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Most hospitals have a certain smell to them. I think it’s a combination of bleach, sweat, blood, and tears.

Did you know that the sense of smell is the strongest of the five senses connected to memory? Maybe as I walk through the hospital I’m reminded of my own personal and frequent time spent in the hospital as a child, then later in life due to procedures related to my endometriosis and as a mother giving birth.

Today, was not about me though. It was about a family member who had cancer removed from his body. A family member who was given that ugly diagnosis of cancer several months earlier.

Let’s rewind to when our family first heard about my father’s prostrate cancer.

I was with my sister,—a fellow military spouse—and our combined five children. It was a weird emotion to process. I don’t even think I cried. It’s almost like I couldn’t. I didn’t have time to truly process the full impact of the information I was receiving because I had to stay strong for my children.

We were only two months into our deployment at this moment in time.

Present day: As I got in the car with my daughter I thought, “Wow, life doesn’t stop just because your husband is deployed.”

I began to bawl.

I asked other more seasoned military spouses what they endured during a deployment. They stated: Miscarriages, suicide attempts by family members, dying parents, and the death of a loved one.

We are not talking about Murphy’s Law here; we’re talking about heavy heart emotional things to endure while your spouse is deployed.

Most of the time these spouses also had children at home and were maintaining a household.

If you’re reading this and thinking about everything that heavy on your heart right now know, you aren’t alone! There’s someone else out there who also has a heavy heart and needs a shoulder to cry on. You’ll never know if they’re out there unless you open up and talk to those around you. Yes, sharing personal information can be difficult, but it can also be therapeutic.

If your heart is heavy, I challenge you to do the following:

  • Tell one person what’s going on in your life.
  • Get involved with like-minded individuals
  • Cry, cry, and cry again. It’s okay to be human and let this stuff out.
  • Do something just for you. Your child’s mental health depends on your mental health.

Now, here we are on the other side of cancer. Chugging along through deployment. All while raising two small humans and managing a home remodel project (why did I think that was a good idea to spend deployment money on? I should have taken a vacation).

We’re here because time didn’t stop. Even though for a few moments we wanted it to.

We wanted everything to stop so we could fully process our emotions. We wanted time go back, to fast forward, to do exactly what time is not capable of doing. Always remember time cannot change. Only you can control the outcome of your physical state.


1 Comment

  1. Andrea Gustafson

    Very well written! I think this is so true for all families and loved ones. Thank you Justine!


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The Days Are Long as a Milspouse

The Days Are Long as a Milspouse

If you’ve read any of my blog submissions on Mission Milspouse lately, you’ll likely see a pattern where I have been mostly writing about what I’ve learned being a military spouse for the past twenty years but in presented in slightly different ways. In addition to...

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