Outside Looking In

Except for the occasional (negative) story buried somewhere on page 25 (or unless you read Milblogs), you hardly ever hear about Operation Iraqi Freedom any more. No one even calls it that — it’s just called “the war”. But it is important to remind people that the War goes on and that there are still soldiers — importantly, Citizen Soldiers — who are still deploying and leaving This World for That World… and leaving loved ones to carry on Between Two Worlds.
Talking to Stacy and her new daughter-in-law Kristy today and reading Melinda’s posts made me all teary-eyed and I was reminded of that idiot Pennsylvania Congressman’s comment a few years back about how the War “needed to get personal”. How much more personal can it get than mothers and wives and children saying goodbye to their much-loved soldiers? How much more meaningful can it be for those who must sleep alone and/or be the single parent or to worry about their sons and husbands and daddies for the next twelve or fifteen months??

Stacy and I talk regularly and I am in touch with a number of other milmoms and milspouses via email… and while I have most definitelybeen there, and absolutely done that“, I am not “there” this time as I have no relations deploying this year. I am not discounting the Navy son’s current at-sea deployment… but he’s not boots on the ground and neither he nor we will worry whether the contracted and meagerly-paid Ugandans providing security have been adequately trained and armed, nor will we worry whether our son will have hot meals, safe showers, or whether he will have to duck for cover. Nor will we worry whether his combat or security operation has all the requisite Iraqi approvals. (As if just serving in a combat zone were not worry enough!!)

Of course, we and our daughter-in-law and their daughters miss our son (and he, us and them) while he is deployed; and, of course, we worry because being on a large Navy ship has its dangers and perils. But this time — with these deployments — I feel on the outside looking in. Yes, my heart speeds up when I think about Stacy’s son Michael going again (he was last deployed when Noah was in Iraq) and when I think about Melinda’s DH; and yes, I am often misty-eyed trying to find the right words of encouragement and solace for my close personal friends as well as for any number of moms and parents who email. My heart especially hurts for Melinda’s daughters who must do without their Dad’s loving arms and whispered encouragements and who cannot fully understand their father’s Mission and commitment to it. I am saddened that Kristy will miss out on this most precious first year of marriage and I pray that this deployment will serve to strengthen their bond for all the years to come.

Make no mistake: talking to Stacy and thinking of Kristy and Melinda brings back every twinge, palpitation, caught breath and skipped heartbeat. While all of us who have experienced the part of being HERE while they are THERE like to fool ourselves that we have buried and dealt with those emotions, they are never far away; the waves of fear and the tingling of tears are much closer to the surface than we care to admit, and they rush up and smack us and consume us with the least bit of prodding. But.it.is.not.the.same.

I will most definitely be there for Stacy, Kristy, Melinda, M1 and M2 and their Guys just as they were there for me and My Guys. And I ask each of you to re-commit yourselves to taking REAL efforts to support our Troops and let them know that we have not forgotten them. You can start by stopping by Stacy’s and Melinda’s blogs and letting them know that they and their soldiers are in your thoughts and prayers… and then GO HERE. You can make a difference.

x-posted at Some Soldier’s Mom

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