This is from a very good friend. We held each other up during the longest 22 months of our lives. My husband was deployed in the same unit as her son… and we spent alot of time talking, crying, laughing and plotting. I miss you!
Well, here I sit in front of the lap top staring at the blank page in front of me. I want to help a good friend who has been my crutch through the most difficult time of my life. She has given me an assignment and a deadline (which I have missed over and over again). But yet I just don’t know where to start so I can share the most heartbreaking yet proudest time of my life. So please forgive the spelling and grammar errors and please don’t judge me if I jump around a bit. I will try and take my experience and share it so you will know you are never alone in this war called parenthood or in the parenthood of war.
I will never forget the day he was born, the day he took his first breath I started holding mine. He was hyper-active, never needed more than 2 hours sleep, talked none stop from the time he opened his eyes until he closed them at night. Teachers begged me to medicate him because they just didn’t know what to do with him. I didn’t, we home schooled and he turned out to be a wonderful teenager (well as wonderful as they can be while doing everything in their power to drive their parents crazy). He did all those boy things, dated and broke up with girls, learned to drive and crash a car, missed curfew now and then but he was growing up and we were proud of the man we could see him becoming. He knew that we could not help much if he wanted to go to college so we had always told him he had to participate in finding a way to pay for what ever education he wanted to pursue after high school.
He worked hard got good grades, was in debate and choir, acted in community theater and worked part time earn money for those things boys just have to have. Had every fade hair do and out fit and dreams of what his future would be. Most of all he wanted to become a “player” in the law enforcement or legal field. His name was Nick but his alter ego was always Jack Bauer. Over the years his friends and there were many, came and went like they lived at our home as well. I watched them play football in the yard, watch scary movies until dawn, laugh until they puked and play everyday. They ate dinner at my table and cried on my shoulder and I love them all.
We had always had an open door policy; we have had foster kids all the time and tried to provide a safe loving environment for any child who was in need. Several of these young boys were able to turn their lives around and finish school and look to their futures. We had options for everyone jobs, more school, what ever they wanted to do we tried to help them find ways to make it happen. Which brings into the picture the Army National Guard recruiter (boo hiss boo) sitting at the kitchen table one night. He was talking to one of the foster kids and helping him decide what his best option would be after graduation. He also talked to us and anyone else who happen to be there (about 10 kids all friends from Junior high on).
Nick was there but we thought he would never join something so strict and active, after all it took half the day just to get him out of bed! However we were wrong not only did 7 of the 10 join one of them was Nick! “Oh no your are not” “Oh yes I am” Oh no you are not” Oh yes I am” “You are not you are grounded and I will give you a note telling them you made a mistake and your Mother says you can’t join”! Well as we all know that was not the way it works. He joined and after some time explaining to us how this was really what he wanted to do and it made him proud to do it. What could we say we had taught him to be independent make decisions on his own and be a man, that was exactly what he had done, and I hated myself for it. This was not what my vision of his life was and how dare he do this.
He left a few days after graduation and we had no idea what was about to happen. The recruiters in their way prepare them to get to the swearing in and departure but who helps us deal with all of this who tells us what to expect and who do we turn to for answers to all our questions?……………no one……………crickets……………we were alone………..or at least that was what I thought. So he went to basic, we saw him graduate, go to language school, training schools, and all we got for information was him telling us everything was fine he was ok and not to worry, yea right. Over the next couple of years he met his wife and they had a son, Nick missed his birth (training) and just when we thought the training was finally done and he could settle down and get on to living the (please excuse the phrase, but) Bomb dropped. He had joined shortly after 9/11 and most of his friends had done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan but he had been spared while he was “training”
(more to come later)
It’s been an intense, crazy-busy couple of days around here but in a good way! We are so proud of our readers for jumping into action when it counted! Your cards, letters of encouragement,etc are definitely doing the trick and lifting Hunter’s spirits.!
We are extra proud of our PZ Tech Mama – Tammy for jumping in and helping out the point of contact for this endeavor! She responded to all the emails and phone calls to make sure that Hunter got letters of encourgment, cards,etc. and that the right information was being sent out! Tammy will continue to be working on this directly with Hunter, his Foundation, Hearts for Hunter as well as Blake Meaux, long time freind of Hunter and foundation executor. So, check out her blog for more information about that.
The biggest HAT TIP goes to 1SG Brian Disque! Brian made sure that one of his soldiers got the help and support that he needed by letting the blogosphere know about Hunter. Brian certainly is a shining example of what a 1SG should be!
