Divorce Warriors: A Veteran’s Story
Stories of Divorce Survival From Real People
Editor’s Note: This year, Modern Law began offering a scholarship to people who have survived divorce. We asked applicants to tell us in an essay how divorce had made them better or stronger. This series is the result of the stories we received. We’ve changed names and locations when appropriate.
The Veteran’s Story
After years of trying to break away, I went to the one place on earth that I could not be followed: Kandahar, Afghanistan.
With a goal in mind of doing my job and setting myself up for a future of just myself and children, I spent a year happier in a war zone than I had been in the last 10 years in the United States. By all means my year was not easy, in fact by the time my year was up I had been shot at, surprised by more than one IED blast, could spot a suicide vest from across the street, and knew enough Arabic to get by safely.
It was all better than the thought of staying home one more day, and I would do it all over again if I had to. However, as with anything bad in life there is always something positive to take away if we only take the time to look. I learned a lot about myself that year. Turns out I am stronger than most people think I am.
Being quiet is a gift and I am proud of it now, as I should have been all along. Being smart, strong, and willing to stand up for who I am and what I believe in makes me a good person. It also makes me a good leader, and a good mother. Today I am still healing from injuries that were inflicted while overseas, some of them seen, some of them unseen. It’s true that a few of them have to do with my divorce, but the few that do happened with my children while I was deployed.
Slowly, day by day, my family is healing. We will be okay. We still have days where my youngest son comes into my room and makes sure that it’s really me because his birth father (who has no rights to him now) told him that I was killed in action.
I reassure him that I am home to stay, and put him back to bed. Almost five years later, we have much less of this. Last week my husband adopted my children. It was a big step for all five of us in a lot of ways. The children are glad that they “belong” to someone who loves them and wants them, even though they did before the adoption.
This was a way of closing a book and putting the bad behind them. For my husband it was a way of showing them, and me, that he was here to stay, that he really means the words he is saying. His actions are not just hollow words, but he’s proven that he’ll back them up with actions if needed.
For me it is a chance to rebuild a true family home for my children, and show them that there is always hope. You just have to believe and never lose faith. I have often told them that, and this what got me home from Afghanistan.