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A spouse’s lighthearted approach during difficult days

Tori Reim’s son was in Kabul, and how she got through it

The Reim family ??" Chloe, Colin, Duke and Tori ??" in a lighthearted moment. Photo Credit: The Reim Family

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Tori Reim describes herself as lighthearted.

"I am really easy going, and I try to see things from other people's points of view," she began. "I feel like too many people take life much too seriously."

Reim grew up on a ranch outside of Sahuarita, Arizona, a small mining town just south of Tucson and just north of Mexico. She was surrounded by her mother's relatives and her cousins, who were her best friends.

"We spent a lot of time outside building forts and riding bikes," she continued, and "swim team was my sport, and my favorite place to be was at the beach at our family cabin in Cholla Bay, Mexico."

She also added that her grandparents taught her the value of hard work and the importance of family.

As to work, Reim recently began working at Mince Mercantile in DuPont, and she volunteers as a battalion advisor for her husband's unit's Soldier and Family Readiness Group.

But it is the attention to family where her sense of lightheartedness - an understanding of the seriousness of what it means to have a family member serve in the military while not letting it dominate her life - has helped her as a military spouse and the mother of a son who is also on active duty.

With 22 years of service, her husband is Lt. Col. Duke Reim, commander, 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division here at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

With 16 months of service, her son is PFC Colin Reim who serves with Bravo Company, 2 Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Reim knows the seriousness of having her husband deployed into harm's way.

"My husband's deployments have always been planned months in advance, so there was a lot of time to process emotions," she explained.

But there was no time to process her feelings when her son was just recently deployed to Afghanistan.

"It was just a couple of days after he was notified that he was sent to the Kabul International Airport to support the evacuation efforts; I did not have much time to mentally prepare myself for him being in a dangerous location," she said.

She added that with both her husband and son she has experienced a range of emotions that run the gauntlet of fear, sadness and stress.

"But with my son, the one major stressor that was different was that I lacked control of the situation," she explained. "I was not able to get to him and help him if he needed me."

But then the spirit of her lightheartedness appears when she suggests what other spouses can do when they find themselves in a similar situation.

"Stay busy with work, volunteering or your hobbies. Avoid watching or reading the news, and make sure you have a good support system in place, ideally somebody going through the same situation," she concluded.

"Try to keep things fun - life is too short to be serious all the time."

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