Sunday, July 13, 2008

What is this?

Almost ten years ago I thought I was in love. It started out great. It eventually got to where it was OK. Then it was rough, then it was good. Over the next five years there was talk about getting married. Finally it happened right before I left for Kuwait with Army Reserves. Shortly after arriving in Kuwait I was threatened with divorce. I lost my mind and was sent home for a short period of time to patch it up. The result was my little angel Courtney. I then returned to Kuwait only to come home to stay with all my friends six months later. A few months after that my daughter was born. Things got a little better then, but it was not what I thought married life should be. We lived with her parents while building a house. I got to the point where I filed for divorce. I was determined until Courtney was sick in the hospital. Then it was we were going to divorce and work it out. I walked away from someone I had met that was truly the perfect person for me. Over the next year it was kept a huge secret about our relationship. That was my first sign that I ignored. We saw each other when we could. Then it became less and less as time went on to the point of excuse after excuse of why I could see them. I decided I needed to go active duty with the Army only if I got the support from her that I needed. I felt it was there and I left. Shortly after leaving the amount of time we talked grew shorter and shorter. The fights more often than not. Then it came time for me to leave for Afghanistan. We talked for a long time about how one of needed to make the sacrifice for us to be together. I thought I had the support I was going to need when I left the USA. I get to Afghanistan and the "I love you"s stopped and there were no words of comfort to be offered. I would call needing someone to talk to in worst way and this was the one I expected to talk to me and support me, only to hear "I do not care and do not want to right now. I am busy and you are whining. Grow and deal with it. Who cares you read reports about people dying and being blown up." I became seriously depressed and upset and not sure I was going to make it through the deployment. Recently, events have taken place that have caused a little animosity. Now, my little girl tells me of someone coming over and I cannot understand her and her mom will not tell me what is going on, let alone talk to me about Courtney so I know what is going. Hence, I am spending all my money to ensure I have time with her when I am home. I get sick thinking about someone else in their lives. Is it because I do not replaced in Courtney's life, or is it because I do not replaced in her mom's life? Her mom has not sent one kind word, not one email, not one letter and not one picture. I know I cannot make her happy and I doubt she will ever make me happy. You cannot make someone happy that is not happy with themselves. WHAT IS THIS??

How about this one?
I wake every morning and have one thought in my head, Freedom (that is what we will call the mystery person for reason I am not going to explain for a few more weeks). Freedom is the first and last thing about before bed each day. Freedom is the one I feel God has set before me. I prayed my heart out for a long time for the strength to get through each day and to help me do what I have to do. I feel like God put Freedom in front of me a long time ago only for me to hurt and walk away from although I had VERY strong feelings for and was scared of them, mainly because I had free ticket to a foreign land were people will want to kill me. Each day I hear Freedom's voice I get a calm that has not been over me in a longer time than I can imagine or remember. I feel that God is giving me a second chance at love and happiness, although I am scared I will fail at this. Each time I receive a text message, voicemail, email, or picture, I smile from ear to ear and think my face is going to crack. My family really likes Freedom from what they know about her. They hated and/or disliked and did not trust the one above. Thoughts and talk of marriage are already being discussed along with the future and what it will hold for us. The support is there, as it never was from the one above. I am scared of the future with Freedom because I am not sure what it holds. I know I love Freedom and I am and will be happy with Freedom. Each silly picture that I receive is saved like it is the last I will ever see. Unlike the ones of the one from above that I started deleting. No one gives me butterflies, goosebumps or the feeling that I get from Freedom. I feel that I finally love someone that will return the love just as strong and meaningful as it is given. Freedom is at church each week, has a strong faith, cannot stand to and will not tell a lie, and is there every time I need someone to talk to. I am crazy beyond understanding when it comes to Freedom to the point that everyone that is around me on a daily basis has noticed a huge change in me and my happiness. What do you call that?

Recently I became suspicious that someone that is stepping into Courtney's life and her mom's. If I do not care anymore, does that make me heartless. If I am caring too much and worried too much does that mean I do not love Freedom enough? Does that mean I do not love Freedom at all? How can one person love two people, but only want to be with one? My heart was not truly faithful to the one above, but I feel it is and will be to Freedom. I have not said one negative word about Freedom, all the words of Courtney's mom are negative. That is mainly due to the fact that I am so unhappy with the one above and happy with Freedom. I am receiving support in pursuing the love I feel with Freedom and support to get away from Courtney's mom once and for all. I pray for strength nonstop, although I do not think it is going to be hard to start a new HAPPY life with Freedom (do you know how hard it is not type someone's real name when you are thinking and typing so fast, try it and see).

