautiful new wife has been patiently waiting it out in Alaska and, through all the advice, I never thought to just tell her…exhale! Thank you for reminding me.

  19. carie says:

    And let me tell you right now, you are loved and appreciated sweetpea. I love my Gals. Wives, moms, sisters, aunties, grannies and girlfriends. Y’all are awesome.

  20. Amy B. says:

    Beautifully put! I am an Air Force wife (2 years retired, now!) and I remember many “not wanting to exhale” moments. At times, I still hold my breath when the phone rings. Thank you for writing this. I wish everyone could read it and understand who we are and why we are the way we are. I’ve had so many civilian friends say they don’t know how I do it, I say I do what has to be done, because he’s worth it.

  21. Margaret says:

    Being a Mother of a military wife and a friend of many military wives – I can appreciate all the waiting and waiting all of you do….the doing things alone, moving (sometimes alone) and the separation of friends. But I feel great joy at the wives that develop life lasting friendships, help each other out, and get together to pass some of those lonely hours. The way you help each other, love each other and take care of each other…and then when He gets home you disappear for a week or so until they have had time to catch up.

  22. Renee says:

    I’m from the Northeast also and have been longing for Dunkin Donuts for 10 years now so I smiled at that part :) Thanks for putting into words what military life is really about.

  23. Sarah says:

    Wow! I often try to explain to so many people that most of my life I am waiting… My kids are now learning that lesson, too. Thanks for writing this. We are waiting for deployment number 4 to start, I’ll try to remember to breathe!

  24. Dee says:

    I want to thank you so much. I am one that could not wait any longer after a deployment. I was so angry that my husband would not talk to me or hold me or sometimes even look at me. We were apart for a year and when he came home he needed me to wait longer… Give me time Dee, I just need to reajust. Aug, september, october, november. I was angry that a year seperation was not enough. A pcs move and then… a call on our anniversary to say I no longer want to be married to you. I waited for years and he couldn’t come back to me he decided to go to another. I still wait for the love of my life to return. He was taken from me. His love lost in the sand. I miss him so much. Still waiting on his return.

  25. Please don’t forget to exhale. You are the silent, but are the driving force behind the men who defend my freedom every day. I am so thankful for them and even more for you.

  26. siskinbob says:

    Reblogged this on WrAnTz and commented:
    Although this is US based and US targeted it is just as applicable to the UK or an country where wives and families are waiting for their loved ones to return.

  27. alma2020 says:

    On 4th deployment in 5 yrs……I needed to read this, this morning.
    Thank you!

  28. Michelle says:

    I am a proud new Army spouse and just a year into our marriage I have found this letter to describe EXACTLY what I feel everyday. Thank you for putting it into words so the people who do not live our lives can understand better. And bless you for letting me know I am not the ony one who forgets to breathe.

  29. Ashlee S says:

    Until just recently, my husband worked with your husband. Friday the 27th, my husband exited the army, and I feel I am still waiting to exhale, not knowing what to do or what life will be like on the civilian side of things. I know the lessons I learned as a military wife will stick with me forever. Thank you for giving a voice to how most of us feel or have felt. I know I will miss military life.

  30. libbie tinker says:

    Thank you for putting into words my life. I am a military wife, married 18 years. I thought you were writing about me, it was so real. It was as if you looked inside my heart and wrote it down. It was comforting to know i am not alone in how it has felt saying goodbye and functioning each day. Your talent is very appreciated. God bless.

  31. T says:

    This is perfect! I recently got out of the marine corps and my husband is still in. He was hit by an ied last year in Afghanistan and we struggle with every day tasks. Were only 22 & 23 years old and I think we have gone through more than most people will in their lifetime. Now it’s just waiting to see when he will be getting out which could be anywhere from next month until next year. His jobs keep changing along with his hours so a lot is sacrificed. I wouldn’t change anything for the world because even though it’s tough we help each other through everything.

  32. Molly says:

    We’re quickly approaching yet another year long deployment. My husband flies Apaches in the 101st Airborne. Somedays I can completley convince myself that our life is normal and that I won’t be here fighting to be a good mom, a good business woman, responsible pet and homeowner all alone. When my husband is fighting for our freedom I’m fighting for the normalicy our sons so despretly need. When I feel the panic and anxiety building I always tell myself, breath Molly….just breath and get through this minute, this hour, this day….because sometimes that all I can do. Thank you for reminding me there are many of us and we all need to exhale.

  33. Alice says:

    I have never been where you are but have a great deal of respect and admiration for you and your soldiers. Remember to breathe!

