Underneath our bed, there is a large suitecase that holds memories from another life- photos, receipts, paperwork, foreign money, postcards, uniforms, dog tags, and letters from loved ones.
This suitecase is my husband's time capsule of five years spent as Search and Rescue in the Navy. Yep, my long haired, yoga expert, surf bum, liberal, creative, pacifist husband spent five years of his young adult life traveling the world, jumping out of helicopters and serving his country. At eighteen he turned down a scholarship to art school to join the Navy- a part of his history that I never understood but realize that this decision made him who he is today.
We often pull everything out and look through the photos, read the letters, look at receipts, examine coins (he saved EVERYTHING!) and I listen to stories about a life before I knew him, stories that I've heard hundreds of times but never seem to get tired of. While in the military he did some amazing stuff, crazy stuff, had fun, made lifetime friendships, experienced fear and challenge, acquired discipline, learned lots of lessons and grew up REALLY fast. When I look at his photos, it always hits me how young he was (a skinny kid jumping out of helicopters!!!) and what a different life at eighteen he had from the rest of us.
I met him during his last few months of service and at the time I was shocked by the reality of his schedule, his time and life belonging to someone and something else- our country. While I will never quite understand, relate or even agree with this chapter in his life (sometimes I wish he had gone to art school instead), I will always respect and honor this part of my husband's history. His experiences inspired change, brought him to who he is today, created the path that brought us together and laid the foundation for the life that he created for himself.
Today and every day, my honor, gratitude and thanks goes out to my husband, friends family and all veterans who served and are still serving our country.