It sounds like the plot of Homeland… A soldier disappears, presumed dead; only to return years and years later to a lover who has moved on with her life.
It’s a conversation that couples end up having at some point; usually as a casual hypothetical or even a joke. “When would you move on if something happened to me or would you be sad forever?”
And while we’re all generous with our wishes for the other one’s happiness, the truth is we’re secrely hoping our lover would be so desperately wounded that they never move on, and instead remain devoted and alone for the rest of their lives. Right?
But what if all this wasn’t a hypothetical. What if a loss like this was your reality. What if it happened to you when you were only 19-years-old.
Because so it was for Monica Lee.
In June 2009, her boyfriend, Bowe Bergdahl, who was serving with the US Army in Afghanistan, finished up his regular check-in via Skype. Shortly after, Bergdahl went missing and was later confirmed as taken hostage by the Taliban.
For Bergdahl, what followed was 5 years in captivity and an unimaginably cruel and difficult existence. For Lee and Bergdahl's family, it was years and years of waiting for him to be rescued. They were sustained by only intermittent proof-of-life videos that the Taliban would distribute online.
In one of those early videos Bergdahl sent a message to his girlfriend, Monica.
“He said he wanted her to go with her life, and not feel like she had to wait. No one knew how long he would be held for. Emotionally, it was very trying for her. She was 19 going on 20 at the time. It was a lot more than most people have to deal with.” Allison Lee , Monica's mum, told the Daily Mail.
So Monica did, eventually. In 2012, she started a relationship with Justin Forsdick. She tried to move on with her young life.
Now, Bowe Bergdahl has been released and is back and safe on American soil. And Monica is in love with somebody else.