  34. Mindy Bowman says:

    Hi Jenn, I am with Alice in that I have never been in your position. The thought of living a life like yours is so foreign to me. I pray for the day when you and other military wives can breathe a little easier.

  35. Hi Jenn,

    I’m an old Air Force wife turned soldier’s mom. Read your well-written essay. Bravo to you for speaking out. Give me a shout sometime if you’d like to discuss writing.

    Take care and thanks for giving a voice to military wives everywhere.

  36. Julie says:

    We are 1 1/2 years into retirement.. I have lived your words .. oh so many times.. you write so beautifully.. thank you for putting words to the feelings..

  37. Sarah says:

    Very well written! I, too, know exactly what you mean and I am holding my breath with you. I love that you pointed out that it is not inly during deployments that we go through this. My soldier has been home from deployment #3 for 4 months now, and I am still waiting for MY husband to be home. (I bet you know what I mean). Blessings to you!

  38. Sheila McDaniel says:

    This really touched my heart and, even not military. I am military. Mother!!!! So I know what it”s like when I see One of you walk by.I am and my family will be forever grateful******- Sheila McDaniel :For all of you, And my Son USAIRFORCE. Pararescue Msgr.William L.McDaniel *★II

  39. Miley says:

    I have never been able to put into words how it feel in my everyday life, but this says it perfectly. Often I don’t realize in not breathing until I actually exhale. Especially since this last deployment just endes, and every second with my husband is more precious then life itself.

  40. blogbyflogs says:

    You said it perfectly. I am an Air Force wife of 31 years and it’s always all about the waiting.

  41. Bonnie says:

    Wow! Amazing words! I have been married to my Sailor for 10 years now and I feel this way most days. Civilians think that just because they are home, we are ok…but the 12-16 hr shifts are sometimes harder than the deployments. Right before this PCS we did a 6 month deployment, then we moved with 30 days notice. My son, who is 9 (and this is his first deployment that he remembers) told me a few months ago that daddy being gone is easier than daddy working all the time. At least deployments make more sense than these crazy long hours. I try not to watch the news too much because it makes my head spin. Not only am I a military wife, I am a military sister and cousin as well. I just found your blog through my mom on FB and now am going to be an avid follower. Thank you very much! :)

  42. Amanda says:

    Beautiful! I love it! :) We shared it on my page (https://www.facebook.com/MissYourVoiceCarePackages). As an Air Force wife, (and military brat) I can say truthfully that you hit the nail right on the head here. I wouldnt change a think about it! Keep strong lady!

  43. alaskangrl99 says:

    I am a Guard spouse who’s Husband came home nearly a year ago, and I don’t think I have exhaled since he left 2 years ago. Even though we don’t live daily Army life, my husband’s MOS is very active throughout the year (aviation) and they deploy often. Even though I’m not waiting for the call on a Saturday night, I am always waiting on the training schedule, and the schools, and the Federal Missions, and the State Missions, and of course the deployments. My husband’s next deployment isn’t for 16 months, and just last weekend, I realized I am holding my breath for that day.

    Thank you for writing this, it is so hard for most of us to put our thoughts into words that everyone can understand, and you did an amazing job!

  44. amanda says:

    This had me in tears. I am not an army wife, but I have been an army girlfriend for the last 3 years. We have only spent 2 holidays together and have missed every birthday and anniversary because he’s gone. Thank you for putting out there what a lot if us cannot find the words to describe. Thank you for being our voice.

  45. Megan says:

    This is stated perfectly. I have been an army wife for almost eight years now and it is hard to explain to people what military life is like. You summed it up perfectly.

  46. roxiesmomma says:

    This could be written by a wife or husband of any service member!! Thank you ALL for serving our God and our Country! Military members, spouses and children! Your sacrifices are inspiring!

    I’m retired Navy (20 yrs) and my husband is still active duty Navy. We have now both been the dependant, and the member. Our children have sacrificed the most though. Giving up grandparent relationships, best friends torn from their arms, and living so many places they don’t have an answer for “where are you from?” I couldn’t imagine my life without the military, but the sacrifices have been great. Leaving for a 6 month deployment when my oldest was only 6 was the hardest on us and my son and I still have a broken relationship although he’s 18 now. Hold them while you can! You can’t go back in time!

  47. blackwatertown says:

    Powerful thoughts.

  48. TFelgere says:

    As a navy wife currently waiting on travel paperwork for our third PCS in 14 months, this hit home for sure! We all know the “hurry up and wait” motto too well!!! Thanks for putting a voice to what we have to go through. Having to give up our jobs and friends to move so often and then waiting knowing our best friends, our spouses, will be taken for months on end is really tough! Thanks again!

