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    hope that no matter what difficulties arise in family, health, or finances, a family can survive it and get to the other side. 'How' is not just one response, rather it's an evolving idea. Solutions present themselves as you go along the path. As you seek the thing it is you want to achieve, so will an idea come to you. I do not attribute it to a god or a religion, though I may have one or both of those. This is life. Hope. Live with me,... 



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    Entries in 2003 (5)


    From Our Perspective Back Home 

    "My fellow citizens, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations, to disarm Iraq, to free it's people, and to defend the world from grave danger. On my orders, coalition forces have began striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war...we will bring freedom to others and we will prevail." -George W. Bush

    I don't necessarily love the focus on the imbedded media reporters in this documentary, but since they are the ones making this, there you go. It does highlight how it felt to watch the news reports constantly rolling in about the war in Iraq in 2003 during my husband's deployment, it does have the concentrated narcissistic media personality focus we sorted through to get information about our soldiers, it is exactly what we saw back home to try and make sense of what was going on. Watching it again still has the exact same terrifying feeling as it did then. At 24 minutes is where I remember feeling initially mortified, the Shock and Awe bombings on Baghdad and President Bush coming on air to announce what all of us already knew. That in itself is worth a watch, to hear what he had to say about why we were fighting, from today's perspective.

    "To all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces now in the Middle East, the peace of a troubled world, and the hopes of an oppressed people, now depend on you. That trust is well placed. The enemies you confront will come to know your skill and bravery, the people you liberate will witness the honorable and decent spirit of the American military." 

    *"From Our Persective Back Home" is a continuation of Her Story, which can be read in it's entirety here.


    His Everything Else


    I sat in the sunshine staring at my future, wrapping my mind into equations that lead to my ability to move on someday towards stability, possibly, maybe even an enjoyable purpose. He walked up, I didn’t notice him coming towards me until he was already at my right side, so close in proximity. He stood over me, bending in my direction to interrupt. I looked up at him as he said, ”Have you ever considered joining the service or the National Guard or Reserves to help pay for college?” All that was really in my line of sight was the pattern of his DCU's, his unit badge and name….
    I just said, “I’m a caregiver to a veteran, actually, who served in Iraq in 2003”
    He says “uh, wow” straightening up a bit, “thank you for doing that, wow, um, I didn’t expect you to say that at all.”
    …And still distracted by his uniform, I found I wasn’t sitting in Austin anymore, since he began talking really. I was standing in Ft. Campbell, dropping off by husband the last time I saw him in his DCU's, saying goodbye before he boarded his flight to Iraq, and all I could see was the 101st badge and all I wanted to do was reach my hand back into 2003 and hold my husband in his strength, and hold on forever and never let him go…not to war, not to Iraq, not out of my arms.
    That exam I was preparing for in 10 minutes, that future goal I was trying to work on, melted in my lap as the Sgt. walked away. “Well, here’s my card in case you have a friend you can give it to.” Really? I tried to put my mind back on what I was doing, but all I could do was hope for something impossible, a changed past.

    Now I have a test to take as tears flow from my eyes and I wish so much for the stronger days. The numbers I attempted to put on that paper came out as confused and disorganized as my emotions were, and had been for the previous 8 days. Ability escaped me, my mind and heart were flooded.

    Later I had the opportunity to be alone with my husband in our kitchen, explaining the story of the recruiter. This magical place, the kitchen, the same place we danced our goodbye dance on his way to war to U2’s “In a Little While," and he replies to me sweetly: “I’m home now.”
    I melt in his arms, crying, releasing so much fear and heartbreak from that event in 2003 where he departed and I knew he’d come back different. Except after 11 years, I experienced what that “different” was in more ways than I wanted to, and he’d been so far away all this time. Though his body returned his “everything else” wasn’t back,.. and then I realized that barely today, he did just get home. He was right, he’s home now. And I’m so happy he finally got here. I was lost without him…


    Then It Was All Up To Me

    One moment he is in country, the next moment he is ripped out suddenly, leaving brothers behind is not what they are trained to do. Transitioning from a war zone to a home with three small children in three days was not the best of situations for a combat experienced infantryman. He relinquished his weapon, he boarded that jet. You could say he was lucky, and nobody was prepared to deal with what would come of it all...


    April 7, 2003

    *Warning: Graphic Content

    Today I am fortunate enough to be spending Memorial Day with my husband, a former airborne infantryman who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom with the US Army. Perhaps it is because of the short time he has been out, short meaning 8 years. Perhaps it is just the heaviness of war that he does not necessarily look forward to this three day weekend and the arrival of Memorial Day as "Lake Day." His PTSD probably doesn't look forward to joining a large group of people to "celebrate" either. And we usually don't do that on this day. I took this picture from our trip out to a memorial and did it up for an article I wanted to post. This was his reaction when he saw the photo: 


    "Not all kids have the freedom to play safely in this world, my son does. That picture reminds me of these two boys in Baghdad. In that city, the Iraqi army left a bunch of mines in the soccer fields, and the kids wanted to move them out so they could play. They thought they were just big pieces of steel. The mine was the size of a flour tortilla box, and weighed about 15-20 lbs. One day, 2 kids started bringing a mine towards us, they thought they were helping us by giving it to us. It went off. When we looked up, the little boy was blown up, and his brother behind him was thrashed through the stomach causing his intestines to fall out. When they fall out they inflate. Their parents came, and he was still alive as they got home to his house. He was unconscious, and the special forces guy put him back together...he stitched him up and used blood from the parents. 2 weeks later as we left Baghdad to Mosul, we saw he was still alive and taking his medicine. He was probably eight years old. His bother was about 12 who died in the blast. The same age my sons are today, in this picture. 

    We tried to warn them, but they kept moving towards us to hand us this mine... We yelled "no no no no!" "Put it down" "run away, go away!" with drastic hand gestures. Nothing could make them stop until it exploded. I remember when that was now, just a few days before my birthday, April 7, 2003. 24 about to turn 25 years old."



    Iraq War, 2003