You told me last night that you are stressed. I have never heard you say those words before when talking about your job. You opened up to me about why this is and I had no idea it affected you like this. You joked about needing a “lobotomy” when you retire so that all the bad things you saw when working will never be recalled in your memory again. You shared some of those memories with me. They are horrific. I asked you to stop because I couldn’t even handle the description of it. You told me of your worst memory and it involved a child who at the time was the same age as our youngest daughter. I remember that day. You came home while after the incident and held our daughter and didn’t want to let go. You have been coming home lately and just going to bed. It’s likely due to the stress and mental/emotional exhaustion. It’s not like you. You are the strong one, but I see you breaking down.
You carry the stress that your job is creating on our girls. We are back to being kicked in the head by a leg at 3am again. I thought those days were long gone, but lately the bed is full. You see them cry and beg you not to go to work. That can’t be easy to leave. They think you are not coming back. That is stress that I don’t have to deal with when I leave for work. It’s not fair. You try and reassure them that you will be back, but you and I know the truth…the unthinkable could happen. You try and be strong for them, but I know you.
You are worried. You are tired. You are in a state of hypervigilance every single day. Your sole focus at work is to just make it home alive, to be able to kiss your “three girls”. You are around a lot of hate just for looking like you do. You’re not used to that. You’re the life of the party, everyone wants to be around you. This can’t be easy for you. I worry about you. I can’t stop thinking about you. You’re never like this. I always envied the way you handled stress; calm, cool, and collected. You are a go with the flow-let’s go on a road trip and not have a plan-type of guy. It took me years to understand and accept your spontaneity, to not be tempted to plan, and just have fun with whatever came our way.
You’re so easy to love. You try not take life too seriously. You’re great at everything you do. I have this competitive side of me that has made several attempts to match or exceed your abilities and you win every time…often without trying or knowing that I am even competing against you. I used to get angry that I would lose. You always wondered why I was angry. I’m not angry anymore. I don’t care about any of that anymore because you’ve seem to have lost yourself somewhere and though you can appear happy, I know you. You’re thinking about that uniform. You don’t want to put it on anymore, but yet there’s still a piece of you that thinks you can still help someone and that they care that you were there in their darkest hour.
I want you to know that my mind is on you. I will keep praying that you come home safe. I will keep our home clean so that you don’t have to worry about it. I will learn how to cook, so you can try and escape for a break and get a nice dinner that you deserve. I will get more help with the girls so that you don’t have to worry about if they are worrying about you. I will take care of the bills. I will take care of whatever I need to…
I will do all of this so that you can focus on one thing while you are at work…coming home.