  49. Renee says:

    Everything I want to say, all in a nice, neat, little letter. Thank you!

  50. Kathy says:

    thank you so much for this it made me cry because it is so true!

  51. Alicia says:

    Thank you for putting a voice to that feeling deep down. Some do t understand what we go through or how fast our lives change.

  52. Taryn says:

    I am a former Marine and the wife of an active duty Marine; being the wife is harder. We do wait. And wait. And wait. People say “I’m sorry your spouse is gone… your life must be so hard; so miserable… I couldn’t live like that…”. I always reply “I’m not.” My life is great. Lonely at times, yes. Scary, absolutely. But it has made me realize every moment is fragile. I try not to take my kid’s smiles for granted; it’s one more smile that my husband hasn’t seen. A tear doesn’t go unnoticed; I cry for my kids, my husband, and myself and they cry for me. But we realize the gift we have been given; the gift we have chosen in living the life we do. We know hurt, sadness, and loneliness. But we also know joy, happiness, and most of all love and how fragile life really is. I’m not sorry. I’m proud. I’m proud of my husband, my children, and occasionally I remind myself to be proud of myself too.

    Thank you for saying so much in your letter. And for reminding all of us “silent wives” out there that it’s okay to exhale. We need it!

    Taryn; A Military Wife

  53. Stephanie P says:

    Thank you for this. It’s so true and people really don’t understand what our lives are like. They’re not “our” lives, we belong to the military…

    Excellent letter!!! :)

  54. Darlene Nugent says:

    Truly amazing writing! I particularly loved the DD comment! My hubby’s from Mass and I grew up in Fort Lauderdale, so we are huge DD fans. You nailed it as for “not being from here”…always struggled with fitting in and finding my way, in each new town. We are now a retired family as of last November, but will forever be indebted and bonded to our Ranger/Army family!!

  55. Dee says:

    I haven’t walk in the shoes of a military wife, but I walk in the shoes of a wounded warrior wife and this rings true, even walking this life. We spend countless hours at the VA…waiting, we fill out papers and wait, he has complications with his injuries and we wait…. All the while, we both forget to breathe.
    Thank you for this wonderful post!

  56. I am SO glad you wrote this. This truly is the way of life for us. The moment I started dating my husband in 2010, this letter began for me. Now, 4 1/2 months into our marriage, I am experiencing all of it. We have yet to experience deployment (1 year from now), but we have already experienced so many things you mentioned. We are AF, and it truly is an exciting, intense, and rewarding lifes. I love my hero and definitely could not imagine being anywhere else! I am cherishing every moment. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this!!!

  57. Darlene Nugent says:

    Thank you for putting “my” thoughts into such eloquent words. My hubby’s from Mass and I grew up in Fort Lauderdale, so I totally related to your DD reference. We retired as of 1 November of last year. I say “we” as only you could understand…but will forever be bonded through our trials and tribulations to our Ranger/Army family!! RWLTW!!!

  58. I also wanted to share our story so far. My husband was already starting his nav training in Florida while I was in SC, so our entire courtship was 480 miles apart. I visited him a few times, sometimes driving down on a Friday only having to turn around and drive home on Sunday. I cried every time I left after visiting him or he left after visiting me. It was miserable, but I knew he was the one. I planned our wedding while he finished nav training. He was away at SERE training over Thanksgiving (the month before our wedding), so we spent a holiday apart before we were even married. It was hard. He had parachute water survival, and came home 2 days before our wedding. We got married, went on our honeymoon, celebrated Christmas, then 2 days later moved my stuff to Florida for 5 days then added his stuff and did our first PCS. We did all of that while waiting on the AF to recognize that we were married. I know there will be many more hard moments, but as there already have been, there will also be many more wonderful moments. Sorry, I tried to tell the short version!

    Our spouses are doing something amazing. They have basically written a blank check to America in the amount up to and including their life.

  59. Daryl says:

    Jen,
    I would like to thank you as well from the one deployed… We get so used to living in our boxes and silence to sudden chaos and back to silence; we too breath differently. Your words are key to relationships!

    For you wives, when we come home and seem distant or crave silence; please just remember we have lived in boxes, using boxes for our stuff, and things have been so regimented. The best thing my wife did for me was put a box for my watch, wallet and tags on my night stand. My kids know by now to ratchet the conversations up slowly and a bit quieter to help me be excited with them instead of jumpy at all the chaos (even though we miss this chaos for so long it does take time to get the “feel” of it all back).