I AM A FIRST SERGEANT
My job is people — Every One is My Business.
I dedicate my time and energy to their needs;
their health, morale, discipline, and welfare.
I grow in strength by strengthening my people.
My job is done in faith; my people build faith.
My job is people –EVERY ONE IS MY BUSINESS.
– US Army First Sergeant (1SG) Creed
Kudos to Matt at BlackFive, Milblogs, Michelle Malkin, Some Soldiers Mom, Liberal Army Wife, Army Household6, Mark Levinfan.com, Calistalee , Jihad Gene, NiceDoggie.net, and Greyhawk and many many more! Also a big thank you to everyone who emailed others to let them know about it! You guys picked up Hunter’s story as ran with it! We’re so proud to be part of this awesome blogging community!
Hunter’s friend Blake are working on the details for Hunter’s Foundation, Hearts for Hunter. The website currently is under construction but will be up & ready to go by Monday October 27th.
Also, Tammy recently started a list called HASMO (Help a Service Member Out). It is an email list comprised of Rapid Response Team Members to be able to help out soldiers like Hunter and many others. It will also be available to help out service member’s immediate families as well. You can sign up for it on Tammy’s site and its a free service!
So, thanks again and now back to our regular programming..
Last night on SpouseBuzz Radio, two of my fellow contributors here at Parents Zone and I talked with AF Wife about what it’s like to have a child in the military and the fear we feel for our adult children (LAW and I managed to monopolize the conversation and Tammy, we sooo need to make this up to you!!) In the 4 years that I have been blogging and through Lord knows how many troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan (I don’t think they’re adding numbers to the OIF____ label anymore), I realize and completely accept that it’s universal. Every parent has the same fear for their child/children… and it doesn’t make a difference whether it’s their first deployment or their third. We worry.
Back in December 2004 — before my son even left for his deployment to Iraq — I wrote a blog post about how You Always Worry and talked about how our worry changes as our children grow… as they learned to walk, to run, to ride, to drive… I was talking with a dear, close friend whose Army National Guard son is scheduled for his second deployment to Iraq in 2009 and who recently learned that his unit might go months earlier than originally scheduled. You could hear the worry in her voice and we talked about “the last time” when both our sons were deployed at the same time. I went back and read some of my blog posts back during that deployment, and I discovered how often worry was a topic. Just weeks before my son was wounded, I explained:
It’s a constant 24 hour a day worry that wears on you, grates on you, weighs on you. It’s physically and mentally exhausting. I don’t always realize it but sometimes I wonder why I’m so tired some nights or why I can’t sleep most nights… It’s the worry. The wear and tear of it. It’s like the drone of a motor always on or the hum from fluorescent lights… always there… always present… even when you’re doing other things or thinking other thoughts… it’s THERE. The worry is always there. I know other moms and dads and wives and husbands and sisters and brothers will understand what I mean.
Last year I was speaking with a Major General who is the son of a retired Army Colonel and who is also the father of a fairly new Army Lieutenant. He told me that he had been in the Army 32 years and married for 31 of those… and through his many deployments over his career, he always told his family not to worry as he waved goodbye for one assignment or another to dangerous parts of the globe… but he said it was a whole new world when it was he who stood on the front porch as his own son told him not to worry as he left for his first deployment to Iraq… he told me that sending his child off to war was the hardest thing he had ever done.
So, while the media may be ignoring the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (unless, of course, there is some political point to be made), I know in hearing from parents, spouses, friends and families of our Soldiers and Marines that these are still universal emotions for the families of those who serve. And it matters not whether our children are single, married, divorced, have children of their own… parents STILL worry.
I also know from experience, that a burden shared, is a burden lightened. I know that right now people are consumed with worry about the economy and the election… Lord knows there is plenty of worry to go around. I just ask you to take a moment and remember our troops deployed around the world, about to be deployed and those who are home (because we know that for some the battle doesn’t end on the battlefield)… say a prayer, have a good thought, generate positive energy — whatever it is you do…. remember our Guys… and their families…. thank a veteran… say a kind word… call someone you know who is worrying. It will make your day.
x-posted at Some Soldier’s Mom
After some brainstorming this past weekend in Virginia Beach, LAW and I put together a few questions to help get a better idea of what YOU want to see and read about. We came up with with 5 questions. It will be a blog series of what other parents & family members want to know, their experiences, etc.
Of course, being the techmama that I am… I put together an online survey for all of you to take. It’s actually 10 questions and should only take about 5 minutes to complete.
Will you help us out?? click here to complete the online survey.
As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org