Deployments are just a fact of life when both of us are in the Army, but it certainly doesn’t make it any easier. Jeremiah deployed in August 2009 with C Co, 1/23 INF out of Ft Lewis for Iraq.. I don’t think either of us really expected our lives to become so intertwined while we were thousands of miles away from each other. But despite the distance, and perhaps as a benefit, our long distance relationship is probably the best thing that could have happened at the time.
Whether it was through email, instant messaging or phone calls, we tried to talk every day. I ended up going to Transportation Officer school while he was deployed so it was rough getting time together to talk. Our schedules were almost completely opposite, and it wasn’t unusual for me to get a phone call from him at 3:00am when I had to be up for PT at 4:45am.
We did get lucky that his R&R was scheduled for February. Any sooner and I would have still been in officer school, and any later and I wouldn’t have been able to make the trip to New York to see him. He made it to the states three days before I graduated from officer school.. I didn’t even stop to change out of uniform after the graduation ceremony before I hit the road! The irony that after being apart for six months, I was the one that was running across the parking lot in my ACU’s to hold him in my arms!
For Valentine’s day, Jeremiah told me to dress warm and that it was a surprise where we were going. He took me to Niagara Falls, NY to see one of the wonders of the world. Everything was beautiful: covered with crisp, white snow, and the ice crystals dripping from the trees. We managed to walk right in front of a tour group, so we could hear the guide and as we were exploring the area near the Bridal Veil Falls, the tour guide offered to take pictures. I got Jeremiah to hand me the camera and I handed the camera to the tour guide and by the time I turned around to pose with Jeremiah, he was down on one knee, with a beautiful ring, purposing! I was blown away! (and of course said YES!)
Turns out that Jeremiah had even called my dad, from IRAQ to ask for my hand in marriage! We spent the rest of the day calling family and friends to spread the good news!