Sunday, March 6, 2011

One Moment More...

He left again a few weeks ago.  This is his fourth deployment and our third together.  You try to say that you are used to it and you play strong until you are driving away and then you let the tears fall.   Then you just pretend everything is okay for as long as you can.  I knew it would all hit me when I least expected it.  Just want to share a song I came across that perfectly conveys what I feel like when it's time to say goodbye, right at the very end when I have drive away and see him standing around with the other soldiers through the windows. The gear trucks loaded up and idling, soldiers smoking, and me driving away in the dark.  That might sound romantic, but you don't really want to be there. A goodbye like that is a hurtful place to be, when you want just one more second, one more moment.....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Eagle has landed

He's home. I am so, so relieved and so ready to be a family again.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Parallel Universe

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and wonder what's happening in that other parallel universe when he's living. Now that I'm wondering this from Germany instead of California like I was last time doesn't seem to make me feel any closer to his world. It's 2:42 am right now, so he must be sleeping but I'm still curious about the smell and temperature of the air he's breathing in. I wonder what might have happened today or what conversations he had that made a part of him grow or change perspectives. There are so many things that I will never know about, so many conversations about the small details of our parallel lives I know will never be recounted. The collective weight of the significance of these many seperately experienced moments wakes me up in the middle of the night.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Another Tour

I feel bad that I never posted about him coming home, especially since he's already leaving again. I think somewhere inside I knew that homecoming is only a temporary state when you are married to a soldier.

We moved to Germany shortly after he returned from Iraq. We've been here since December and loving living in our cute town off post. We have had a chance to travel and enjoy the world. I found a job and my son made friends at school. I love being in Europe!

My husband is in a unit which affords him some great training opportunities--which means that since we've arrived in Germany, he's been away at times. The last training took him back to the states for three months. His first day back at work, they told him he'd be deploying to Afghanistan in a matter of weeks.

So he's back, but really, he's gone again and here I am again.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Time is our Teacher

"Time is the cruelest teacher; first she gives the test, then she teaches the lesson"- Unknown

When this deployment first started, I was bracing myself for 18 month. That hit me like a load of bricks. I couldn't even talk to my husband about it for two days. For some reason, the thing I thought about most was that I was 32 and when he came back, I would be 34. I realized that we wouldn't be able to have a baby of our own together for what sounded like such a long time.

One of the greater disappointments for me to deal with during the deployment was the over all sense of the loss of time. Think of all the things that happen in a year plus of time, you know? You can't get time back, not even by grieving its loss. Poof! Every second that passes is just gone. Mason Cooley said "regret for wasted time is more wasted time." And he's right- you can sure waste a lot of time simply waiting for the time to pass. Looking back, I wonder if I wasted too much time idling my engine.

Now, just simply as it began, all that time is behind us. What seems like it will never end when you are enduring, well, it will end, my friend. So keep looking forward, but not so much that you don't stop to consider the lessons you are learning along the way.

Monday, May 26, 2008

While You Were Sleeping

Today seems like the right day to share an R&R memory from months ago. At the time, it felt too raw to write about because my husband had just left back to the sandbox after being home for 17 days. That 17 days of joy was just what we needed after being apart some 8+ months--it recharged and reinvigorated us for the second half of the deployment. I found it much tougher to "let" him go back after R&R, but I tried not to cry too long when we went to bed that night.

He had an 6 am flight out of San Diego the day he had to go back, so we woke up around 3:15 to have our last morning together. After, I made coffee while he laced up his boots and gathered everything. Our son woke up and stumbled out of his room to say goodbye again. I got dressed and cursed the person whose idea it was to start flying planes before the sun was even peeking out from the horizon.
When we got to the airport, there was a few piles of young Marines sleeping in the hallways near the USO, which wouldn't open for several more hours. They either arrived on a red eye or were there to make sure they caught their own flight back I'm sure. It broke my heart to see these young men without a send off that befitting to their service. No a wife or parent or volunteer or camera....just some lady riding up an escalator with her husband at the end of R&R taking a picture with her cell phone. Did America know the USO isn't always open?

Moments later, I was standing quietly with my husband, waiting for the moment when I would have to let go of him again to go do what he does when I am safely asleep. I held my emotions in as I strained to see out the window, hoping to somehow see his head in one of the plane's windows. It was too dark, but I pressed my face against the glass anyway hoping that somehow he was looking out the window and could see me still there for him as long as I could be. It was so dark that I lost sight off the plane as soon as it taxied off.

When I came home, our son was sitting on the couch, crying softly which he said he'd been doing since he pretended to go back to bed that morning. We didn't say much, he just hugged me and we stayed on the couch the rest of the day, indifferent to the tv and napping intermittently.

