Kindness Journey- Day 186 – A Past Life

Nearly thirty years ago, I was a proud sailor in the US Navy. I served for approximately ten years before leaving the service. People ask me why I didn’t make a 20-year career since I was at the halfway point. The answer is complicated, but it centers on my Mother’s health.

I was scheduled to be stationed overseas for my next tour, and I was looking forward to the adventure. Fate had other plans for me. My Mother suffered a stroke when I had less than a year to decide about re-enlisting. I talked to the detailer, that is the person who matches sailors with available positions around the world. One of the rules was that my next tour was supposed to be overseas, but I asked for an exception because I knew that my Mom wouldn’t last 3-4 more years.

I didn’t want to be halfway around the world, dreading a phone call or a visit from the Chaplain telling me my Mom had passed away. Mom did not want to be in an assisted living facility; she preferred to stay at home.

At any rate, the Navy refused my request for an exception, and I sadly informed them that I would not reenlist.

Within a year of that decision, Mom passed away suddenly. I got to her and was there with her when she passed away.

Since I have made a decent life for myself, I am at peace with my decision. Friends ask me what the Navy was like, but due to the nature of my job, I still have to give vague answers. The friends I had from those days have drifted apart. Sadly, a few are no longer alive.

As my Navy years fade into the past, I keep looking forward. We all have critical moments where there is no right or wrong answer. We should learn from those moments and be better people.