Friday, May 11, 2007

TDY: An open letter for Mother's day--update at end

Doc went TDY about 2 weeks ago, and when he did, I am pretty sure I build a static wall around myself of not feeling. It was only tonight, after two weeks of "down time" that I realized I had made quite a shield. I guess I am good at it. It makes me wonder if that is how I made it through the long deployment... Half dazed, half anesthetized. This is sheer speculation and a little Alaskan Amber talking here, but I wonder how many military wives and military girl friends go through the time a little numb to feeling but at the same time they are really self sufficient and great at:

a. putting other people first.
b. acting invinsible
c. tireless when it comes to helping others, and seldom asking for what they want.

Does any of this sound familiar?

I remember thinking.... in 2005, that I could be strong and "be there" no matter what. Of course the "no matter what" was such an unknown thing. In a way, how could I think otherwise? I was pretty naive....

It's hard to believe, but May 5th was our 2 year anniversary of getting together and neither of us mentioned it. I am not sure if we even spoke on the phone. I think we have known each other now for 7 years now....

The thing is, that with great risk comes great things... sometimes it is too much. If the only thing I had to worry about was Doc, it would be one thing, but my life has had its own twists and turns lately, and what can I do except try to cope? I have work, kids, a house payment, goals, and all are really important. It's quite complex.

I think it is hard to be true to yourself when things are bigger than you. To me, PTSD is bigger than I am, but right now, I need to be quiet in a garden reflecting on healing. It's a really strange time.....

With all that said, the couples struggling with deployment are going through their own crisis, and the thing about war is, when the tour of duty is over, for many of us, all the real battles have just begun. Just the battle of the VA was epic! The struggle to figure it out the survivor's guilt is another dimension. My speculation is that being Air Force or Navy is scary, but just not the same as air assault infantry or any of the Marine troops whose main job is to daily engage the enemy. Every job is important, every job, but I believe the Infantry medic type job is a recipe for great satisfaction and great mental burden.

When Doc came back he had tremendous survivors guilt, which occurs with every war, but this war's anonymity of IEDs really makes for a mind **** on guilt. I mean," if you were in one seat of the hummvee, then moved, and a bomb blew, it was meant for you,...... You should have died right?" That's survivor's guilt and it really sucks. The reason I was able to deflect it like teflon was my own experience. My twin sister died when I was a baby and I grew up with a heavy case of survivor's guilt. When I was going through it, I had no perspective on it and could only feel the burden. As I got counseling and spoke to someone who could help me name it and deal with it, I was able to put it away and learn that none of it was my fault. It just is.

It just is. I think "it just is" is a hard concept to grasp when society is always trying to make connections for us when there are none. For many people, "it was meant to be" serves the same purpose of perspective, but I find purer understanding in "it just is" and it isn't anyone's fault....let it go-

I think my own situation gave me the grace and strength to see Doc through his.

One thing I have learned is that things don't make sense, and trying to make sense out of them is like forcing puzzle pieces together from different puzzles. It can be done, but it isn't right. It is best to let it go. Let it go.

A place of strength isn't always a place of combat and engagement. It's hard to learn that sometimes being quiet, settled, peaceful about just being is the greatest place of strength. I think there are many faces of support, but one has to support the self too. Maybe it's like the oxygen masks on a plane. You have to put your own on in order to help others.

Anyway, be strong ladies, be strong because your life and other lives depend on it. Be strong and Happy Mother's day.

5/14/07- He's back, looks great and has a new tattoo. I will post pics if he doesn't mind!