Nancy McKeague told CNA that “it would seem that whenever Kelly would leave and be gone, something pretty dramatic and traumatic would happen in our life.”
Speaking about a time when their son had an asthma attack in the middle of the night, Nancy McKeague said that she grabbed all her children and went to the emergency room, spending hours there.
She noted that emergencies like her son’s asthma attack happened “quite frequently,” and she just had to remind herself to stay strong for herself and children.
Nancy McKeague said she constantly reminded her children, while her husband was deployed, to “just remember that Daddy is doing this not only for our family, but for our country, and this is a really great thing that he’s doing.”
“I know it's not easy for him to be gone,” she would say to her children, “but just remember we're just going to pray for Daddy that he comes safely back home.”
The video series is not exclusively for Catholic couples. However, the McKeagues, who have been married for more than 37 years, say in their video testimony that their Catholic faith was their “anchor” during Kelly’s military service.
“Having that strong faith connection, in our view, as we present in the video, was so crucial to us, not only surviving as a military family, but thriving as a military family,” Kelly McKeague told CNA.
Staying close to the sacraments was “crucial” in keeping them strong as a couple and as a family, Nancy McKeague added.
Other presenters in the videos include a Navy couple, Shannon and Kim Walker, who speak about interpersonal relationship; an Air Force couple, Jon and Lea-Ann Virnig, who discuss family and community life; and Father Michael Murphy, the pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Coronado, Colo. Reflection questions and other resources resources are included with each video.
While each of the couples in the series has a unique perspective on the challenges that military spouses face, they also share a common experience, the McKeagues say.
“The thing that I've always loved so much about our military life was traveling to new places, getting to meet many new people, building friendships that have lasted since the beginning of our time in the military, and people that we've kept in touch with through the years that have made us stronger and have made us grow in our faith more,” Nancy McKeague told CNA.
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“Those relationships and those friendships have been such a huge blessing to both of us,” she said.
“We were all in the crucible together, we were all experiencing the same challenges, and then some of those friends that Nancy talked about are from the chapel community, the Catholic chapel and they were lifelong friendships because they were honed in somewhat less than ideal circumstances, either the place or the situation or the operational tempo,” Kelly McKeague said.
“All of that starts to build a closeness with people who share the same uniform, but also share the same faith. So it's an added bonus,” he said.
Joseph Bukuras is a staff writer at the Catholic News Agency. Joe holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from The Catholic University of America. He has interned in the U.S. House of Representatives, on a U.S. Senate campaign, in the Massachusetts State House of Representatives, and at the Susan B. Anthony List. He is based out of the Boston area.