There's a kind of bravery Army life takes, which has nothing to do with bombs or bullets. It's the kind of bravery it takes, to leave people, things and situations behind.
Getting there isn't the trouble. The human is designed exquisitely for new situations. We do nothing better than adapt. What we do poorly, is LET GO.
Some people withdraw and make no connections. Others become reckless. Those of us in between, seek connections with like madness. Unfortunately, it usually takes too long, and when Sympatico is realized, it's almost too late.
We live with a kind of sadness in every encounter, we become more sentimental than the average human ever has the advantage to be. Life on a military post is like life in a small town to the 10th degree. Desperation isn't quiet here. I'll never forget my first morning in the Grafenwoehr Training Area, when a young man just melted down on the wooded lawn outside the housing area. Lying in the grass, screaming obscenities at everything and everyone... he got jammed into an MP jeep, then transferred, kicking and bellowing, into a German ambulance and carried off into bizzare backwards Euro siren silence. That was desperation. I don't know who the kid was, what happened or where he is now. I just remember two obese women staring at him as he screamed, occasionally poking him with their feet like a half-dead animal.
Meanwhile the rest of us get in for our reasons and, if we are lucky, get out with our goals accomplished and all of our limbs more or less intact. Those who serve on the front, pay for the rest of their lives. My husband, barely 50, will get a new hip as a souvenir of his first stay in Germany, during his second. It's a weird peice of karma, and a wierd souvenir of our time here.
Our friends here are some of the most solid we will ever make. We are lucky, we are blessed, and we are proud to have stood through the fire with anyone and everyone who shared time with us here. We don't want to say goodbye, so we'll just say... the door is open. See you later.