    Our families are everything to us as we are to you, please don’t feel that we are ungrateful and that we don’t understand all that you took on in our stead. Just give us a few days or weeks to remember that trash and we probably need a few extra sleeps to re-adjust.

    • Jenn Pineo says:

      Daryl,

      Thank you for you comments. I believe homecoming is a process not a moment. It takes time. As hard as holding my breath is, there is no place else I would rather be. Knowing that allows me to accept all the waiting.

      My blog was not meant as a complaint rather a chance to show America what else there really is to military life. I think in a lot of cases, people just don’t understand. My husband read my blog and said it reminded him what I go through, too. Something that he admittedly sometimes forgets. Having him say that to me, was my moment to breathe.

      In spite of all the waiting, together we’ve got this and I’m proud to be an army wife.

      Stay strong and come home safe.

      Jenn

  60. Briana says:

    I love this. I am an army wife of 4 years to an infantryman. He counts down to the day he can deploy and I fear it. I stand behind him 110% I know this is what he loves and bc I love him I support him we have an 8 month old and expecting #2 in November he told his NCO’s he cannot wait to deploy. Knowing he will leave behind his family knowing he may never see his son walk, talk, play sports or even miss the birth of baby #2. But to him its all worth it at a chance just a chance that he will save his comrades in battle. My mother and siblings sand even some friends do not understand how he could leave us. And I feel like I’m constantly defending my husband. And I can’t but help agree with him as well. I understand where he comes from yet I understand where my family does as well bc I’m the on left behind and now so are my children. They get so upset bc we are suppose to come home yet at the last minute plans change bc so does leave or their is no longer a 4day. He is always in the field or ramges and training training training
    I’m proud so very poison of him and I couldn’t help but cry while reading. I don’t k.own if its from hormones raging.through my pregnant body or what. But it is so accurate! I love this! It should be plastered all over the country!

  61. Trina Plante says:

    Thank you. I am happily married to a soldier. I wouldn’t change it. I have stood on my own, even though most of my husband’s family is military or affiliated with. We have returned home a few times, and I’ve been met with everything from wonder and awe to confusion and misunderstanding. Even my sister-in-law doesn’t understand why I never moved home during our 3 deployments, why I chose to stay in my own place. (Yes, I do say ‘our’ deployments. I went through them too, just in a different way than my soldier.) I made a promise: I would always wait for him. Feeling dormant, like my life was on hold while he was gone, was not something I could easily explain to his family. Celebrating birthdays while he was gone was not a priority, but while he’s home they are a HUGE deal. Making a comment one year about why I wasn’t coming to celebrate Christmas, they were all confused and offended when I said it felt like just another day. Of course I put up a tree, or other holiday decorations, took loads of pictures so that he could see, and hopefully enjoy…but I also knew that it hurt him to not be home, to not be able to hold them when they wanted to cuddle, when they were sick, when they hurt themselves. My children understand waiting as well as I do. Waiting for daddy to come home so he could unwrap his Christmas gifts in the middle of February, waiting so he could take them to see a special movie after work even though he yawned the whole way through, waiting to hear if he’d make it home for dinner to be served before 8 p.m. Yes, the pictures of our goodbyes and hellos have circulated widely thanks to the internet, but the simple truth is that while a picture may be worth a thousand words, a single picture does not tell the whole story.

    Sincerely,
    Caregiver to a Wounded Warrior

  62. amandarinker889 says:

    Thank you for this. It speaks so much to every military wife. I appreciate how you didn’t go into stereotypes and though it made me tear up, it was an upbeat note of approval and notice to the public. Again thank you and God bless you and your family, from one Army spouse to another.

  63. Wendy says:

    Wondeful post! Even though my husband has been out of the military for several years I still remember this feeling….thank you to all the wives and families supporting our soldiers, you are the glue that holds it all together.

  64. Jenn, Blessings on you and your family. I have a number of friends who serve along side you, so I was deeply affected by your post. Words fail but tears flow.

  65. Christene says:

    I could not have expressed this any better. I am no longer a military wife, but for those of us who’s solider went to war you know there is still more going on than is seen, heard, or understood. To my sisters around the world who love a soldier who is training, serving, or recovering from war God Bless you!

