Last night my daughter and I sat on the couch searching for something to watch that wasn’t quite so “Christmasy”.
My family is split up this holiday season with my husband being overseas. None of us are into the Christmas spirit. Usually, Christmas throws up at my house and all around me. I sprinkle Christmas spirit around me like glitter. I throw it up in the air and twirl around in it. I even roll in the floor in it sometimes. But…..not this year.
I look down at my phone when I hear a Facebook alert. It might be my husband I thought.
The message sucked the breath from my body. **ACTIVE SHOOTER** Pearl Harbor Hawaii. Base on lockdown. WHAT!!???
I called my girlfriend whom I met while stationed at Pearl Harbor. “Watch the news!”
We were in Pearl for six years. Both of my girls were born there. It was, and still feels like home. What the hell is going on?
I called my military sisters who still live there. One of which I’ve never spoken to on the phone. We’ve only chatted through Facebook, however, NOW I needed to hear her voice. She was ok as were my other sisters over there. I was relieved for a second until I realized….my military family in Hawaii were okay, but- someone’s isn’t.
I don’t know the exact details about the story. What I do know, however, is that is just one more suicide that has racked our active duty community. One more to make up that “22 a day” average.
I want you to take a moment, and picture this in your mind. Someone’s son or daughter isn’t coming home tonight. Someone will be visited by officers soon. They will hear that dreaded knock on the door that we all fear when our active duty loved ones are away. A mother, or a wife, father, sister, brother, child…..will be cooking dinner, or perhaps wrapping Christmas presents, when this knock comes. They will peer out the window, silently praying that this is anything but what it is. Two uniformed officers will get out of the car and somberly walk up to the door, preparing for what they must do. The wife, dad, sister, mother, brother….will most likely not even hear the words that escape the officers mouths. They are too numb to breathe. Too numb to comprehend what’s being told to them.
This is reality. Yesterday’s tragedy at Pearl Harbor means this sailors family will be missing one this holiday season. More than likely, no one knew this sailor was troubled. No one knew he was in over his head and believed the only way out was to take his own life. Maybe if he had been flashed one more smile, or had just one kind word spoken to him, he would have thought twice. Maybe not. No one knows what goes through a person’s head before they take their life. Here is one thing I DO know. The world is a cruel place and everybody needs a somebody.
My Christmas spirit is dull, however, I will dust it off and shine it. I’m blessed. My friends are okay. My husband is safe and he is okay. My family is okay. We are okay. My problems are so small compared to so many others.
My heart hurts though. It’s heavy. It’s almost a physical pain. I’m pissed off. I’m sad. I want to shake someone and make that awful number “22” go away! Check on your friends, your family, co-workers, and neighbors. Reach out to your spouse. Consider bringing lonely service members home to share in your holiday festivities. If everyone reaches out to one person each day, could we bring this horrible “22” number down? Quite possibly.
BE THE CHANGE.
BE somebody’s somebody…so that everybody’s somebody comes home.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Hyde is a Navy spouse of 22 years. Her husband, three kids, two dogs, and a partridge in a pear tree keep her quite busy. A professional volunteer, she dabbles in a bit of everything, but the non-profit Dependa Strong is where her passion is. She co-founded Dependa Strong in 2018 in hopes of encouraging other military spouses to be transparent about their own struggles with mental health. “No one knows the unique struggles faced by our military spouses better than a fellow military spouse.
Together we can take charge of our mental health and well-being. We share a common bond and can only grow stronger when we lean on one another.” Raising awareness, having compassion for one another, and encouraging people to reach out is what Dependa Strong is about. Although Rebecca’s husband will be retiring soon, she fully intends to remain involved in the fight for better mental health care for our active duty members and their families. Dependa Strong is committed to building stronger, more resilient military families, one spouse at a time.
Join her in her continued efforts to strengthen our military families-
Follow Rebecca at:
Her personal blog- https://wherethehellismymamasfilter.blogspot.com