Freedom's birthday will be close to the time I am home on leave and I have a lot planned for that time. I have a lot that is going to be very special and mark the beginning of a truly happy life for us both. I skipped a lot about Freedom to protect a little of my dignity and her identity, but I must share some. I met her at the beginning of the year one night when I was out with my brother. When I met her I knew there was something about her that was going to change my life, but I was not sure what it was and did not want to fully acknowledge it. As time went on and I would come home on a pass I would make every effort I could to see her. Most of the time I was successful. The night she told me that she had feelings, as did I but did not want to admit it, I got scared and stopped talking to her for the most part. She told me that night that on the night we met that there was something about me that really pushed her towards me. Fate? Destiny? God? All three? You tell me! I never told her that I felt the same way. I can remember on the long drive back to Fort Campbell talking to her and wanting to tell her that I was falling in love with her but I was too scared to pursue it and did not tell her. So I told her we would have to wait and see what happens when I return instead of the truth. I was way too scared to start to mention it although she basically told me what I was thinking. That was the other sign that I need to throw out the old and welcome the new. It was time to break that leg and let the new doctor take over and let it heal (thank you for that one mom).

Like most people I know, they are too scared to start something new. Think about it for a second. Lets say that you have been working somewhere for several years. You know everyone. You hang out with them all the time. You know what makes them tick and them you. You know how to make them feel good. You know the routine because you have been there for so long. But, the job is going nowhere. You have reached your potential there. There is nowhere else to go. You start looking, just looking, to see what is out there. You find something better but you are too scared to do anything about it. You talk to family and friends about it. One example would be our dad moving is from NC to TN on pretty short notice. He took a chance and look at us now. Everyone tells you that it is time you moved on and did the right thing for yourself. You take that leap of faith and low and behold you have better friends, a better job, better income and you are happier. Remember how hard that was to with a job? Now try to do that with love (I FIND OUT ONE PERSON LEAVES A SPOUSE I WILL KILL YOU!!! If you are in a bad marriage that is different). That is what I am doing. NOT trying to do, but I am doing. Can you imagine the heartache and the pain that I am going through just to be happy with the person I feel God has placed in front of me? The heartache that is brought on by thoughts of someone stepping into Courtney's life and trying to take over when I am not around.

Here I have rambled on and on about moving on with my life and the challenges I am facing. You heard it here first: I plan on getting engage in October 2008 and married shortly after June 2009, so mark a spot on the calendar. This will be the homecoming I have always wanted. Like I said, plans, not set in stone. Lets back up to the homecoming thing. Lets imagine you have not seen your spouse for six months. You get off the bus and see all the families around you. Yeah mom and dad are there, not to degrade that all, but the one you want to see is not there. Then you notice her car and think you just over looked her. Nope, she is sitting in the car and will not get out. You walk over and hear, ready for this, you will not believe it, I used to tear up thinking about it, are you ready yet: "get in the car and lets go!" What? No I love you, I missed you, glad you are home? Hell no! You ask them to get out and you hear, here is another one, get ready for it......"look at what you did to me. I am not getting out. Lets go NOW!!" You take a step back, wipe the tear away and ask for at least a kiss and you hear, yep you guessed it, "GET IN THE CAR OR I AM LEAVING YOU!" OK, hormones must suck when you are six months pregnant, but are they really that bad. Do they last for four years? Does it take away all the emotion you ever had?

Every day I can get on the phone with Freedom and hear how much I am missed, how bad she wishes I would come home, how she cannot wait until I get home. Is that the way it is supposed to be? Or is it the other way around? Am I supposed to be told that I am a worthless father for moving 300 miles away to serve my country and leave a job that was getting worse every day and not going anywhere for me? Am I supposed to not have that someone special to talk to? I am not supposed to be missed? Do I no longer deserve to hear that I am loved? How about missed? Family and friends tell me all the time I am missed and loved. But is that really the same. Should you not be hearing it from someone that is loved in that extra special kind of way? I would think that being here would grant more love and compassion if they truly loved and cared about you. No excuses. I know the world does not stop for me or you just because I am not there. I know that you have issues to deal with. I am not saying that I have it harder or easier than you. There some things that are harder and easier for all of us. I do not have to worry about gas prices right now, you do. I do not have to worry about cooking and cleaning, you do. I do not have to grocery shop, you do. You do not have to read reports of ten soldiers dying and thirty others seriously wounded in one day, I do. You do not have to worry about being shot at, blown up, I do. You get a shower that does not stink like you grandfathers barn, I do (sorry that is really bothering me right now). You have a TV to watch all you favorite shows and relax at night, I do not. You have your family close and can go see them any time you want AND they are in the same time zone, or at least close to it, I do not. You can kiss your spouse and kids every morning and night and tell them you love them, I cannot. You have Taco Bell, I do not (I REALLY miss Taco Bell and Mexican food). You do not spend 12 hours on a gate over night and have to tell people they are not allowed to leave your compound and go to bed because the base is under attack, I do (yes it happened last week. I work in a VERY secure area and we are gated where we work and the rooms are about .25 miles away). You choose what you eat every day, I choose from a small selection that is about the same every day. My brother is in Iraq, I bet your is not (if so they are in my prayers and God bless you for supporting them). You get to go to the store and buy your favorite shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, cologne and so on, I do not. You get to worry about the recession that is headed into a depression, I do not as much right now. You have to worry about your job from time to time, I do not. As you can see, life is hard on all of us. There are some luxuries and pains that I would love to have right now. I would love to be home worried about gas prices but I am here for you.