  66. Carletta Blake says:

    This literally brought tears to my eyes. I’m in my first deployment currently, and I have a lot of mixed feelings about how I feel. In a way I feel guilty or almost burdensome by talking about it or him so much. Now don’t get me wrong, they’ve never said that to me, but sometimes I know they probably wish I’d find a new topic. And I try to; I try to limit what I say and how often I say it. I’m very lucky that I have a lot of great supportive people in my life, but sometimes I feel like they think I’m consumed by the deployment, waiting on that phone call, letter, package, or email to come. I try to explain what it’s like, that feeling of not knowing and the yearning you have in yourself that never seems to disappear, but unless you’ve been through it you really don’t understand, nor could you. And you are absolutely right, it’s so much more than just this deployment. It’s the entire lifestyle. We live by the standards and rules the Marine Corps mandates. But at the same time, that’s okay, because it means I get to keep this man, who may be one of the most amazing men that I’ve ever met, in my life. And for that I would change nothing. The lonely nights, the not knowing, the constant worrying, and the ever-changing schedule and rotating doors. He, and we, are worth it. And so for that, I will hold my breath as long as I have to. Thank you.

  67. Dana says:

    One more thing we wait for, that so many forget (even us sometimes), is the knock on our doors from the comander telling us our troop is not coming home….. This is not just a deployment fear, for so many it is a daily concern because of our troop’s career feild. This is why so many troops call at lunch and when they are on your way home. Or the call from back home saying someone is getting married, pregnant or ill when we know there is NO WAY we can afford to go back home.
    We miss our troops and our families, but that is the way things are and we form a new “family” with the other wives around us.

  68. Bethany says:

    Thanks for writing this. It brought back memories of my husbands last deployment in the Marines. I completely know what you meant by remembering to exhale. I had random breakdowns at church, work, family vacations (while missing one very important person!), and even in the middle of the produce section of the supermarket… where I had just tried to hold it together for too long and was too afraid to show that I hadn’t heard my husband was safe, etc. I Thank God my husband is home for good now. No one can understand unless they have gone through it. God Bless your family!

  69. Toby says:

    If I could get you to re-title this “military spouse” that would be fantastic. The fact that I’m a man doesn’t mean I “wait” less or “love” less. I’m not alone, but I’m definitely a severe minority. Even more so since I’m not too proud to speak about how it bugs me to read about how hard it must be to be a military wife.
    I agree with everything here, but it’s not just a wife or woman thing.
    Carry on :-).

    • Jenn Pineo says:

      I wrote Letter from a Military Wife simply because I wrote it and I’m a girl. I don’t think you love less, wait less or hurt less. :) I fully believe it covers military loved ones. Moms, dads, children, girlfriends, boyfriends and spouses. I’m sure it’s hard to always hear military wife.

      Jenn

  70. Tiffany says:

    It is so very true. Even when they are home we wait. I’m having a baby in a few weeks, and we are still waiting to see if my husband will be there for the birth, and he’s home! We wait with our friends for their deployments to end. We wait out that year as our families hold theirs up, our grocery bills double becase the size of our “family” has suddenly doubled. As we sit with their children at night so they can take another child to the ER. And we do it all cheerfully and willingly because we know. We know just what it feels like to wait and be alone. And it will be our turn next. To be alone and live with the fear of the unknown. To not know when or if our husband is coming home. I do believe it makes us more compassionate though when we let experiences of military life shape us for the better. For all the hardships its a good life.

  71. Lyn Lewis says:

    Brought tears to my eyes and memories to my heart. I would gladly trade being a military widow for being a military wife and everything it entailed. I miss him so much and our military life which I loved and was so proud of. For many years after his death I kept pretending he was on TDY and I kept waiting to exhale…

  72. Someone's Grandma....... says:

    I am not a military wife, nor have I ever really had much interaction with anyone in the service of our country till a few years ago. My daughter enlisted. And now, she is married to a Marine. After reading your letter I realize that there is a complexity to your life that is absent in mine. I believe that the strength of our Military not only comes from those who serve, but also from the loved ones, family, and friends that support them. May God give you strength along with his love.

  73. Heather says:

    Having just pcs’d for the first time with my husband, overseas no less, your words hit home. All this after just ending a deployment, which caused us to bump up the date of our wedding. Not only do we miss our spouse sometimes, but the lifestyle sometimes causes us to miss our entire families, friends, jobs, etc. All of this said, I wouldn’t trade being my husband’s wife for anything in the world. We call our life together “our adventure” because really, what else can you call it? Thank you for writing this!

  74. Thank you!!! This was so well put. It literally braught tears to my eyes. We’re pretty new to military life. It feels good to have someone put into words what we’re still figuring out how to do. I find myself saying I don’t know a lot when our familys ask about our plans for holidays and leave. One even said “you don’t really like planning do you?”. Me: “No, it’s just that we can’t really plan…” I love my husband for the person that he is and wouldn’t trade our hectic lives. We made this decision as a family because we believe it’s important.

