Life in the military is full of stories.
Survival. Courage. Homecomings.
Often, the side most widely celebrated online is the side everyone wants to see — soldiers in uniform popping out of boxes and walking onto stages. Hugs, kisses, music, laughing through tears. A story of a soldier’s homecoming can be inspirational and heartwarming, but even more inspirational are the hidden moments that nobody sees.
Nobody records the quiet years spent waiting, hoping and praying before those soldiers finally come home.
A military wife named Alex Chrisco recently wrote a heartbreaking description of those very moments, highlighting the side of military life that few get the opportunity to witness.
“People don’t see this side,” she began, writing the message on Facebook accompanied by a sweet photo of herself and her husband, who is in the Marine Corps. The young military bride began by showcasing the stress of a soldier’s last morning at home before leaving for an assignment.
“You’re up an hour earlier than he is on the day he leaves. You wake up because your mind is racing. Did we get everything in order?” she wrote.
She continued to describe how military wives are left alone to deal with household maintenance, car trouble, bills, chores and other responsibilities that pale in comparison to the worst task imaginable: letting go of the men they love.
“You’re laying in bed mindlessly scrolling through apps on your phone because your real focus is listening to him breathe (or snore). It’s annoying now but you know you’ll miss it,” Chrisco wrote. “And right now, he’s here. In a few weeks you’ll probably be crying remembering this moment, wishing you had held him just a little bit longer.”
“People don’t see this side. They don’t see the gear laid out in your living room. They don’t know how rough his cammies feel during that last hug.
“They don’t know how exhausting the wait is, the countdown to the final hour; they don’t see how hard you try to keep it together, how much you try to not let your voice shake when you say ‘I love you, see you later.'”
The post paints a raw picture of what truly happens behind the scenes. While soldiers are sometimes called to sacrifice everything for the country they serve, their families are asked to give up months of memories and moments. Choosing to stand behind a soldier can often feel like choosing to stand alone. However, no woman brave enough to make the sacrifices has to be alone.
Chrisco’s post quickly went viral, with dozens of comments pouring in to offer support and encouragement. The military community rallied close around her, reminding her that they were there.
The marine’s wife was surprised that her message had hit home for so many people.
“I was shocked that my post got such an overwhelming response, but I’m grateful the message is being shared,” Chrisco told The Western Journal.
“Seeing the responses this post has gotten from other spouses reminded me of how unique and special our community is: no matter what you are going through, there is another person who is experiencing the same thing.”
When asked what advice she would give to others struggling with the same emotions and experiences, she said, “I would tell them to continue living their life. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that your life does not have to stop because your husband is away.”
“You are allowed to go on your own adventures,” she added.
Chrisco ended her post with a final message about the little moments spent preparing to let a soldier go. “People don’t see this side,” she wrote. “They see the homecoming videos and the cute pics, but they don’t see the times where you’re looking at your husband for no reason, because you know the next time he leaves, you’ll be wishing you had stolen just one more glance.”
The next time you find yourself in conversation with a military wife, be sure to thank her for all she does, and all she has chosen to sacrifice.
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