I've written a post before about what you should and should never say to a military spouse or family member. One that bothers me to no end is when someone asks how long Adam is going to be gone, and their response is "Oh, that's not bad."
I decided to take matters into my own hands when someone says this to me, if only to educate them so they don't say it the absolute wrong person next time. Well, I got to use it last week.
I was showing a dad at football practice my Kindle, kindly explaining what it was and how much I loved it, yada yada yada. He's the dad of one of Addison's friends, so I was being nice. My friends always ask how Adam's doing, and he did too, and then said THOSE words, "How long is he gone for?"
I gave him a general timeframe (OPSEC, yo, I'm down with it) and he said the words...and I let loose. I wasn't rude, but here's a rundown of how it went (and this was after I restrained myself from launching myself at him, because I really wanted to wrap my hands around his neck and shake him like I was a British nanny):
Him: "Oh, that's not bad."
Me: "It is to me." At this point, he looked like the words "oh shit" shot through his brain.
Me: "He works all the time over there. His unit is rarely idle in that time period. They are constantly busy, always putting their lives on the line. He's not sitting over there counting bullets."
He smartly shut his mouth after that.
Here's what bothers me the most, though. No one would have the balls to say this to a child going through the same thing. If an adult ever said that to Addison, I would have no problem kicking their ass. Addison is a smart kid, but he doesn't understand why his father has to miss all his football games, school stuff, holidays, etc.
So why do people deem it okay to say to a wife, husband, brother, mother, etc?
I don't regret making him feel uncomfortable. Maybe he didn't deserve it, maybe he is now better educated because of my little verbal diarrhea tirade.
Here's a suggestion to anyone who may speak to anyone dealing with deployment - ask them how they are doing. Tell them you will keep their loved one in your thoughts and prayers (if you're a praying sort). Wish them a safe return for their loved one.