I had a friend in the National Guard in college. He deployed twice. He was at Fallujah and has pictures of him with Saddam Hussein's gold toilet. At a party once, he told me that he had shot and killed people downrange. I wasn't an Army wife then. The military wasn't even a blimp on my radar. We all felt bad for our military, but I had no idea what they really went through. I was a psych major. And one of the only females that hung out in the group. I considered myself very lucky that he felt comfortable enough with me to open up like that. He obviously needed to purge this thought. And the guys always gave him a hard time, telling him that they saw Jarhead, life downrange must be rough. And he played the big strong soldier. But I got to see the other side of him. It was so interesting to me. I tried not to pry. But I wanted him to know that he could tell me anything without me judging him or thinking poorly of him.
The night before I married Joe, I remember looking at him when I thought popped into my head. My husband could kill someone. How did I feel about that? I was so worried about him being killed, it never dawned on me that he might actually take another life. It was so strange to me. I shared the thought with Joe. He just looked at me funny, like I was really late to this party! Obviously, right! He's in the ARMY. What did I think he was going to do downrange? He noticed that the thought was new to me so we had a conversation about it. In my own sort of fuzzy morals, I managed to deal with this thought.
But now the chances of deployment are fairly high. And the thoughts come back to me. I allow myself to compartmentalize so much so I don't have to think about the thoughts of killing and death. When I open these boxes up, the worms just fly out! And my thoughts often return to that young National Guardsman that needed to tell someone what he had done. So I told Joe that I wanted to know if he had killed someone. He just laughs at me. But I have my reasons. I don't want to have to wonder if he's killed someone. But I also don't want him to think he has to hide that side of himself from me. I don't want that tension on our relationship. He already knows that I have fairly fuzzy morals about the world anyway. On a personal level, I'm a serious humanist, knowing that ALL people are equal human beings, no matter their race, gender, religion, or beliefs. We have many conversations about taking a life and why I'm not in the Army. I don't like the idea of being sent somewhere and ordered to kill someone I don't know over stupid political gains, money, or oil. But on the flip side, if someone broke into my house, I would be the first one to shoot them in the face (My husband likes that quote).
So Joe asked me again the other day if I would want to know if he killed someone. And again, I said yes. Thankfully, his job and MOS might not require him to be in much combat, if any at all. My grandpa was a mechanic in Vietnam. When he was asked if he killed anyone, he used to tell a story about being in the motor pool one evening when three enemies walked in. He says he fired at them, but doesn't know if he killed anyone. But now being an Army wife and not a granddaughter, it makes me wonder if it was just a story to keep us quiet. Surely he knew if he had killed someone. And of course he wouldn't tell his small grandchildren the whole story, but would he tell his wife?
I want Joe to be able to purge all he needs to. And my mother asks me, do you want to know when Joe has to kill that 9 year old holding a gun? But more than for my curiosity, I want Joe to be able to get it all off his chest without the guilt of thinking I'm going to label him a bad guy. This is war. He's in the Army. I knew this when I married him. So yes mom, when that 9 year old has a gun aimed at my husband, I want my husband to shoot back. And I want him to be able to tell me he survived another day because he did what he needed to do. I don't want him to think he has to bury that deep inside and live with that secret for the rest of his life.
What can I say... fuzzy morals.
I haven't expressed this thought to many people. I get two very different extreme reactions. Some people are quick to understand and see where I'm coming from. Others cant see the reasons I feel are very warranted and want to reprimand me for my ideas. I just wanted to send this out into the void. I don't know if these thoughts are normal for a woman married to an Army solider. I've been told I might be more open to the idea because of my background and psychology degree. But these are my thoughts. And I promised myself that I would be as honest as I could on this blog.
Would you want to know? Would you want your husband to be able to share that with you if he wanted to?