Thursday, October 6, 2011

Adam and Afghanistan

Adam wakes up in tears. "Mommy I pray every night that Daddy will not die in Afghanistan." He says with tears streaming down his face. As much as I love what my husband sacrifices for us, I will admit, I absolutely hate the emotions that my seven year old must feel. He shouldn't have anxiety, fear, and the sense of danger. I immediately told him to go read Psalm 91. For those of you who are not familiar with that, I will post it below.

" 1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust.”

3 Surely he will save you

from the fowler’s snare

and from the deadly pestilence.

4 He will cover you with his feathers,

and under his wings you will find refuge;

his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

5 You will not fear the terror of night,

nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,

nor the plague that destroys at midday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,

ten thousand at your right hand,

but it will not come near you.

8 You will only observe with your eyes

and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”

and you make the Most High your dwelling,

10 no harm will overtake you,

no disaster will come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you

to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands,

so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;

you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;

I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble,

I will deliver him and honor him.

16 With long life I will satisfy him

and show him my salvation.”

We try VERY hard not to talk about OUR emotions in front of the kids. We do, however talk to the kids about daddy deploying. He had a friend at school that his dad was severely wounded in Afghanistan. He would say horrible things like, "if your daddy goes to Afghanistan, he is going to die." I am sure this child is just very emotionally distraught himself, but it doesn't help that he really terrified my little one.

SO... We sat down and talked about dieing. VERY few make it out of his world alive. Everyone will die. Daddy will die when God wants an excellent Daddy for heaven. Mommy will die when God wants her. Courtney will die when God wants her. Chloie will die when God wants her. And yes baby, even you will die when God wants you. It is all in Gods time.

I think that did give him some comfort. Whether we want to or not, we WILL die when God wants us to. My mom wrote a song when my brother Adam died when he was 6 weeks old, that gave me comfort. And to hear her sing it, today, brings me to tears.

An empty baby book

Was all he left behind

Except for the memories

That played in her mind

A baby so un-wanted

This un-planned child

But a momma who needed

This baby meek and mild

Born to die

We were born, born to die

So many questions

so many unanswered why's

His life had only just begun

she said as tears filled up her eyes

You see it just goes to show you

We were born, born to die

An empty wall in the bedroom

Were the crib used to be

And when ever feeding time rolls around

He's no longer there to feed

No more rocking him to sleep at night

no more happy little smiles

And a sister who is once again

The only child

Born to die

We were born, born to die

So many questions

So many unanswered whys

His life had only just begin

she said as tears filled up her eyes

you see it just goes to show you

we were born, born to die

Whoa! Just typing that makes me miss him. He would have been NINETEEN this year!

Anyway, I had to share his fear, I am only so sure he is not the only one.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I was asked by many to write my thoughts about reintegration. To tell you those, I must start a bit before that.

A few weeks before he was scheduled to fly home, he called, obviously excited, and asked if I was too. I said, "Of course I am excited. I have not touched you in months and CAN'T WAIT!" Deep down, I was NOT happy. I was NOT excited. I was NOT.

I suppose, I shall say that I am NOT resilient. Change hates me and I hate change. And to think that I CHOSE THIS… or did it choose me? It felt like he JUST left. I JUST got the hang of him being gone. I FINALLY had a routine!

I was scared, annoyed, unsure, and doubtful that it would, quite frankly, work!

We, like MILLIONS of other military families, are a blended family. He was married before and while he was in Iraq for the second time, she cheated on him (or so everyone thinks). They had 2 children. I was married, and we had two children. We both divorced, and somehow found each other, and had one child. So five children. 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3. We have not seen hide nor hair of my ex husband in YEARS, and so Andy has taken on the Daddy role. My two do not remember their biological father, and to be honest, it is for the best.

Now that we have that out of the way, we can now focus on the topic at hand.

