Do you carry something from your sailor or Marine during deployment? Is there something extra in your pocket or in your purse that you don’t usually have when your soldier or airman or Coastie is home?
Ever since my husband started workups in January, I’ve carried his command coin in the pocket of jeans.I didn’t do it on purpose. I visited the ship, got coined, and slipped the thing into my pocket. Where, for some weird reason, it stays.
"It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it." Lou HoltzSince I only carry a purse if I need my computer (I tend to trip over a purse), I carry everything in my jeans. I have my cash in my right pocket. My wallet in my back left. My phone in my back right and my keys clipped to my belt loop.
Because I think those command coins are maybe a little bit silly. We have a ton of them. They are better than a plaque, but… meaningful? Well, I don’t know.
Until now. Now I put that coin in my pocket every morning and think of Brad. I take it out of my pocket when I am digging for change for my coffee. I hear in clank on the floor when I take off my jeans.
I find it in the washer, on the bathroom floor, in my fifth grader’s pocket.. I have kissed that coin when I have emptied my pockets at night before bed. Somehow it makes me think of that e.e. cummings poem:
"i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)"Tracey Hepner was telling me that she also carried her wife’s coin through the whole deployment. “It was a tangible connection to her while she was away. I practically wore off the eagle on it,” Tracey said.
I’ve known spouses who kept picking up their servicemember’s keys instead of their own throughout the deployment. I’ve read about sailors who have one of their kid’s crayons in their pockets. Or a $2 bill from their grandma. Or a picture of a girl who doesn’t even love them anymore.
"They carried all they could bear, and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried.” Tim O’BrienWe carry things with us every day because those things serve a purpose. I need my phone to do my job. I gotta have money to feed my kids. My keys start my car.
I carry this coin because every day I am carrying this deployment with me. Every day, missing my husband takes up a certain amount of my body weight. Every day, I need the promise that he will come home to me. That it will be soon. That someday I will put on these jeans and I won’t need a coin to remind me of anything.