  75. Trish says:

    That was soooooooo beautiful…… I hear your very sense of words. Three deployments we have experienced and it isn’t easy.

    The other day my children and I went to dinner. We were feeling very sad that my husband, their father was gone; so we figured let’s go to dads favorite restaurant. We had a very nice meal, talked about my hubby and laughed. We had the funniest guests sitting next to us asking were my husband was and I quietly said, ” he is deployed.” The lady thanked me. it felt good to be thanked for our sacrifices. We all smiled! We asked for the check and find out they paid our 70$ Japenese dinner bill. I stood up cried, hugged her, thanked the husband and thought in my mind that I’m not alone. God sent those people there cause he knew I needed inspiration. I couldn’t believe it. There are some thankful wonderful people in the world. I wish I wasn’t so stunned I would have asked for their names. I’d love to send them a thank you card.

  76. catnewleaf says:

    Tears in my eyes. In the middle of a deployment now and this hit home tonight. Thank you for sharing this!

  77. Vivus in Christo! says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful letter! My husband is no longer in the military, but I will never forget his last deployment (the first I had experienced). I found myself living for the next letter or the (all too brief) phone call and his homecoming… It seemed like the time of his return flight changed by the hour that day and when his plane finally landed, I met a man I barely recognized. He’d changed SO much… I’ve never experienced the life of a true “Army wife,” but my heart is there with you and with all of our military families. You will be in my prayers and when I see you, I will remind you to breathe. =)

  78. Thank you so much for sharing!

  79. Momof3 says:

    I’m not an army wife nor do I pretend to understand what ur going through but after reading ur letter and every comment on this page it made me cry. All I can really say is thank you.

  80. sandie says:

    This sounds exactly like me right down to my northeast accent and longing for Dunkin Donuts. Last time hubby was on TDY, he brought me back some k-cups for the Keurig which help a bit but they’re not the same. If you’re like me, you have a problem with the question “Where are you from?” When someone looks at you and tilts their head, because you speak a little differently. It’s like they’re skeptical of you. I never know how to answer that question. To me, home is where my family is. But technically, I’m not “from” here. I could write you a book about where I’m “from.” Sure, I was born in New Jersey, but each and every place I’ve lived has contributed to who I am. A little part of me is “from” them all.

    • Sarah says:

      Everytime someone asks me where I’m from I just laugh a little. I grew up in tne Air Force, joined the Navy and then married Army. I’ve got about ten places I’m “from”.

  81. Cassie says:

    Wow I didn’t realize I was doing this until I read it. Thank you for reminding me to breath. Thank you for putting it so beautifully.

  82. Tracy says:

    I have seen people posting it but have never had the time to stop and read it. I read it today and it has brought tears to my eyes and reminds me that I don’t think I’ve ever started breathing again since my first deployment with my husband and with our third deloyment coming up I’ll have to pull this up to remind myself to breath again. Thank you for writing this, because I know so many military wives will greatly appreciate it a lot.

  83. I could not help but following every single word of your letter…while one word finished the other came in more and more powerful and I realised I read your post without being able to breath…

    I am not in the US and I do not see you on TV, on your goodbyes or your welcome home moments…but be certain of it : your courage, persistence and dedication, your selflessness and strength are what makes you worth admiring and looking up to as human beings, as women and as wives.
    Many use the Penelope parallel for the faithful and patient waiting for the homecoming… only Penelope is a story of wars fought long ago, while you are part of history… Breath and breath freely, with your heads high and your eyes wide open because not only you do have what it takes to be examples of commitment and companions, but you also are waiting and ready to give the battle once your loved ones are back in order to support them… you carry the whole baggage with the most respectable and honorable way!
    YOU are what makes your husband fight and have hope, you are the core of the family values, YOU are NOT the silent Ranks… you are a silent scream of perseverance, courage, devotion and strength. Breathe, breathe freely and stay firm, for if it were not for women like you, there would not have been men like them. You are all military wives but each of you, is in her own right, a unique and special hero!

  84. Lisa White says:

    You are so rght. The only ones who truly know us are our husbands and our fellow military wives. Outsiders have no idea what it is like to live in our shoes. And it’s not all bad either! Yes, there is a lot of waiting and holding our breath, but there are some amazing things about being a military wife too. We are given a life in which we have no choice but to grow stronger. We are challenged to face difficulty but receive amazing rewards as a result. Others may feel bad for us for all we have to go through, but I say it is a blessing for us all!

  85. Mee says:

    Thank you.

