Yesterday I was unloading the crap, stuff out of the back of my car when I stopped what I was doing to say hello to a woman who faithfully walks her little dog by my house every day. We were chatting about my big dog barking his head off in the window, sounding ferocious, but looking like a big ol’teddy bear who wants to come outside and play.
She noticed the USMC pin I wear on my coat and the USMC sticker that is proudly displayed on my car. She said Semper Fi and her face had the look of wondering if I was in the military. I get that a lot and I don’t understand it. If you knew me you would know there is no way I could last in the military for 30 seconds, especially the Marines!
I explained my brother is serving proudly in Afghanistan. Then I just started talking. I told her he is preparing right now to come home and should arrive safely on US soil in about two weeks. I told her how excited my family is to see him. I told her he is going to meet his son for the first time. She said God Bless and as she walked away she was visibly crying. As I brought the remainder of the bags inside my house I had to wipe away tears of my own. Did I say something wrong?
The next time I see her, which will be soon as her schedule is pretty reliable, I need to ask about why she cried and apologize if I caused her pain. Did she lose someone she loved? Hopefully she was just touched by my words. Looking back, in that moment, I was so happy. I must have radiated my joy over wanting to hear my brothers words rather than read his emails, and see him in real life, not in a picture sent from halfway around the world and watch his family finally become complete. I hope this is what moved her to tears, rather than being saddened by my words. Her reaction has stuck with me all day, I have thought of her often.