How to avoid offending another mil spouse…

Things to really think about while reading this article: Are you a supporter of the Marine Corps? Do you take offense when someone says something ignorant about the Marines? Do images of these guys with seen and unseen injuries limping off the battlefield and the photos of flag draped caskets bring a tear to your eye? Do you support your husband no matter what and would advocate for his job in the Marine Corps and your patriotism? Overall people are patriotic to the core. This is our homeland, our military, our land of the free because of the brave and all that right?
Well, let me introduce y’all to a good friend of mine which y’all may see below referred to as Pacheco’s wife aka AnnaLeigh. She is not so new to the circle of friends in my life but new to this blog. She is a young, beautiful brunette & thin like most of us long to be, but also has very quick wit and a short temper for ignorance like most wives who been through what she’s been through.
We became acquaintances under dire circumstances when I was still a family readiness assistant & personal assistant to the newest Family Readiness Officer. She’d called me as her point of contact to tell me it was rumored around good ol’ Facebook & the ‘watercooler’ that her husband was missing limbs and they only found his head in combat yet she hadn’t heard any news from him or Headquarters Marine Corps in Virginia. Cue the expletives! Idiotic, insensitive individuals is what I will say about this situation. This is what everyone meant in those trainings, seminars and meetings about the deployments in saying ‘loose lips’; these individuals should have kept their mouths shut about things they had no idea was true or not; when in fact her husband was absolutely fine. Drama! This is the main reason why most wives are apprehensive to be friends with other wives due to this ignorance and complete disregard for others privacy and feelings.
Her husband, Jason put Anthony on the Blackhawk out of Afghanistan when he was injured so we have always been thankful and appreciative for him in our lives. Coincidentally after she’d talked to her husband about the rumors, just 10 hours later while on patrol he did happen to step on an IED, incur a TBI and lose his right leg and part of his pinky finger. We became actual friends when our lives took an unexpected hard right turn almost at the same time. Between the sometimes simultaneous doctors’ appointments, red tape of injuries, trying to figure out a way to forge on in the Marine Corps and get our guys better; our lives seemed to mirror in more than one way.
So you can see she is just as awesome as her husband and has been through more than her fair share of obstacles! She dealt with unruly in-laws overstepping and overstaying their welcome while she’s trying to reunite with her husband after being in a combat zone and experiencing a horrific incident, this is enough to break anyone! Not to mention both of them were adjusting to the injury itself and those obstacles, the medications, surgeries, opinions, therapies, prosthetics and all that comes with being in the hospital more than being at home. She’s been his rock and he’s been so motivated to get back to where he belongs with his men that he was actually given that opportunity by the Commandant and Sgt Major of the Marine Corps and will leave soon to go back to Afghanistan.
The other day there was a unit function to honor the Marine Corps birthday. She was sitting alone while her husband and mine were running around somewhere and a random wife approaches her. The young lady polite enough and possibly with innocent intentions said, “Hello there, who are you here with?” AnnaLeigh said she was there with her husband, Jason. This wife must not have known who AnnaLeigh was because she then sarcastically and in typical high school girl fashion said, “Well…it must be nice…” Full of self restraint and grace AnnaLeigh responded, “Yeah, it is nice.” The inquisitive lady said, “Has he ever been to Afghanistan?” AnnaLeigh once again with the patience of a saint informed her, “Yes, he has. He went last year and lost his leg but he’s going back again soon.” The young woman was speechless and had to have found herself, embarrassed and outdone so she simply walked away.
Now how AnnaLeigh kept it together I will never know, I wasn’t present to witness this teaching lesson. But I do hope that young lady has more forethought from now on to actually learn a person’s story and not be so quick to be a smartass and stick her foot in her mouth before she disrespects those she doesn’t know from Adam. Especially a Wounded Warrior Wife who’s been through so much in just a year’s time. I hope that narrow-minded person learned a bit of respect for those who are left behind here whether they attend a mostly deployed unit’s event or otherwise. Just because these guys appear 100% on the outside does not mean there are not scars there at all & are invisible to the naked eye. Jason and Anthony both wore pants to that event but they are full of scratches, scars and pain no will ever know but the men they fought with and those closest to them. The Wounded Warriors and their wives shouldn’t have to explain or justify any of that and neither should anyone else who is left behind after a unit deploys. Everyone has a story whether they are asked to tell it or not.The stares, the probing questions, the ignorance is just a glimpse of what Wounded Warrior wives deal with often from strangers even other military spouses, who don’t understand or know our whole story.

We’re taught to love one another and be kind. Would you have judged a book by its cover in AnnaLeigh by having her husband at an event? Would you have been so quick to judge and respond with a snark comment without knowing her story? Do you think that young lady learned to look outside of herself and her situation and maybe won’t be so ignorant to the facts next time?

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