We probably all know someone who has served or who currently serves in the military.
But it never hit so close to home until my brother joined the army in January 2019. He completed basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia that same spring then deployed overseas this past September. We are anxiously awaiting his arrival back home. Although we expected him to return in April, the borders closed due to the pandemic – before he could make it home.
While most siblings fight and argue over almost anything, deep down you know that you love your brother or sister. However, I never thought I would miss my brother this much. When he FaceTimes in the middle of my work day, I can’t help but answer because I don’t know why he’s calling. I always feel a sense of relief when he contacts me because I know he’s OK. The sibling bond grows deeper, and it’s something that you just can’t explain.
We still argue, but that’s just because as his big sister, I need to tell him what to do.
I never knew how much it would hurt when my brother squeezed me so tightly before he left as I sobbed and he held back tears. I never knew how much it would hurt to hear him say “I’ve gotta go on a mission. Love you!” over FaceTime. I never knew how much seeing those military coming home videos would make me a complete pile of mush and make my heart drop to the floor because I don’t know when he’ll return home.
The really awful part is that, even when he does return, we won’t get that “running through the airport” moment because he will have to self-quarantine in his barracks due to the pandemic.
I’ve learned to appreciate the holidays more than ever and feel majorly offended if people say negative things about the military. I can’t even listen to the National Anthem or certain songs that have lyrics about the soldiers who didn’t make it home without crying. My appreciation for the men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day looks so vastly different now.
My brother’s service taught me to feel grateful for the little things, too.
I appreciate the roof over my head and a warm bed every night. I love that I can choose what I want to eat (and don’t need to ration food). What’s more, I know that it’s not as hot as I think it is here compared to where my brother serves overseas. I can’t explain the gut-wrenching feeling I experience when I think about the fact that he may not come back. I pray so hard that the Lord protects him physically and mentally.
When your brother or any family member serves in the military, you learn and feel so many things.
While it’s hard to go months on end without seeing someone you love, I think the hardest part is all of the uncertainty that comes with serving our country in such an important way.
On this Memorial Day, I’m very proud of my brother and miss him so very much.
I know that waiting for his return will never get easier, but I just have to trust that he will eventually come back to us. Love ya, bud. Come home soon!