  86. amy says:

    How is that different than what civilians go through? My husband has to work weekends..gets called in at the last minute….gets only 5 days of vaction a year…no 4 days…has to leave to go to other countries for month at a time and cant call…..i have to deal with everything by myself because his job transfered us and we are not close to family…oh..he chose this job?? So did your husband…btw..we are both veferans.

    • Jenn Pineo says:

      Maybe the difference isn’t in our husbands jobs but rather our attitudes about them.

      My husband did choose this job and that’s a fact that I’m beyond words proud of. I didn’t write this blog to complain. I simply wanted civilians to understand. You see, I wouldn’t change my life for anything. The amazing response I’ve had to my blog leads me to believe others feel the same way.

      Jenn

    • Karla Kinter says:

      Seriously? Maybe the difference is the paycheck? Maybe he isn’t getting shot at? Does he have to worry about IED’s? Where does he stay overseas…a hotel with the comforts of home? Has he ever missed the birth of his children because he was AT WAR???? As for my husband…Army wife is an honor…we willingly sacrifice for our country….do you? Sleep well tonight…my soldier’s got your back.

  87. Samantha says:

    Thank you for giving words to something that is so ineffable.

  88. Fran fine says:

    Jenn
    Written so beautifully. Bravo to you and all the military wives who have the amazing ability to hold their families together during difficult deployments when you are called upon to wear so many different hats. And do so without complaint and with great pride.
    I am not and have never been a military wife, however, I do come from a military family with a father who proudly served for 28 years. Also brothers who have served. I do recall the goodbyes(especially with daddy) the waiting for some contact to know they are still safe ( during my fathers deployments there was not the technology we have today). And yes in more recent years the deployment and homecoming ceremonies of brothers. So as a military wife I cannot imagine but as a member of a big military family I can.
    I for one am so thankful to all who serve, to include the spouses, and children. As they serve as well…. At home.
    I am also extremely thankful that our country is remembering the great sacrifices being made by our military.
    My heart smiles every time I see someone shake the hand, applaud, and thank our soldiers for their service.
    Now if I may, I would like to applaud you, thank you and say good job to you and all military wives.
    Thank you for sharing and next time I cross paths with a military wife I will know exactly what to say to her. Exhale……

  89. sarahwebb218 says:

    This post is amazing:) I am an air force wife and i agree with this post 125% :)

  90. Inspiring journey of life, may be useful

  91. Debbie says:

    I have great respect for the spouses of those in the military. They give up so much just like the one who is in the military. They ought to be given medals for hanging in there and holding down the home front while the military person is doing their job. It is quite the sacrifice. I know there are a lot of military people whose spouses don’t stick with them and that is why I think the world of those who do. A great big thank you to those who stand behInd our military. From a mom of an Air Force son!!!!

  92. Steve Graves says:

    I have to show my appreciation to all you who keep the home fires burning while we were away. Although I have been retired for 18 years, I still am amazed and thankful for my military wife and all she did for our family.

  93. Jackie says:

    Thank you for saying what I’ve never been able to put to words…I’ve been married to a soldier for 21 years, our family is 6 months into a deployment to Afghanistan and reading your words brought me to tears. You totally “get” this life and I appreciate your ability to verbalize what’s really the hardest thing about it….I shared this on my Facebook page and the feedback from my friends was amazing. You really struck a chord for a lot of us.

  94. sexyarmywife says:

    Proud Army wife of my soldier,hero, husband and father!!!
    I am Army strong! Each and everyday makes me test that strength, and yes it is still there.

    PRiCELESS!!

    I will be following you! Thnx:))

  95. mrsperez says:

    Amen girl. Ita not all about deployments like people think. It’s so much more. It’s PCS parties, missing special events because of staff duty, washing PTs and ACUs late at night. its being independent and reliant at the same time. Giving up your plans for his career. but its also having pride in your husband and what he is doing. Representing your family and country. And having a stronger bond than many families because you know what sacrifice is, and you know its worth it. I’m not an army wife. I’m a Morris Perez wife. And I need to learn to exhale too.