America, while you were sleeping, thousands of soldiers and marines were getting up early to catch their their early bird flights back to Iraq. While you were sleeping, America, a young marine was sleeping next to his cargo bag to catch his flight out to someplace far away. Before dawn cracked on your horizon, men were getting up at 3 AM to make love to their wife one last time and kissing away her tears. They were hugging their half-asleep kids, feeding the dog, and buttoning up their ACUs as if today were just another day of work.

While you were sleeping, America, your military was already awake and keeping watch over you.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Light at the End of the Tunnel

It's now been 11 months and two weeks. Even though time has suddenly slowed down, I think that this deployment might really end. We're PCSing to Germany when he gets back, so there's a lot of action that will take place once he's home and so much to look forward to. It's kind of funny how we're planning such major life changes (a move out of the country and pregnancy) via email and instant message but you get used to it. my husband and I have adapted pretty well by using the Tony Soprano philosophy of life-"Whaddaya gonna do?" I mean, what can you do anyway? You just have to keep going and do the best you can under the circumstances.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Live...from Baghdad

I had a dream that the war lasted so long that they started letting wives go to Iraq to visit with their husbands in a secure compound of shared homes. It turned out that when I got there, I realized my husband had been working 18 hour days since he got there. I didn't get to see him very much, but the four hours of sleeping next to him was worth it.

When I realized he would be coming home, I blocked out the sounds of mortars exploding in the distance and went in the kitchen to see what I cook him for dinner. Food was scant, all I could scrounge up was a peice of fronzen chicken breast, half a red pepper, half a green pepper, and an onion. When I tried to cut the green pepper, I saw that it was rotten and I was so disappointed that I couldn't cook him a favorite dish with Indian spices. Instead would have to make him a basic stir fry out of chicken and onion (I later thought this meal symbolized something else about deployment - you do the best we can under the circumstances, but it's never really what you want to do.

Suddenly, it was night time and he still wasn't back from "work". I was in the living room listening to a television reporter interviewing other wives about what it was like to be sitting there waiting in the living room while at the same time knowing your husband was in danger. Some of the women wept as they told their stories, others nodded their heads in understanding.

When it was my turn to be on camera, I told her I wanted privacy and didn't want to talk about this in front of everyone. The reporter seemed excited, as if she knew she was going to get a heartwrenching soundbite for the evening news. She said "I'm going to need more cameras in here!" and went with me into our dimly lit bedroom. She asked me, "So what is the hardest part was about your husband being gone so long?" I looked around at the empty windowless room and said "Shhhhh. Listen. This is what it feels like." At first, she was puzzled by the silence, but then she looked around the bare bedroom walls and felt starkly alone.

The dream ended the moment I sensed she felt my loneliness as her own and somehow heard the sound of the mortars I hear in my head at night sometimes. She got really quiet, looked around at the bare bedroom walls and signed off, "This is Christiane Amanpour. Live...from Baghdad."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

When They Don't Call Home

Reading in between the newspaper headlines, I put two and two together and I know why I haven't heard his voice lately. I need no explanation. I don't like to actually talk about "it" with him--where he is, what is happening there. I don't ever tell him that I heard about the surge of rocket attacks in Location X, or that I "get" the significance of activity in Location Y. When I hear those things, I know that the probabilities of his safety are being recalibrated with different numbers. I deduce from the shift of the political winds, that there will be changes in his world over there that will possibly trickle down into mine. Even though I still keep my phone close like I did in the beginning, I know not to expect any calls.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Faces of War

Having a longtime interest in military history, I've developed an interest in combat photography. I have a small collection of old photographs and of course, have an appreciation for how closely I can 'see' the war from the comfort of my home computer. When there's a situation "over there," we can see both pictures of it online almost instantaneously. Yet there are so many faces of this war that people will never see.

My friend Andrea's little boy has taken to sleeping with this soft family photo album that contains pictures of his deployed daddy. She's found him sitting there more than once, calmly fingering the pictures of him and his dad. He smiles, he plays with it, he likes to sleep with it.

Sometimes when I feel sad, I think about the way other families are sharing in this experience. I think about what it must be like to be Andrea, walking into a dark room to check on your son and experienceing the bittersweet moment of finding that he's sitting there with his little book, giggling at pictures of him and his dad.
I want to know what this little boy is thinking and I want to know the secret of the peaceful knowing I see in his little face. Where can I get some of that? I can't help but wonder if this what God's love looks like in a baby's life.
Where is God in the middle of a war? The evidence of divine grace in war time seperation can be so very subtle, but it's what I see a reflection of in this picture. A silver lining to a dark cloud in a sky of many dark clouds.
If you only look at the clouds, that is all you'll ever see. Sometimes you have to look at their edges to find what you are supposed to see.