In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic it is easy to be scared, anxious, and lonely. We have all shut ourselves away from the world physically, cut off from our family and friends, longing for the day we get to reemerge into society. Our separation puts into focus what matters and what we hold most dear. I am longing for the day I get to hug my mom and dad again. To see my children playing freely with their grandparents again! Simple acts that before this epidemic I took for granted, not recognizing the power of proximity and contact.
Simple acts that before this epidemic I took for granted, not recognizing the power of proximity and contact.
But through all this social distancing I have learned so much! Like how hard you are willing to work to ensure you stay connected to the people you cherish most, when you are forced to be apart. How meaningfully every conversation and every word becomes when missing someone so dear.
The power of forced distancing, is that it works as a catalyst and brings people closer together!
This is the epiphany I had while writing Susan and Brandon’s story. These two have built their love story around long distance and forced separations since the beginning of their relationship. Sacrificing years apart for the call of duty has forced this incredible family to work exponentially harder for their unity and love.
Together Brandon and Susan have over 24 years in the armed services. They met in 2004 while deployed in Tikrit, Iraq after a series of serendipitous events, which found them both working gate duty.
After being told by one of his soldiers that one of the women working the first shift was ‘cute’, Brandon went out and walked right up to Susan and started talking to her. They courted over the rest of their deployment spending very breakfast and dinner together. Knowing they were madly in love they decided to marry as soon as they returned from deployment.
Shortly after getting married, the Barry’s found out they were pregnant with their first baby (YAY!), but unfortunately due to pre-scheduled deployments and career obligations, Brandon and Susan ended up having to spend the first two years of their marriage in different countries. Forcing this new little family to live worlds apart!
Although this season of their marriage was full of hard lessons and growing pains, it helped them build a strong foundation within their relationship. Putting their love in the forefront and pushing everyday to make it work and doing it together! It is this enduring strength that gave this couple the ability to overcome all obstacles over the years, like a growing family and 4 deployments. Susan and Brandon work hard everyday to prioritize their family, making time for themselves and their beautiful children. Although it hasn’t been easy Susan says she “loves their story because of the circumstances under which we met, and because we have endured through all the separations and the bumps in the road that resulted from those separations”.
she “loves their story because of the circumstances under which we met, and because we have endured through all the separations and the bumps in the road that resulted from those separations”.
Brandon and Susan are celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary this year and determined to make it the best one yet!
To the Barry family you are a true example of unconditional love and devotion. I can only imagine what struggle, hardships, and pitfalls that you have faced. But together you have proven you are strong! You have the power to overcome every hurdle placed in front of you because you do it together!
But together you have proven you are strong! You have the power to overcome every hurdle placed in front of you because you do it together!
Thank you for your service and the sacrifices you make on a daily basis for the community and country!