Friday, October 8, 2010

While You Were Gone: Birthday

More from my photo column While You Were Gone: stories of military families with loved ones deployed.

The hair is done, the makeup on, and the heels high as a group of young women prepare for their Saturday night out. Meghan Gorny places a tiara in her straight blonde hair, bought specially for the occasion that the group has gathered to celebrate; her 32nd birthday. While the mood is light in the parking lot of the local gas station on the way to the restaurant, Megan’s expression belies a certain stoicism. When asked about why the return date for her husband Lt. Joel Gorny’s, ship the Normandy keeps changing, Meghan shrugs it off. “Whatever happens, happens,” she says. That he can’t be here for her birthday doesn’t bother her either. “Things could be so much worse.

“I was in the Navy so I know what to expect and the bottom line is that he has a job to do.” While their husbands, boyfriends, and fiancees are away, women of the Normandy’s Family Readiness Group are quick to support one another. “They are my family when he’s gone. They are what is keeping me sane” says Megan. “We’re all on the same page. The other wives and girlfriends know what deployment means more than any of my civilian friends ever could. I’m just taking it day by day.”

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