The Scary Things We Do for Love
by Donna Soluri
Rebecca Yarros’ latest book, The Things We Leave Unfinished, is out today. It is a beautiful story, told in alternating timelines about the risks we take for love. Sometimes those risks leave us with scars too deep to heal and sometimes those risks pay off. Either way you slice it, love is filled with risk, and is often a leap of faith we have to have the audacity to take.
I asked Rebecca about the risks she’s taken in life; the scariest thing she’s done for love. Her very personal story is one of the most heartfelt and emotional stories I’ve read in a long time. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
When you’re a military wife, fear kind of comes with the territory, especially when your husband has already been wounded once. Back in 2003, my husband and I had been married a little over a year, our son was still an infant, and we were knee-deep in our first deployment — this time for the initial invasion of Iraq.
Jason — my husband — was seriously wounded. He was hit by an anti-tank landmine on the Syrian border, and took hundreds of pieces of shrapnel to his face and body, including his eye. He’d been taken into emergency surgery and all I could do was wait.
I can’t adequately describe that fear when the notification comes, or the relief of having him in my arms again when he was sent home to heal.
And then he healed. Miraculously, the shrapnel to his eye missed blinding him by a few millimeters. His surgeries were successful, though they couldn’t remove all of his shrapnel. His skin mended. His wounds became scars.
Three months later, his vision returned. He was cleared for duty.
Then he asked me if I would be okay if he went back to his men and finished his deployment. The army wasn’t forcing him, but he felt like he had to return. He couldn’t stay home while the unit was in combat.
“Jason had a jagged, six-inch scar down the length of his carotid artery . . . and he wanted to go back?”
My gut response was, “Not only no, but hell no.” He’d barely come out alive, and he wanted to go back? What kind of insanity was that? There wasn’t any internet for the troops back then, phone time was once-a-month scarce, and snail mail was our only communication. Our son wasn’t even a year old. Jason had a jagged, six-inch scar down the length of his carotid artery that reminded me just how precious our love was, how fickle life could be…and he wanted to go back?
But the thing about soldiers is that their wounds aren’t just on the outside. As surely as he’d brought pieces of Iraq home in his skin, he’d also left pieces of himself there, and I knew that if I wanted my husband whole again, I had to let him go. So, I told him how I honestly felt, but then told him I’d support his choice with all the love in my heart.
It was the scariest decision I’ve ever had to make. It wasn’t an order this time. No one was forcing my hand…or his. The three truths of the situation were equal. I loved Jason. He loved me. He also needed to finish out his tour to feel fully healed.
A couple of weeks later, I held our son in my arms and kissed Jason goodbye again, praying that he’d return. The next eight weeks were some of the longest of my life…and then they were over. He came home, alive, whole, and healed.
He deployed four more times over his twenty-two years of service, and I kissed him goodbye and welcome home for every single one, but remembering that first one still makes my heart stop even on the best of days. It taught me how delicate life is, while showing me how strong love could be. And seventeen years later, when he was forced to choose between continuing to fly the Apache he loved so much and being home with us, he hung up his wings and uniform, and came home for good, and I love him even more today than I did back then.
About Rebecca Yarros
Rebecca Yarros is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of over fifteen novels, including Great and Precious Things and The Last Letter. “A gifted storyteller” (Kirkus), she is also the recipient of the Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence for Eyes Turned Skyward from her Flight and Glory series.
Rebecca loves military heroes and has been blissfully married to hers for almost twenty years. She’s the mother of six children, ranging from kindergarten to law school, and is currently surviving the teenage years with three of her four hockey-playing sons. When she’s not writing, you can find her at the hockey rink or sneaking in some guitar time while guzzling coffee. She and her family live in Colorado with their stubborn English bulldogs, two feisty chinchillas, and a Maine Coon kitten named Artemis, who rules them all.
Having fostered then adopted their youngest daughter who is nonverbal and on the autism spectrum, Rebecca is passionate about helping children in the foster system through her nonprofit, One October, which she co-founded with her husband in 2019. To learn more about their mission to better the lives of kids in foster care, visit www.oneoctober.org.
Donna should be an empty nester, but she’s not, thanks COVID-19. She’s a voracious reader of all books; she can’t pick just one sub-genre. A staunch supporter of seasoned romance and a lover of cupcakes, you’ll often find her with a cup of tea and a mountainous TBR pile close at hand. Follow her @DonnaSoluri on B+M Bites.
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