“You guys get it,” he says.
“My friends, who don’t have anyone in the Army, they don’t get it! They want to talk about work. About their car troubles. They have no idea what we’re going through, not seeing our son for a month, and hardly ever talking to him. We’re usually very close with these friends, but right now, it’s like we’re on a different planet.”
I do get it.
Although our sons are in very different roles, and we have actually been able to see our son a few times, and hear from him often, that could change at any second.
I get it.
As with any life-changing event, it’s much easier to share with someone who’s walked in your shoes.
I have a relative who lost a baby to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome many years ago. He and his wife have counseled many others who experienced the same devastating loss. Because they get it.
Having a child in the army is not a loss, but it means living at the same time with radiant pride that he or she is helping preserve our nation and our people; and at the same time living with the blackest clouds of “what if….”
Those friends talking about their engine trouble and their boss don’t get it. But they’re trying.
They’re trying to keep a connection. And maybe by talking about the mundane they are hoping to help you momentarily escape back to the life you had a few weeks ago. The life without those dark clouds and sleepless nights.
If you’re on the giving end of those conversations, maybe just ask your friend: “what can I do to be there for you?”
If you’re on the receiving end, keep in mind that your friends are trying to connect with you, and even though they might be on another planet, their reaching out is a way of saying that they love you and want you to know that they care.
Because on some level, they do get it.