When my husband deployed in 2007, I knew life was about to become challenging; we’d recently given birth to our first child, and I had NO CLUE what I was doing – especially as a single parent! I’d be responsible for managing “all the things” for our household and knew I’d have countless nights of worrying and praying for his safety (and the other men and women in harm’s way). The only consolation was the knowledge that my husband was fighting to protect his country and working tirelessly to help the people of Afghanistan.

I remember seeing photos of my sweet husband with Afghan locals and children and feeling my heart nearly explode with pride and love. I remember my heart breaking while he wept, thousands of miles away, when a young girl lay dying in his hands after a Taliban attack. I remember being a sounding board while my husband mentally “unpacked” and processed the emotions after losing a soldier or Marine. I remember hanging up the phone and, in the safety of my home while rocking my newborn baby, praying and weeping for the families of the men my husband had been with during their final moments earthside. I remember wondering if the time would come that another young wife in another small town, rocking another young baby, would be praying and weeping for my family at the news of my husband’s death.

I remember.

I remember walking the halls of Walter Reed while my husband recovered from combat injuries and seeing what looked like an endless sea of other wounded and injured military. I remember watching our daughter – now a curious toddler – color quietly on the floor of that hospital while waiting for her daddy to be “all better.” I remember each hospitalization after his initial recovery; every holiday and birthday we celebrated in a sterile hospital room so that we could somehow be together as a family. I remember the tears and frustration our daughter expressed when she was the only student in her class who didn’t attend a “Daddy-Daughter Dance” – because she didn’t want a substitute; she only wanted her daddy.

I remember.

The past week has been a rollercoaster of emotions. As a case manager at Code of Support Foundation, our mission is to personally connect with as many of our Afghanistan veterans as possible. Some, like my own husband, were struggling but preferred to do so on their own terms. Others shared their frustration, anxiety, fear, helplessness, and anger as they navigated through the events unfolding thousands of miles away. Although I couldn’t relate as a veteran, I found myself realizing as a wife and caregiver to a combat-wounded soldier that I also felt similar emotions.

I felt frustrated and angry when I looked at my husband and saw the physical, mental, and emotional sacrifices made for what he felt – at times this week – was for nothing. I felt sadness when I looked into my (now teen) daughter’s eyes and realized the sacrifices she’s made and sadness that Afghani girls her age would be facing horrific atrocities that most cannot even fathom. I felt anxiety when fellow advocates, military spouses, and veterans reached out, begging for help to get their interpreters to safety. I felt helpless when I would allow myself to comprehend the reality that many, many of our Afghan allies were going to be executed, and there was little I could do to help.

I remember, and I’ve felt it too.

Several times this week, I’ve reflected on the many years that have passed since that day I said goodbye to my husband and wondered if it was worth all the sacrifices made – and every time, the answer is YES. Lives were saved, educations were gained, little girls were able to safely grow to young women. The impact made by those who served in Afghanistan is PROFOUND, and their sacrifices were worth it.

And to the spouse or caregiver of a veteran reading these words – I see you. We all see you here at Code of Support. Your sacrifice matters. The hopes and dreams you gave up matters. Each silent tear you’ve shed on this post-war journey matters.  It mattered then, and it matters now.

Take time to remember and feel. Be gentle with yourselves. Reach out for help if you need support. You are not alone, and you matter.


Beverly Poyer

Wife, mother, caregiver to a veteran of Afghanistan

      Case Manager, Code of Support Foundation

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!