Someone asked me the other day if I wanted to go home, not that my answer really mattered. I told them to stand there with $20,000 and a ticket and ask me to choose. At first it was a quick answer. The ticket. Then I started to think about it and we started talking. If I take the ticket, it is a round trip ticket. That means that when I get home the plane is coming back with someone else on it. Here I am with one child, the perfect women I already want to marry and the person taking my place could have a kid waiting to be born. I saw mine being born, why shouldn't he? I have someone that is perfect, loving and caring and his marriage is falling apart. If he leaves, then it will surely fall apart. You get what I am thinking here? So, what do I choose? I take neither. I tell them to send that money to a soldier that needs it. One that is injured and will need that money to support a family. Why would I leave when I life is going as good as it is and make someone whose life is falling apart or will miss the greatest thing in the world, a child being born?

I know that I went off track of the original idea of this post, but as I typed, I came to the realization that I do not need someone to tell me what something is. Love is hard to explain and to deal with at time. I know what I am doing. Christina does not know all this and if she would answer the phone and actually talk to me, she would know the truth about what is going on. That is not the point either, I just thought I would throw that in there.

Back to the point. Love is something that happens to us that we cannot explain. I was asked why I loved Christina before we got married. My answers were the worst the preacher had ever heard. Today if I was asked why I love Freedom and want to take that leap so fast, I am sure it would be a lot better answer, not that there are right and wrong, but the feelings are different. I have been hurt quite a few times in my life. I am sure it is not over and will not be until I am dead. We only learn from our mistakes in life and I have learned a lesson that took several years and tears and many many conversations with my family to realize. I feel that you should be able to wake every morning, think of that special someone, get a huge smile on your face and be able to start your day the best you can. I know I have found that and for those that have not, you will. I never thought I would ever be happy again, but guess what, I am happy and to its fullest potential. Someone is going to tell me I am crazy, I know I am. I know I am doing the right thing and will not regret it. You should something that make you feel the same way and go for it.

This post has turned into a very long one. It was to be short and only a basic comparison of things I am facing. It has become a realization of the truth and that I know what I am doing for once in my life. It is going to be hard at times because giving up something you have known for so long is not easy, and neither is giving up that job you have had for so long. I hope I have not bored everyone to death or talked about my personal life too much, but happiness like this and love like this cannot be bottled up for long. Freedom knows I love her and her me, but are not going to say it until we are face to face. This is goingto be hard for me because I want to tell her on a daily basis, many times a day, but I am not going too. I want her to see that sparkle in my eye and see the look on my face!!!

Thank you for the prayers and the support. God bless you all!!!

SGT John Strader



MOM said...

WOW ........ thank goodness I had a little warning on all that. I want you to come home right now!!
Although I know you cannot. I will BUST with excitement waiting for the time that you come home this time. Unlike the other time when I cried for weeks because it was like I did not have a son named John. But OH WHAT A DIFFERENCE I CAN SEE in everything about you. As you talked it brought back memories and as you talked it brought back tears of sadness and as you talked it brought back tears of joy.
I want you to remember one thing if nothing else ..... NO ONE WILL TAKE YOUR PLACE IN COURTNEY'S LIFE no matter how hard cdvs tries to make it happen.
You cannot be consumed in yourself and appreciate someone else. You have learned that the hard way but sometimes that is the way we truly learn.

Anonymous said...

the "ex" ........ what a #itch. With the way John was treated ... it is great there is "Freedom". Don't worry about someone taking your place because nobody will want something like that and be in their right mind.
I appreciate all that you two brothers are doing along with all the other service male and female people. You have my support all the way. :o)

Anonymous said...

Dear John - I just finally got into your blog and really enjoyed reading it. I am so glad you have found someone you can be happy with. God Bless You both. We are doing pretty well. I am canning green beans and the tomatoes are going to be ripe soon. We had a tornado last week and it blew the corn flat and some of the other plants. It lasted about ten minutes and was really fearce. Uncle Scott is still working at his job. They laid everyone off but 15 people out of 90 people two weeks ago and he was one of the ones they kept. He has a 2006 Jeep commander which he likes a lot. It ws parked in the driveway last week and a man backed his dump truck into it and damaged the rear end. He is to get it fixed tomorrow.

It has been very hot here. It has been in the 90's off and on for the past week and is supposed to be heating up next week again.

Have you heard from Uncle Buck? He asks about every time I talk to him. He and his family are flying to England and Scotlant next week for two weeks. They have a lot of friends there and like to visit. This is a present from their daughter for their 50th wedding anniversary (which is next year).

Again, we are very heppy for you and "Freedom". Your Aunt Nancy told me about it today and I finally was able to get into your website. I am not very good at getting into things on the computer.

Will try to keep in touch. Thanks again for the DVD. It is very good and makes me realize what you are doing over there. We are very proud of you and Jeremy.

Must close for now.
Grandma & Grandpa Strader