You Never Know

What Whe Wore: Blue jeans (complete with elastic panel); white, LSU t-shirt; purple LSU sweat shirt; purple and grey slip-on tennis shoes.

This week some old friends were passing through the area, and the Hub and I got to visit with them on Tuesday night and Friday night.  Old friends are wonderful. . . they knew you when, and you can pick up like nothing left off. 
The Hub and Mark go way back.  They were in the same ROTC class in college.  They spent five years jockeying between the number one and number two spots in their class.  They took the lead roles in their ROTC class, made the grades, and aced their physical fitness tests–all this to earn a coveted pilot slot.   
In the Spring of 2001 they were both awarded with their dream assignments–my husband was going to a feeder program for fighter pilots, and Mark was awarded a pilot slot where he hoped to pursue a career as a C-130 pilot.   A year later, Hub and I married, Mark and his wife married, and we prepared for our lives in the Air Force. 
The final step before reporting to pilot training is a full-course physical in San Antonio.  There it was discovered that my husband had a minor heart defect.  While not life-threatening, it immediately disqualified him from pilot training.  Five years of hard work down the drain.  Our grief was palpable–everything that had seemed so certain was gone.  If you can work that hard and still have your dream ripped from you, then what faith could you have in anything?  I feared for everything–my husband’s heart, or marriage, and this brand-new life we were embarking upon.  What would happen to us?  I would put on my best face during the day, but I would lock myself in the bathroom at night and cry. 
During this time, Mark and his wife were also in town for the very same physical.  Mark passed with flying colors.  We met up with them for dinner, and I could tell that our loss had affected them also.  There was a grief there–of dreams that had been lost, and of a shared future that would never be.  That was almost five years ago, and it was the last time I saw Mark or his wife. 
Mark called on Tuesday to announce that he and his wife were in town looking for a house–they’ll be stationed here this coming June.   We immediately invited them over to our house for dinner.  We spent the evening reliving our "glory days," talking about house-hunting, and sharing stories about what we’d been up to for the last four and a half years. 
When they left on Tuesday night I thought wistfully about how well their dreams had gone.  Mark is in the top of his class, has tons of flying hours, and had a good assignment in Texas where he never had to deploy.  I wasn’t jealous of their life, but that things had gone just the way they expected–there were no bumps in their road. 
We met again on Friday night for a dinner out, and more of the same–laughing, sharing, and and story-telling.  In the middle of all this merriment, Mark mentioned that his father had passed away in a freak fishing accident in the winter of 2004.  The Hub and I had no idea.  As Mark relayed how this accident had affected his entire family, I grieved for him and his loss.  Losing a family member suddenly and without warning must be so difficult. 
On the way home, I realized how I had glamorized Mark’s life.  Yes, he had worked hard and achieved his dreams, but his life has not been a breeze.  No one’s life is a breeze.  For every person you know, they will have their own dose of sadness and disappointment.  No one is immune, and we’re fooling ourselves if we think otherwise.

About takedeux

In one summer I had a baby who was hospitalized for five weeks, quit my job, and moved back to my hometown. This blog is about starting over.
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14 Responses to You Never Know

  1. Leah says:

    One thing that strikes me again and again is the completely different experiences two similar people can have in the military. My husband, his best friend and I were (and they still are) in the military. His best friend has loved his experience, has the job of his dreams and just reupped for 5. My husband has been nothing more than a flight deck janitor who\’s worked 12 hour days and been deployed about 75% of his enlistment. I left the military with not simply a bad taste but vomit in my mouth. The environment tends to exacerbate the experience, but this just reminds me once more I can\’t let the military or anything else own my experience in life. (This comment is essentially a note to self: hubby returns in a week from his 10th month of deployment in the last 15…must keep chin up). Bumps build character, anyway. Seems like if we don\’t get them on the outside (like the loss of a career) we get them on the inside (loss of a family member).

  2. Becca says:

    Isn\’t is amazing how we can picture people\’s lives from what we imagine from either words on a page or a picture, but you really never get the full on visual of reality. It sure does make us focus on the circle of importance that are those that we love. Does that make sense? You never really know the lives others live, even when they appear so perfect on first appearance, they could be anything but. When I left my marriage, there were people who were oblivious to the abuse until they were reminded about certain things and then were like, "oh yeah, I remember that now, but man, I didn\’t want to say think that was you…"..perception goes a long way towards reality.

  3. Jaysey says:

    Good entry–we do tend to glamorize others\’ lives, which makes us feel bad about our own.  Why do we want to feel bad about our own?

  4. Unknown says:

    Glad to hear you got to visit with some old friends.  That\’s so much fun!  And you\’re right – no one\’s life is "perfect".  In fact, everyone\’s lives are usually pretty messy.  Some are just better at covering it up than others.  God bless 🙂

  5. Jaysey says:

    I picked it up.  I haven\’t started it yet because right now I\’m in the middle of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, which is really good if you\’re interested. 

  6. KENT says:

    Thanks for the "read".  It hit home…with life and it\’s challanges.  One thing I might add, is that as we work through these events that we all have…we learn and grow and mature.  It\’s part of the challange and meaning of life, it makes us what we are.  🙂  Kent

  7. Hilary says:

    This was an excellent post, but I\’m actually very excited that you love polka dots!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE polka dots.  I have several polka dot shirts right now, I\’m glad its a trend.  I\’ve been catching up and your post about the crib was so funny.  Just when you think you\’re fully prepared to have kids, something reminds you that its not always in our control! 🙂

  8. Hollie says:

    You are certainly correct none are immune to the realites of life…yes some get to meet thier dreams but face real hardships along the way –doesnt dismiss where they are at, but you can feel for there pain still the same, makes me think we are more the same then different, eh.

  9. KEL says:

    How odd to read your post this morning when my weekend was spent feeling so "unglamorized" and "behind the power curve."  Its interesting how when things are going our way we see the similarities in our lives in those around us yet we often forget those same people are just like us when times get rough and they too have those moments. ~K

  10. Nadine says:

     So right!! You just never know. We all have our crosses to bear….some are heavier than other but a burden just the same.

  11. Sarah says:

    Isn\’t it funny how when you stop to think about it and really delve into things, everyone has their problems. They may not be visual to everyone on the surface, but they\’re always there.

  12. Stacy says:

    What a powerful story to let all of know that no one is perfect, if even in our eyes.  Thank you.

  13. Nora says:

    I get caught up in that also, I often overglamorize other peoples lives, assuming mine has more problems.  Lately I have found that is a poor way to think and leads to trouble, it\’s great you realized that.  I am sorry about your dieting woes, that bites.  I don\’t know if you eat more when you are stressed but maybe some yoga or something would help you relax and eat less.  I had some pregnancy yoga tapes when I was pregnant that I thought were wonderful.  Plust they made me feel like I was helping my body prepare for childbirth. Not that I should give diet advice, I weigh far too much!

  14. Gina says:

    I think everyone glamorizes someone\’s life at one point or another.   It\’s understandable, especially in your case when your friends are close in age, and had the same goals as you and your husband.   Your post today is a good reminder when we start thinking the grass is greener on the other side… 

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