Of my many jobs and titles in life, one I didn’t anticipate began about three years ago when our son joined the Air Force. Or I could say four years ago if I count the year of paperwork and appointments that led up to him swearing in officially.
Since 1% of young people choose to be in the military that means there’s only about 1% of us momas inside the tornado of being a military mom also. The tornado involves support, concern, pride, and wondering how your child could be this brave, among other things.
There are private social media groups where I see posts from moms all over the USA updating the “club” with needs and requests. I find myself praying daily for someone somewhere. A parent or grandparent is sick or a funeral is happening. A baby or a relationship needs divine intervention. The strained hearts over a countless number of miles is endless.
I am struck by how isolating it can be to be in the military and even in my small role as a military mom.
Our family figures out how to visit our son on a tiny budget. Some families never figure out the cost of travel to see a loved one. We are blessed that our son has adapted well. But for some in the service, they may struggle to adjust or to make friends and then lose those friends to deployment or a new duty station.
People say “that’s what they signed up for.” And of course they did, but no one really knows what it fully means until they live the life.
On our last visit, I saw several ferral cats that reminded me of the isolation. My heart hurt thinking of the lonely metaphor parallels.
The suicide rate is high in the military. It is easy to forget that when any service member is lost for any reason there is a ripple effect which impacts other people and families.
Whether in the military or not, much needs to be done in our nation as a whole to help people get help before it’s too late.
Would you pray with me for the mental health needs of both citizens and service members? Please encourage people in your life to seek support.
* It is ok to not be ok.
* Talking to a professional when you feel blue is a healthy choice.
* Offering to go with someone to an appointment (without judgement) can be helpful.
* Don’t ignore anything serious. Get help when you need it in order to help someone else or to help yourself.
* Don’t ignore gut feelings. Ask the hard questions so you know if someone is safe.