Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Last Innocence.

As my birthday draws near, I find myself reflecting on the past decade of my existence, or at least trying to do so. I am leaving my 20s having been several if not a dozen different versions of myself, the last five years bringing the most formative changes to my life and myself. It doesn’t weird me out that I’m entering my third decade because age is just a number and I don’t look a day older than 22 on my most dressed-up, perfect makeup day. It also helps that I still insist on comic hero t-shirts and shorts.
But overshadowing what should be a great time of inspiration and documentation of a decade well lived is that this time last year was “the last innocence” for every entity in my life. Aaron and I were still trying to figure out how to be married on deployment, I was getting ready to start college again after a five year break, hanging out with my battle buddies and my dogs- just basically not doing anything particularly special, but it was a good life. I knew that Aaron and I would work everything out and come out stronger for it. We had been married for just over a year; what did we really know?

But oh,
if I knew then what I know now. I wish I didn’t know the things I do. I’d give anything for it all to be taken back to where it came from (most likely a particular layer of hell). I had experienced certain things, of course, that had stripped me of any feelings of sunshine and roses I was going to have about certain aspects of humanity. My marriage, though, was untouched. It was mine and Aaron’s to grow, feed, nurture, and protect. He was and still is the sweetest man I’ve ever known. It’s one reason I was so angry he had to go through nearly dying and losing so many body parts. He didn’t deserve it (does anyone deserve this?!) and it wasn’t fair it was him. I mean, it shouldn’t be anyone at all.

I think about last summer and how little I knew about life and the military. I know for a lot of soldiers and their families Aaron was the first very seriously injured soldier in any unit they’d served in to end up this way. The notification, the FRG email- the whole unit was shaken to its core. Everything we thought about what could happen when there’s a WIA was stripped and all we were left with were questions. No matter what, though, I will always be glad it was the 760th Aaron was injured with. They couldn’t have done more or been kinder, even though everyone else had something to deal with, too. No one came out unscathed.
I just- I don’t know, I’m still just a little sad about it all. It’s fine, Aaron and I are doing great even if recovery is taking longer than either of us ever could have dreamed it would (please make it stop), but I can’t help but just be sad about what we had to lose to get to where we are. This time last year, we didn’t know anything. Aaron knew more because he’d been an EOD tech for over a decade, but he’d been alright. He adjusted well and carried his burdens in such a way that it did not affect me. But our marriage, our love for each other, our very dreams were untouched.

Especially our dreams.

We could still plan stupid things, like what he would re-enlist for (the ability to move from Fort Drum was the big frontrunner). We talked about Washington state, Savannah, Georgia, and even Colorado. We talked about children and my education. Silly, stupid plans. I might not be the most outwardly religious person, but I do often think of the line, “When you have plans, God says, ‘What plans.’”

So there it is. I would like to think that I will sit down sometime before I turn 30 and write about the past 10 years, but right now I think about how just a year ago everything was okay, and how so quickly it wasn’t. I do look forward to the day we will have spent more time married with his injuries and this new life than without it. I just want to keep moving on. 

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