A Love Stronger Than Life
By: Lindsey Harland
When I woke up that day,
I felt a bit strange.
I was thinking of life,
and how so many things change.
My Marine had come home
only three days before
that morning I realized
why I was living with the Corps.
Our story began
so long ago,
so young and in high school
and so eager to go
Out into that world
that would offer us so much,
all the money and things
we could possibly touch.
The plan was for college,
and I was ready to start
In a big new city
with the guy who had my heart.
We would be all alone,
no parents around.
We could do anything
and not hear a disapproving sound.
But my plans fell apart;
they were ripped right at the seams
the day I found out
he was joining the Marines.
I didn’t understand;
I just felt betrayed.
I didn’t know why
he would leave me this way.
To go off at this time
when war had been declared,
I thought he was crazy.
He could die over there!
But he knew what he wanted,
and he left that July.
I remember standing there crying
watching him wave good-bye.
I went on to college
all by myself,
confused by the guy
in the pictures on my shelf.
Why would he do this
when I had planned so much?
Everything would have been perfect,
too perfect to touch.
The letters started coming,
so few and far apart,
that a feeling started growing;
it was a fondness of my heart.
His words were so jumbled,
and his writing was a mess.
He talked about training,
becoming one of the best.
But he always seemed to include
what I really wanted to hear of.
He always said that he missed me
and signed it with love.
I started to think
about the decisions he had made,
and how the different paths in our lives
really cannot be paved.
I wrote him and I told him
that I was sorry for even trying,
and that with him being so far away
I was practically dying.
I soon made plans to see him
on that Thursday in October.
After all the letters and time,
the waiting would finally be over.
I remember flying into San Diego
thinking, “Wow, this place is pretty!”
Until I saw a huge Marine base
in the middle of the city.
That base almost scared me
when I started wondering what all he had been through.
His letters had mentioned “being smoked” and things like that;
I was starting to wonder about all of that too!
See, I never understood what it takes
to be called a Marine.
People don’t realize how amazing they are;
it’s as if these men are machines.
But it hit me really hard that day
as I was sitting in the crowd,
watching them march toward us
with all of their parents screaming so loud.
These boys had become men,
but that was nothing compared to what they were about to receive.
They were handed their Eagle, Globe, and Anchor:
the honor and the title of a United States Marine.
I just sat there breathless
watching his lip almost quiver
as he so proudly pinned
that emblem on his cover.
It was at that moment
when I realized the truth behind it all,
just by watching him stand at attention,
so proud and so tall.
My attitude was completely transformed
so much that I would never be the same
because now I am filled with extreme admiration
every time I hear his name.
I remember when they were finished,
after their final “ooh-rah.”
I ran down those bleachers
feeling so numb and in complete awe.
I remember seeing his smile
as I jumped off that last row.
It was one of those unforgettable moments,
one of those moments when you know.
He is the reason you’re alive,
and every life needs that something
to make it so complete
that without him you’re nothing.
I spent those next ten days
just watching him live.
I was amazed by everything,
every small thing that he did.
I always sat so close,
almost closer than he could bear.
He didn’t understand why I wanted
to just breathe in his exhaled air.
Then as quickly as he came
he was gone once again.
He kept telling me to be sure
that his was the life I wanted to be in.
I told him that I will cry
every time he has to leave,
but I left it at that,
and that is all he will ever see.
He won’t see the pain
that builds in my heart.
The one that is so strong
it almost rips it apart.
He won’t see the blank look
that now covers my face.
I can’t truly smile;
my emptiness is displayed in its place.
He won’t see me cry
as I try to fall asleep
night after night hoping
worry will not make a peep.
Because worry is the worst feeling of all;
it never leaves me alone.
It haunts my entire being;
It echoes throughout my bones.
Wondering if he’s safe,
or even if he’s alive,
thinking “What if something happened?”
knowing I couldn’t possibly live if he died.
People keep telling me that this is what he’s been trained for,
that he will be fine.
There’s a reason they’re on the front lines,
it requires a man of his kind.
But they haven’t seen him like I have;
they haven’t watched him while he sleeps.
I know he’s not indestructible
even though that’s what he seems to think
He seems so tough with
that USMC tattoo on his arm.
It may be intimidating,
but I know it won’t keep him from harm.
My only wish from life
would be to take his place;
that every time pain enters his life,
it would only see my face.
I would suffer through anything
so long as he would be fine.
That nothing could ever harm him;
that is this wish of mine.
My love for him is stronger than pain
for torture and agony I could endure.
But to live without him, I could not handle;
my life would be impure.
I would take his place without a second thought
if death knocked on his door.
Just so he could experience the beauty of life,
but I’d still be wanting to give him more.
I would sacrifice my senses
even my entire sight
if I knew that sweet dreams
would come to him every night.
Some might think I’m crazy
because of what I say,
but I believe it’s because they don’t know
they’ve never truly felt this way.
They don’t know how I long
to simply feel his heart beat,
or the way I worship the ground
that is graced by his feet.
This type of love is rarely found
in our world today.
Instead of tolerance we have rifts
making peace seem so far away.
And some say I’m young;
that I don’t know what is real.
But I know if I died tomorrow,
I would die happy because of how I feel.
It amazes me how one man
could have truly changed my life
so that now my only goal
is to someday be his wife.
He may never know
the incredible depth of my love,
but everyday I will try and show him
what it is truly made of.
It’s a mixture of respect,
also passion and learned lessons.
It is constant, and it is growing;
It is far beyond obsession.
It is gratitude and thanks
for all that he has shown me,
and it is an obligation to become
all that he knows I can be.
Most of all it is the faith
I hold deep inside my heart
that he will know this love is with him
every time we are apart.
With each day that passes
I pray that someday he’ll see
this love that I have for him
is stronger than the love I have for me.
The memories that we’ve made
are the roots of our past.
They are so very important to me
because they will always last.
They keep me hanging on
when he has to go away,
and I hope that’s what he turns to also
when he’s having a lonely day.
I do not think he will ever know
the respect I have for him,
or how much I admire the drive
he has to protect his fellow men.
The Marines are more than brothers;
they all share the same story.
It’s one of boys who trained to be men
who strive for honor and glory.
I just hope that they remember
the girls they leave behind.
The ones like me who never question
whether to leave their Marine’s side.
Maybe someday he’ll realize
the sacrifices that I have to make
because of a decision he made so long ago,
a chance he decided to take.
I pray that as a Marine,
who’s prideful legacy is standing by,
he thinks of me, not just his brothers
when he says “Semper Fi.”
Because I am always faithful,
and I am always strong
to ensure his happiness day after day
no matter how lonely or how long.