When Tragedy Strikes a Military Wife
July 14th, 2020 By: K'Lee Reynolds
I will never forget that day. I will never forget the day that our lives were temporarily turned upside down.
We were living in an apartment off post at the time. There was nothing available on post when my husband returned from a deployment since I had moved home while he was gone to have some family support with our newborn and 3-year-old. That meant we were placed at the very bottom of the housing wait list--you know how it is.
So, there we were in our little apartment, sleeping peacefully, when my husband suddenly woke up because he heard water running. He stood up and stepped in A LOT of water. He immediately went towards the bathroom (right off of our bedroom) thinking the toilet overflowed in the middle of the night. He then realized it was much more than that and started yelling at me to wake up.
Y’all. Talk about sheer terror.
The water was rushing in fast, and I didn’t have time to think. All we could do was slip on a pair of flip flops (not the shoes I would have chosen if I would have known what we were going to have to trek through) as each one of us grabbed our two children and headed out the door.
The water was rushing in so fast and so strong that my husband couldn’t get the door to close again. And to add, he’s got muscles. Haha! We looked left, where our cars should have been parked, and nothing. Our cars were gone. Disappeared. No where to be seen. The only thing we could see was a river where our parking lot should have been. We looked to the right and there were rescue personnel trying to assist people in evacuating.
This is the moment that got so real so fast.
I was holding our baby girl, and my husband was holding our sweet baby boy. I thought in that moment that this might not end well, but I kept putting one foot in front of the other. My husband was yelling at me to keep going, and reminding me that I could do it. We finally got to high ground and then we sat on some random person’s front porch (thank you for your porch if you happen to be reading this) until a rescue vehicle came to take us safely to the shelter.
It had rained that night. Just a slow, steady rain. But, we had already gotten a lot of rain in the area leading up to that night. Not being from the area, we just thought it was another rain that would bring green grass and a cooler Labor Day. That was not the case.
We finally got to the emergency shelter and immediately started calling our family. They wanted to get there as soon as possible, but it wasn’t that simple. It was a long drive, and the entire area was flooded.
So, we called the only family we had within our reach. We called our military family.
Not only did they come, but they took our family in for several days. When we arrived at their house the PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) board was there to pray over us, and to assess immediate needs and come up with a plan to provide those needs. My husband’s unit was involved. An officer, higher in the chain of command within the battalion, just gave us a vehicle like it was nothing--gave my husband the keys and told him it was ours until we could get a rental or a replacement.
I felt like I was seriously in the middle of a dream. We were in shock. We didn’t know what was up from down, and we literally only had the clothes on our backs. BUT, God knew. He had the perfect military family in place for us at the time. Every single need was met. My kids were happy and playing with their sweet friends. My husband and I were able to leave them while we went all over post and all over the community for next steps. Everyone and everything was taken care of. Just like that.
Military wives were coming to our friend’s house with hot meals for all of us. Military couples were hand delivering clothes and panties for this momma! Y’all know that the momma always thinks of herself last. I didn’t even have to think of myself at all. It just came.
I say all of this to you, sweet military wife, to let you know that the military community you have always dreamed of does exist. There are amazing military families out there, and I know first hand that some of you have experienced this for yourselves. But, I also know that some of you haven’t always had the best experiences. You may not have felt welcomed or a part of the group or community, and for that I’m truly sorry.
I do know this, though: that community you're longing for--you can be that community. You can take a small step and help out a fellow military wife. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. It can be as simple as signing up for a meal train for a military wife in your neighborhood that recently had a baby. It can be watching the kids so she can go to a doctor’s appointment without having to drag everyone along.
There is so much value in those small things and small things can bring about big change. I truly believe that our role as military wives is a God appointed assignment-- a mission, if you will. We are better together, and I pray that you all have a great community surrounding you.
But, if you don’t then BECOME THE COMMUNITY. It’s in your heart, sweet sister. I know, because it’s in mine too. I know, because me and my family were loved on the way military families should always love each other. So, keep loving and keep seeking love. You, your fellow military wife, and her family are definitely worth it!
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2