It was a beautiful afternoon at the Naval hospital. Boy #2 and I had just finished with his appointment, he was happily content in the stroller, and I had no place to be. So I bought a small lunch from a little hospital restaurant and took it outside for a little picnic. Truth be told, the Naval hospital is one of my favorite places for people watching because the people I see and the stories I infer (and imagine to be true) are so beautiful and inspiring.
I am inspired by the paraplegic and quadriplegic Wounded Warriors that are making their way through the corridors and courtyards of the hospital, proudly wearing their PT gear with "Marines" blazoned across their chests and a proud smile that displays no regret of the things that happened to them.
I love seeing the young veterans, and I especially love seeing the old veterans. They are always so tickled by my little boys and always make us laugh! I love the invisible bond that is present between the veterans and me and my sons, the military dependents. Our experiences have been different, but the bond of the military family is always there.
On my most recent visit, I found myself staring at an exceptional couple. I couldn't keep my eyes off of them. Even while taking bites of my sandwich (yes, I ended up with mustard on my shirt), I stared at them because I didn't want to miss a moment of a love so rare.
A young man in an electric wheel chair was pushed out into the courtyard by his doctor. It was obvious that this young veteran had suffered severe brain damage. As he sat basking in the sunlight, a young woman continued her conversation with the doctor, and when he left, she gave the man in the wheel chair her full attention. She put her arm around his neck, leaned in close to him, whispered in his ear, then continued to just press her cheek to his. I quickly realized that this was the young man's wife.
How beautiful and inspiring it was to see her, the wife, with her injured Marine husband. The tenderness and love I witnessed was something that I rarely see between "normal" couples. And as if the wife's affection towards her husband wasn't enough, she was smiling the whole time I watched her. She smiled as she put her arm around his neck, while she whispered in his ear, and while she pushed him through the courtyard. Here was a woman who stood by her man and her vows. And she was doing it with a genuine smile on her face. No doubt she was focusing on the fact that her husband was alive and not on the physical state he was in.
To have that kind of joy and peace and love in the midst of what is undoubtedly a difficult time for her is a lovely thing. And it was a lovely thing to witness during my little picnic at the hospital.
My day of taking my healthy son for a checkup turned into a beautifully profound day. And this is why the Naval hospitals are so inspiring to me. Incredible people. Incredible lives. Incredible stories. Incredible love.