To you, the man weighed down by childhood and combat trauma . . . the man in whom I invested 7 years . . . the father of my children:
I see you fighting a war that did not end for you even after you exited the military.
I fought alongside you for your medical needs at the VA.
I took on being your admin with all the piles of paperwork that military life accumulates.
I helped you study for your college degree for the post-military career, when most had completed it years ago.
I sought to be gracious with you when the brain that had been jostled by IED explosions did not seem to work as efficiently as your young mind once did.
I was your biggest cheerleader as you navigated life as a civilian, with newfound goals that didn’t include rank promotions or airborne school.
I strived to listen intently to your past, not seeing it as baggage, but as your story.
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I was careful to wake you up without shaking you while taking a step back myself. At the restaurant, I would always leave you the seat that had its back against the wall.
I did my best to hold back a retort when you were easily aggravated while taking the trigger out on me.
I held in my pain when you secluded yourself and attempted to drown out the memories.
I distracted the kids with fun activities when your demons were getting you down more than usual.
I explained to the kids that Daddy sometimes needed space, and that they had done nothing wrong.
I made a mental note of the anniversaries of your buddies’ deaths, which haunt you every year.
I saw a man who would do anything for his wife and children, a man who had a vision filled with purpose, despite his struggles.
I saw your heart, with all the rough edges.
But I bid you goodbye.
Because I lost myself trying to save you.
Because you stopped doing the work for yourself.
Because your demons overtook you too many drunk nights.
Because you sought out satisfaction in another woman’s affections.
Because to you, my efforts were not good enough.
Because my safety and our children’s well-being is paramount . . . I bid you goodbye.
But I pray you find your healing.
I leave you still hoping– for your sake, for our girls’ sake– you find yourself.
And please know you have many more than just me to walk with you on the path to wholeness . . . if you choose.