Military spouses have it rough. They aren’t the ones who signed on to join the military, but they still have many aspects of their life dictated by the military, including where they live, when they move, and when they get to see their husband/wife. Being separated for long periods of time during training or overseas deployments, which can last nearly an entire year, would be hard for anyone to handle. Add to that the stress and worry about a spouse’s safety serving in harm’s way and it demands a lot of respect.
Being separated from one’s spouse can never be easy, but it is especially difficult during the holiday season. While there is so much celebration, frivolity, and joy all around, military spouses who are separated due to deployments must miss their loved one all the more.
For Mariah Clark in North Carolina, this holiday season has been a hard one. Her husband, Army infantry specialist Terrance Clark, has been deployed to Afghanistan for the past six months. To make things worse, she’s only had the chance to speak to him once during all that time. The thought of celebrating Christmas without her husband seemed impossible for Mariah.
“This is our first Christmas apart so it’s going to be weird,” she told WFMY.
Soldier and husband Terrance Clark felt the same way, and there was no chance that he was going to miss Christmas with his wife — he just wasn’t going to tell her that!
Instead, Terrance worked out a genius way to surprise his wife with a special homecoming just in time for the holidays.
Terrance was able to get home from his tour of duty a month earlier than Mariah knew. And knowing that his wife always carries around a cardboard cutout of his face to take pictures with, Terrance decided to sneak into the background of one of her photos while she was enjoying a local Christmas lights display.
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“I wanted to do something for her that would be a big deal to her,” said Terrance. “Something that would be really memorable.”
While a friend took a photo of Mariah and her cardboard cutout, Terrance jumped in behind her. When her friend showed her the photo, Mariah saw both her cardboard husband and her real one. The reaction was absolutely perfect!
“It’s incredible. It’s ridiculous,” Terrance said. His wife responded, “It’s one of the best feelings in the world.”
Watch this great holiday homecoming in the video below!
Jacob H. is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist who currently resides is West Michigan with his wife. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys writing, photography, mountain climbing, and camping.