  96. Betty Hinote says:

    My husband has been retired from the Army since 1986, but all of it still remains. When he is not home, I still find myself listening for that phone call. I know those that after their husbands retired, they moved on like they were never in the military, but I am still an Army mans wife. We wives have to be mother and father so much of the time. We hold the family together in good times, as well as the bad. You have to be someone special (and I am not saying that because I was an army wife, but because it is true) to be a real military wife. You have to be storng and independent. I never knew how strong and independent that I really was. Other army wifes become your sisters, and their children become like your children. You become families and you are there for one another. Of course you had those that were not like that, and they made it hard on themselves. Any place we ever lived, if my husband was gone on some mission, the unit he was in, would pitch in and help me if my kids or myself got sick. I had wives ask me why they did that, that they would not help them. Attitude was what their problem was. They were constantly complaining. Their husband wasn’t home by 5 p.m. and they wanted to go dancing or to a movie with friends, and maybe they wanted him to babysit. So poor things they missed out. They were not complaining because they missed out on a night with their husband, they were complaining because they missed out on the free babysitter, who was their husband. So of course, the Unit didn’t like their complaints too awful much. Neither did I. A true Army wife, didn’t have those kind of complaints. You were proud of your husband (wife) and supported them. You were proud they were serving our country. And you did what you could to help by supporting them. If he did make it home, you just took your children to a movie. Cartoon of course. Anytime you spend time with your children, you are not missing out. I still admire all true Military wives out there. Proud of each of you for giving your time for our country. Proud of your children for giving their time to our country. It is a family contribution. Love and prayers to each and everyone of you.

    I enjoyed reading your letter. Thanks for sharing.

  97. Melanie Layman says:

    You said it. After my husband left the Army over one year ago, I’m still waiting for then to call him back. It never really ends. Once a military family, always a military family. Thanks to open those who don’t life its eyes.

  98. [...] (source: https://jennpineo.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/letter-from-a-military-wife/) [...]

  99. Hollie D. says:

    This is so true!! I love this, thank you for posting.

  100. Thank you for sharing your story. I encourage you to pray continuously to let God bear the weight and help you breath easy.

    Philippians 4:6-8

    Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.

  101. Debi Teter says:

    Wonderful words. I’d like to add that as a brat, I had these feelings, too, although I know spouses feel so much more anxiety than the kids. We also wait a lot, but thankfully have amazing parents who help shield us from the brunt of the worry. Waiting for moves, waiting on a parent to return, waiting to get excited about school because you know you’ll be leaving it before the end of the year. It’s tough but made me stronger. I’ve always admired my mom and other spouses for what they take on being married to the military. Bless all of you!

  102. lelefia says:

    My husband has been in the Navy for 16+ years. 8 of those was with special warfare so there was a lot of “I’ll be back, but I can’t tell you when or where I’m going” I don’t typically get sentimental about being a “military” wife, I know what I signed up for. But when you started talking about being silent because we’re holding our breaths you really hit home. This whole letter is amazing, but those few sentences about being afraid to exhale said so much. You put into words what so many of us feel every time they leave.
    Thank You.
    Proud wife to a Navy SeaBee

  103. [...] would be appropriate to share this "Letter From A Military Wife" by Jenn Pineo with you today.  As a military spouse myself, I can tell you that military [...]

  104. Karla Kinter says:

    I’ve been an Army wife 22 years and counting…this is the best thing I’ve ever read. And thanks, I took a breath and I am going to post a reminder on my bathroom mirror. I love this life and wouldn’t ever want to do anything else! Hooah!

  105. Chloe Mignosa-Boyd says:

    I have a granddaughter who is an Army wife. She is a super hero in my eyes. She has four children and two with learning disabilities and special needs, yet, she manages to take care of everything and manages to have her babies without her hubby being there and has numerous surgeries and medical problems without her hubby being present. You all are amazing men and women and we civilians are very proud that we have such super heros watching over us and our good old USA.

  106. My husband has deployed 5 times. Each time becomes more difficult than the time before. He’s missed pregnancies & births of our children. He’s missed holidays & family events. We learn to lead a life without him, heartbreaking as that sounds.
    I used to get frustrated when people would say, “Please thank your husband for his service”. I wanted to say, “but what about me & our kids? I’m a single mother raising 3 kids alone, trying to smile away the pain of what if he doesn’t come home alive? All the while, reassuring our kids that dad will be home soon”.
    But, I no longer get frustrated because I’m so proud of my husband & what he does for our country & it’s service members. He cares for the wounded & the dying. I care for our children & our home. I’m also very proud of what I do. These are our jobs & I’m grateful for them!
    I love this letter & the emotions we military spouses feel! Thank you for writing your letter & sharing it! I promise to exhale every now & then!

  107. [...] is a military wife and aspiring author. She wrote the Letter from a Military Wife and many other beautiful pieces about her experience as an Army wife. She went through [...]

  108. Dante Gary says:

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

  109. Rachel K says:

    Great read! I LOL’d (literally) at the part about looking for a Dunkin’ Donuts! :) (Lawton used to have one, several years ago. Then it turned into a Starbucks!) Keep writing! <3

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