"But, nevertheless, the generation that carried on the war has been set apart by its experience. Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing." Oliver Wendell Holmes
"I'm sorry I must leave, but I must do what is asked of me by my God, my Country, and my Corps.. and so, the war blog begins, again." ~B
14 February 2010
And so it Begins...Again
"The next 12-14 months of my life will be spent away from my wife, away from my home, and hoping each day to see the next. Someday I will look back on this year to come as a tremendous life experience, where I learned valuable lessons and came away a better man, but I am not yet to that point. Instead, I am only at the point of sorrow for the months that lie ahead, and for the woman and home I leave behind...I'm sorry I must leave, but I must do what is asked of me by my God, my Country, and my Corps..." ~Bestie, USMC
A short time ago, the day that has so hung in our collective consciousness for the past few months-D-Day-arrived.
I essentially began the process of goodbye the when he left home after his last leave. It was the last time I got to hug him, to say the important things. But now the time has come for real. He has said his goodbyes to his wife, the sea bags are packed and loaded, the final phone calls in the United States have been made.
And so it begins. Deployment. Again.
Having been through this with him once before, at least I know what to expect. I can better predict his moods, what to send in care packages, and when he will need cheering up. There is some comfort in that.
But this deployment also has it's unknowns. It is a new country. New, perhaps more volatile, situations will be faced on the ground. And this time, Bestie is plus one. Bestie-in-law wasn't around during the last trip to a foreign land. This time, I get to support the both of them the best I can.
I find that it is still scary to send your best friend to war. There is an uncertainty that is uncomfortable. There is a knowledge that it will be some time before this changes. These deployments are freaking long....
But, I also know they are doable. A weight settles in your heart that doesn't lift until that plane touches down again in the United States. Its time to get comfortable again, with the knot in the stomach, because it will be a constant companion. There will be a lot of growth and change for everyone in the next year, that is inevitable. None of us will be the same people we were before this started. But this purgatory that is a loved one at war will eventually end, no matter how we feel on the bad days.
The tough part is that we do not yet know if the bad days will outnumber the good, or how bad they will be, for us and for him. We can hope for a quiet tour, but there are no guarantees. For Marines in Afghanistan, there are very few guarantees at all.
There is something heartbreaking, about that last call from an airport in the States. There is so much more behind what is said. The call is brief. There is some small talk, some necessary details to pass on, and then all too soon, time is up. There are other people to get a hold of in the time allowed. I end with a simple, travel safe. He says he will. There are emotions hanging in the air that neither of us acknowledge...
And so it begins...again.
My cell phone is now permanently attached to my body and will be answered no matter what the time, or what strange number appears on the screen.
The yellow ribbon has gone up on my door, my parents door, my grandparents door, and even the church's door to show that our Marine is at war once again.
Grandpa prayed especially for him at church today. That he would be protected, that his anxiety, worry, and fears will be eased, that he will have peace of mind, that He will guide Bestie's hands as he does his job to the best of his ability, for the leaders that send him into battle and make the small and large decisions once he is there. It says something about the moment, that Grandpa's voiced cracked, and he emitted a rough, shaking sob, before regaining his composure and praying that Bestie will be returned home physically and mentally whole.
The is nothing to do now but support each other.
Support our Marine.
Take one day at a time.
I posted this prayer, by a Rabbi, the last time Bestie went off to the scary places and I will do so again. It articulates what I want to say better than any other:
A Prayer for Our Soldiers
God of love, God of peace, Out of the depths of despair, we call to You. Our ears ring with the words "Do not fear." But our stomachs churn with the acid of doubt. Determined to preserve our shared world from the tyranny of terrorism, we turn to You for answers, for values, for strengths.
We stand before You with respect and concern for those who have been summoned to protect and secure our nation, our world. Give them the courage to meet the chilling stare of death...Return them safely to fulfill dreams unrealized so that they may bless Your name through the lives they live. May their efforts further the cause of peace throughout the world and bring us closer to the day when "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn of war anymore." Amen.