I attended several reintegration briefings. They were all very much the same. We were handed folders full of pamphlets containing pictures of families with children or soldiers hugging their wives. The pamphlets gave very general advice, such as Be Patient or Expect Unusual Feelings. OH! And don't have sex the first night. HA! I think everyone broke out in hysterical laughter.

Really? I should expect unusual feelings? Good thing I read that pamphlet or I would have had no idea what to expect.

Oh wait. I did have no idea what to expect.

The briefings made it sound like EVERY SINGLE soldier was going to come home with PTSD and could potentially freak out with very little provocation. From what I could gather, Andy was going to want to sit with his back to the wall and facing the door in every room he entered; he was going to dive out of the way of each piece of blowing trash; or he was going to withdraw completely and start drinking heavily. Which I found rather annoying, since he detests the stuff.

I did understand that they had to bore us with DEATH BY POWERPOINT. Queue death tunes! Some soldiers REALLY do have problems, but NOT my soldier. NEVER.

Exactly who WAS coming home to me? According to EVERYONE and their mother, even mine, he would change. He would be some different person.

So the day came that he was coming home. He would be home at MIDNIGHT! So I had like, ummm... ALL DAY to suffer. I had everything perfect and ready to go. The girl’s dresses were made and Adam's outfit was laid out, both of which, no one wore. They ended up wearing pajamas.

He’s home. And let me tell you. Things were ABSOLUTELY perfect. Just like I thought. PERFECTION!

Then… we got in the car, and went home.

This thing, soldier, MAN had come into MY DOMAIN! My house. It was definitely eye opening to know that … things were not perfect… FAR from it!

“Why is this not where it was?” he often said. I found it much easier to “cope” with deployment if I made the house MINE. I changed it… ALL!

We really did not get a honeymoon period, because we were constantly bickering. About nothing in particular, but everything all the same. He came home a new man. And I did not like it! ONE BIT!

He was usually VERY compassionate. Making sure I was okay, the kids were okay… Things like that. NOW… it was all about him. Don’t get me wrong, I do like that he was concentrating on himself, however, he rarely asked about the kids and I. Rarely wanted time with us, rarely anything really.

He was this new… man. This man, CHANGED! “You don’t know what I went through over there.” He would confide. And he was right… I didn’t. Did I want to know? Honestly? No.

I did want him to know how hard it was for me, not because I wanted pity or something like that. I wanted him to know what I went through and what I accomplished, BECAUSE I CAN DO IT! For no other reason.

I was so humbled to know that I can do it, for a year. Though I had the paycheck, and the “support” every once and a while, I DID IT!

A few months after he returned home, he began to get so angry. Angry at me, I could handle, but the kids was just too much. Seeing my babies hurt because their daddy was gone was just heartbreaking. I tried everything I could to make it better, I thought. Constant anger outbursts, days of the silent treatment, immaturity, I can go on and on.

I would love to say that it subsided and we are great now! I can tell you that, we are trying. I we are doing everything in our power to get “us” back to ‘US.” I know that every time he deploys, he leaves just a little bit of him in that war.

He is not the same husband I sent to war.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

How do you think I feel?

So, we are sitting here and watching "Welcome Home," the show that I love because families are being reunited, but HATE because it is so sugar coated. Anywho, their was a segment on a mother that was in Afganistan. I made a statement, "I don't know how women can do that." My husband, snots back, "Well you think it's easy for me?" Well yes, I DO! Or DID! I did not think about that. I saw the tears when he left, I saw the tears while he was gone, I wiped the tears when he came home. I SAW THAT. It broke my heart. I was so wrapped up in my own wallowing sorrow that I somehow did not see how much HE WAS hurting.

Well let me begin by saying that I am not a wife that shrugs off his feelings because he is a man. I know PLENTY of women that do. Me? Not so much. I cherish that my husband is man enough to cry.

I suppose the stages that he went through before deployment is what brought me to the conclusion that he was honestly excited to go to war, for the third time. He seemed so excited about packing. Everything was packed so perfectly, like he had done it a thousand times before. I hated that he was so "happy" to be going. I hated that he was so happy to be leaving the kids, AND ME, with them.

