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A Piece of My Mind
September 18, 2013

Recon Man

Author Affiliations
  • 1St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee
JAMA. 2013;310(11):1129. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.276137

He speaks Russian. He reads Arabic. He writes Kiswahili. And now, he talks in oncology terms.

My husband, the man who has been gone for seven Christmases and six Easters out of our ten married years, has invested a career in military reconnaissance. Call it a rationalizing-as-coping mechanism or call it the unreasonable nature of love, but I continue to believe the quality of our time together is worth the quantity of absences. A day with one’s soul mate is worth a month of convenient, indifferent days. Sure, I sometimes fester in secret self-pity, usually about the time when I notice the dent in his pillow has been soothed over to smooth surface from extended absence (even the best of memory foam can’t stay sunk through a full deployment term). But the stiffest of hospital call room cots is cozy compared to his camp quarters. I’m reminded that sacrifice is relative. Politics and piety aside, this guy with his tender soul and tough body and immense heart continues to inspire my commitment.