Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Fallen.

Writing a post like this makes me sick to my stomach.

When a deployed soldier passes away, the families of the unit he's/she's in are notified with a phone call. They can't always say the soldier's name; it's all dependent upon the DoD (Department of Defense) releasing the information and if the soldier's family has gotten their official notification.

But, and I don't mean at all to suggest those that get the phone call experience anything in the same vicinity as the pain those that get the visit from two uniformed soldiers do, the Army wives getting that phone call don't always need to know a name.

Our hearts immediately jump up into our throats. Our stomach turns. Our breathing takes the slightest of pauses.

I thought "Oh, God, what if it's Roberston, or Wilkinson?" [2 of Gary's good buddies, who I'm used to hearing referred to by their last names.

Last night, after we got the call, I talked to a wife of a soldier in Gary's unit. We said how our hearts were breaking for that poor wife. That poor wife was going about her business, and got a knock at her door. I almost couldn't type that last sentence. That thought brings tears to my eyes. A knock that would change her life.

We said how it made us worry about our soldiers just a little bit more. We didn't want to come off as selfish, but all we could do was be eternally grateful for the fact that we got a phone call, and not a visit.

Last night, I couldn't sleep. I went to bed late and got up around 6:30. Just woke up. Sleep is never an issue in this house, we eat it up, but the information I got late last night is sitting so heavily with me. Maybe it's because I'm not sure if the first soldier we lost had a wife or not, and this most recent soldier did? I mean, the best way I know how to relate is through that title (but, of course, I prayed for the family and friends of the previous soldier) . Maybe it's because Gary just left from leave I couldn't be more grateful that he was able to be here in the first place? Maybe it's because this is two deaths too many?

Whatever the reason, I'm up, while Jake sleeps, praying over and over my soldier can come home as safely as I sent him; that no other family get their world turned upside down.

Last night, I wondered what "civilians" feel when they hear about a death overseas? Does it carry the same magnitude it does for us? Even for me, someone who's very close to it, it still feels a bit surreal. Like, my heart aches for the surviving family, and it terrifies me that such horrible things are possible, but there's still that aspect that I just can't fathom. How dramatic it is to have those knocks at your door. It's like a movie. Something that simply can't be real because of how much pain it'll bring.

During Gary's second deployment, a soldier, who had been stop-lossed by about a year, was killed. He didn't have a wife, or kids, but a mom that is an inspiration. Once all the notifications had been made, her address was given to us. I, immediately, ran out and got her a card. I wrote how I was so very sorry for her loss, how Gary knew him, how I couldn't imagine her pain. But, I also wrote that I felt ridiculous sending her a card. How I wanted, so badly, to express to her my deepest condolences, but that I knew words would never fix what she was going through. That my sympathy would never be adequate. But, I hope she knew that she, and her family, was in my prayers.

This marvel of a woman sends a card back to me. She says how my words did matter. How they helped to ease her pain. How I'm an inspiration for standing behind my soldier. But, also that it's important for Gary to come home safely so that her son's death wasn't in vain. She even thanked Gary for serving & said she'd be adding his name to her prayers. Through all her pain, and I was told the story of how her in-person notification went--it was as hard as you'd expect, she handled it with such grace. Such a classy woman.

I pray the wife of our most recent fallen soldier can find even the smallest bit of strength to get through this time. I still can't even grasp how horrible it is for her. And, if I get her information, I'll be sending a card. If I've learned anything, it's that even though you may never completely understand what a person in her position is feeling, we're all in this together. It's a ripple effect.

I pray that no other soldier is taken before he gets to see his family again. They deserve that much.

1 comment:

Maytina said...

Wow. I have said so many times since getting married that I just don't know how army wives do it. Not just being away from your husbands when they are deployed (which I can see sucks hard enough on it's own!!) but also the awful possibilities. I live a very 'civilian' life. Very. Yet, the pit of my stomach drops when I hear about a death overseas. I just can't ever imagine what it would be like to get a knock at the door with two uniformed soldiers. I pray for their families as well.