Little did I know, he too was dying inside.

I never thought. For him, a daddy, a husband, somebody's everything, was so scared to leave what he called home. His comfort. His family. HIS EVERYTHING.

It was just as heartbreaking for him as it was for us. While we were praying to keep him safe, he was praying to keep us safe. While we were worrying about him, he was worrying about us. Yes, he did not have the kids, but to HIM that was scary! I am sure he knows that I am plenty capable of taking care of three children by my self, however, that did not stop him from(when we did talk) making sure that the doors were locked, windows locked, car was working right, on and on. He was being the husband he wanted to be, just from thousands of miles away.

To cut this blog short, so I can snuggle with him before he has to go to bed so he can awake at 0330, when we reunited, not only was I so relieved to have him in my arms. So was he. He was comforted to know that we too were okay. That we were safe. The kids were well fed, and I assure you, they were! HA!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A poem I found!

There is discipline in A Soldier
you can see it when he walks,
There is honor in A Soldier
you hear it when he talks.

There is courage in A Soldier
you can see it in his eyes,
There is loyalty in A Soldier
that he will not compromise.

There is something in A Soldier
that makes him stand apart,
There is strength in A Soldier
that beats from his heart.

A Soldier isn't a title any man
can be hired to do,
A Soldier is the soul of that man
buried deep inside of you.

A Soldier's job isn't finished after
an 8 hour day or a 40 hour week,
A Soldier is always A Soldier
even while he sleeps.

A Soldier serves his country first
and his life is left behind,
A Soldier has to sacrifice what
comes first in a civilian's mind.

If you are civilian -
I am saying this to you.....
next time you see A Soldier
remember what they do.

A Soldier is the reason our land
is 'Home of the free',
A Soldier is the one that is brave
protecting you and me.

If you are A Soldier -
I am saying this to you.....
Thank God for EVERY SOLDIER
Thank God for what YOU do!

For Andy!

No matter where you go or what you do
always remember I'm right there with you

I'll be there in the morning when you rise
and in the evening when the moon fills the skies

I'll be there in your thoughts and in your dreams
keep in mind no matter how bad it seems

And if you should need me I'll be easy to find
just search all the memories you have in your mind

I ll be with you always as I was from the start
I'll be there in the love we've shared in your heart
Some people wonder how I do it,
Why I wait for this man.
Because Im proud of what he does,
I love him because I can.

This "Toughest Job" they speak of,
I volunteerd for it.
I promised I would support him,
He knows I'll never quit.

Camoflauge from head to toe,
He's my hero through and through.
Standing there so tall and proud,
I love my soldier, it's true.

While he's gone, the days grow long,
The nights are even longer.
I try to tell myself everyday,
This distance will make us stronger.

It matters not how far he is,
Nor how long he is gone.
He knows Im waiting with open arms,
Here for him when he comes home.

But for now I patiently wait,
I take it a day at a time.
No matter what I know it's worth it,
Because I can call that soldier Mine.

Monday, November 9, 2009

He Fights

We look on with tear filled eyes
As he leaves on that bus
Today he is heading for Iraq
My husband fights for us

You're there with your husband
in a warm bed at night
I am cold, and all alone
Mine has been sent to fight

"This war is nonsence"
you say this is true
don't worry, you'll live on
My husband fights for you

Your daughter smiles at him
as daddy comes through the door
My Chloie only sees pictures
Her daddy's off to war

"Are you proud of your son?"
She smiles and says "yes sir"
She feels safe at night now
Her son fights for her

Adam fell off his bike today
his elbow and knees are sore
No daddy yo kiss them
His daddy's off to war

Courtney misses her daddy
they used to laugh and play
she doesn't understand why
Daddy's been sent away

"Army Daddy" is what you
tell them to call him
He loves them more than ever
Their DADDY fights for them

This man, soldier, daddy and husband
to my heart, he holds the key
He's my love, my life, my hero
My husband fights for me!