The Reality of War and Family

This weekend was spent at a nice resort; listening to the Army National Guard folks discuss the Family Readiness Groups (FRG.) We arrived late Friday night, too late to really see what the area looked like. Saturday morning we headed to breakfast at Army time.

The girls had places to be, Rhayn attending the Youth Symposium and Gwen attending her first day of day care, EVER. Let me tell you that it was stressful for me. She hardly noticed that I wasn’t there the first day. When we dropped her off after lunch she walked over to her blanket and I was able to slip out easily. When I came back to pick her up, she was asleep on one of the ladies, who said she cried for her mama and finally wore herself out. The second day, she cried, screamed, fussed. I left, and let Will deal with telling her goodbye. When I picked her up, she help my hand a lot tighter then she had the day before.

Rhayn had an awesome time, they learned how to deal with stress with laughter, and the teenagers started a Laughter Club. There was discussion on how it wasn’t really “childcare” for the older kids. They were learning life lessons. She enjoyed it immensely.

We learned about all of the resources available to the Guardsmen and their families, before, during and after deployment. It was quite informative and I wish all soldier’s wives (and husbands) could hear the information I heard. Most of the people there were the FRG leaders and Commanders. I am not exactly sure why we went, I think Will’s commander wasn’t able to attend and thus sent someone in his place.

Aside from the good information that I learned this weekend, I was struck by the reality of war, the reality that my husband will be deployed. We will be forced to deal with his departed and vacancy but more difficult- his return. The women that were there spoke of difficulty reintegrating into a family unit, depression, PTSD, and many other issues. These were things I had not thought of. Our soldier husbands (and wives in some cases) leave and are forced to deal with things NO ONE should have to deal with, and then they return to a family who has no idea, a world that will not understand, and a life that seems surreal to them.

How do you pick up those pieces and put them back together?
How does the family become a functional unit again?
How do the husband and wife relearn communicate and work together after so much time apart?

I am scared nearly to tears about all of it. I spent most of this morning holding back so many emotions that I could not let go in front of those people. Every time they spoke of deployment I felt my heart fall, and my eyes water.

There was discussion about fathers coming home and how to reconnect with children who are scared of you, and afraid that you will just leave again. It was heart wrenching to imagine that my children will go through that. They will have to deal with not seeing and touching their dada, we’ll be able to talk to him, but not see him. He will miss birthdays, Christmas, milestones.

In a few months, he is supposed to go away for six months to a training class. It will be like a drill for deployment, although there will be parts that are not as hard, like he won’t be half a world away, just on the other side of the country. He won’t be in a war zone, and we will get to visit him once or twice. Still… he won’t be here. He won’t be able to just come home and watch the girls so that I can go out at night. But he will be safe.

How will I feel when he truly deploys? How will the girls feel? Will the FRG be a good resource for me? Will I need them, because none of my friends will be in the same situation? Even though they may empathize with me, they will never sympathize. I am glad for that. Deployment is something I wouldn’t wish even on my enemies’ family. (not saying I have enemies, I really can’t think of anyone I would put in that category, just, if I did, I would not wish this on them.)

As the sister of a deployed soldier, who is on his second tour, I have felt some of it already. I have seen changes in him, even though he is still Ender, he is different. He has seen and heard and felt so much, he will never be the na├»ve young man who left for his mission before Rhayn was born. I fear for his life whenever we watch the news and they say “Four soldiers killed in Iraq.” I get teary eyed when I hear that it was near Baghdad, I know that he is somewhere there. Those soldiers that died, they were someone’s child, brother, sister, wife, husband, parent, did my brother know them? Did he spend time with that person, and how does that death affect him? There are so many thoughts that run through my mind all of the time. There are so many things that I worry about. I don’t know how I will handle this, when it is my husband, the man I love and want to spend forever with, on the line.

I am so afraid, this war, this seemingly pointless war is killing off good men and women. Children will never know parents and all for what? I wish I saw some reason for it. I wish I knew the answer. What will we tell our girls when Daddy has to leave? At least it won’t be for a little while longer, but it will happen. It. Will. Happen. And I will be left to pick up pieces of a broken puzzle.


Alex's Human said...

Wishing you so much luck with this one and wish so much that you (and everyone else) wasn't being put into this situation. I hope that, if he does have to go, you're able to get some support...

I have a friend whose adopted son just returned from Iraq, and it's not going well.. He got married right before he left for Iraq and his now pregnant wife is living with my friend and her girlfriend.. He's not the same person and is getting NO help from the Marines..

How much longer until Ender comes home???

abeNanna said...

alex's human: Ender will be in Kuwait mid October, back in the states in November.

leaner - I don't know what to say except that we love you and Will. you need to rely on family and others as much as you need to.

Pen-nut said...

Leaner - know that we will all be praying for you and Will. We are all here to help you with whatever you need. I have two nephews out - one finally back in the states with his family, and one who just got married and left for Iraq this last week, so I know how tough it is. Don't try and handle it alone, let your family help you. We all love you guys!!

Mid-life Midwife said...

hugs to you and prayers for this war to end and to heal all those involved. prayers too for your brother's safe return.

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