Sunday, November 11, 2012

*BEST OF DTB #225* The Catholic Defender's wife speaks out on Deployments

Being in the Army for nearly 26 years, galloping around the world as often as I have done. I want to recognize my wife in her contribution. We have three Son's who are currently in the Military. Between all of us we share in about 20 deployments:
The following is from Gigi: What do you say to the mother who is sending her son to war?

Maybe this can best be answered by reading the following letter from an anonymous Mom: "Some years ago when each of my sons were newborns and brought to me for the first time, I cried as I looked at them, thinking:

“God, what did I do to deserve something so beautiful and so perfect"?

Where did these overwhelming feelings of love and fierce protectiveness come from?? On that first holding of each I said a prayer, giving him back to God for safe keeping.

I know, they were already His, but, I guess I just needed that added assurance/insurance. I asked him to guide them and keep them safe .

For myself, I asked for the wisdom and knowledge to raise them to be good men.We went through the usual childhood illnesses/accidents, etc.

I dragged myself to football , basketball and baseball practices after working all day, continuously, for seemingly years on end. When they were sick I would sit up with them all night or hold their head when they barfed….

I know God loves tired, spent mothers because He sure made enough of us. We laughed together, cried together. I spanked, they cried. I cried in another room – (The younger one told me some years later that the saying “This hurts me more than it hurts you” was for the birds, but little did he know - it’s so true!)

We vacationed, got lost, rode bicycles, had an assortment of good, and bad, animals through the years (a bad one which immediately comes to mind is the skunk that the oldest brought home…….).

I could go on and on. All in all, the normal childhood. There’s no way to adequately cover all those years from childhood to manhood. They were good though, and I wish with all my heart that I could go back - when I could pull them into my lap and make all the bad go away, when my Mother’s Day gifts consisted of dandelions, painted rocks or Roly-poly’s with a fervent prayer that there not be a green snake in the box instead……when I kissed scraped knees and washed dirt beads from their necks at night.But, all of a sudden they were grown.

Where did the time go? Did I pull a Rip Van Winkle and sleep a few years? Such a mystery.They left for the Army the same week!! Empty Nest Syndrome set in with a vengeance and four months later the youngest one had orders to the Middle East.

The older one (stationed 1700 miles away) was worried about his brother and went to his Captain and said “Sir, I would like to go to Iraq in my brother’s place”. He was told “Son, it doesn’t work that way”. Shortly thereafter, he received his own orders and was in country a short two weeks after his brother. Now, some years later, they are NCO’s with troops under their guidance.

Presently they have 4 tours each under their belts and the youngest is leaving again this week for yet another year in the sand…….Lord, give me strength. Now. What do you tell the mother of a deployed son/daughter? Nothing, except:

”I’ll keep him/her in my prayers” and “You know I’m here if you need to talk”.

No more needs to be said. This is our own private hell.Each time I get that call or see one of mine getting on the bus or plane in full battle gear with the M16 slung over his shoulder, I want to scream for him to stop.

I can’t do that……I have to be stoic and not cry. I can’t let him carry that memory with him. It’s so hard – because a large chunk of my heart is being ripped out of my chest. The nightmares start that same night.

PLEASE, don’t ever say Oh, he’ll be fine”. Will he? In my anger over his leaving I might yell “How the hell do you know that??!!” Or, unless you’ve been in the same shoes, don’t say “I know how you feel”. DO you know???

Did you get those big sloppy kisses from him when he was little? Did you rock him all night when he had an earache? Did you go through the pain of his first love with him?..........So many things…..Just quietly be there for her.Myself, I’m more of a private person.

I want to be by myself to work it through and compute it. No conversations. I send my Guardian Angels with him, and I pray….a lot.

Just go ahead and give me the green snake for Mother’s Day!! I’ll gladly accept it if it will bring him home!"I guess my anonymity has been blown………

Yes, it’s me, Gigi. I’m so glad I work with soldiers, God bless and protect each one of them. They understand. Also, most of the employees are dependents or retired military, or they have a husband/son/daughter deployed or one who has recently returned.

I’m told a lot: “I’ll pray for him”……….mostly from other soldiers. Lord, thank you for my sons. Fine and brave young men that they are, it’s your doing, not mine.

Continue to keep your hand on them. Especially during this deployment or any that may follow.

I haven’t mentioned my soldier, my husband in this because I think I’ve expressed my fears/feelings previously about him while he’s in Harms way, but, you asked specifically about moms of deploying children.

God has really smiled down on me by allowing me these three special soldiers. Stay safe Don. You know you’re my rock. Sorry to be so wordy.

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