I wrote this in February of 2011 for my English class I finished it the week my husband (Chad Eppinette) left me and our child because he thought we would be better without him. It was read by my sister at his funeral after he took his own life in July 2011. This poem/essay means a lot to me and it has very personal meaning. I hope it touches someone's heart and really reaches out to someone in need.
According to the Webster Comprehension Dictionary, terrorism is defined "as the act of terrorizing. A system of government that seeks to rule by intimidation or unlawful acts of violence committed in an organized attempt to overthrow a government." The problem that I have with this definition is that it is so simple. It is meant to be taken literally with no room for interpretation. Terrorism has taken a new meaning for the United States of America. Terrorism use to be thought of randomly and only related to foreign countries. It wasn't something that we thought of everyday. It is not just an act of violence to overthrow a government. Terrorism is a way of life for many people, a constant haunting ghost, and an unseen force that affects everyone it touches. Terrorism is generally defined as a physical act of violence. It is never defined for what it really is... A constant internal raging war.
Terrorism is about making an impact on society and its goal is to affect the society as a whole or disrupt the peaceful existence.
As a military spouse for six years, I can empathize this definition. Of those six years, my husband was serving in Iraq for three of them. I know firsthand how terrorism affects people and families. It is not just direct physical attacks on our security, but mental attacks on our stability and way of life.
Terrorism for me and my family is a way of life, a constant change; not knowing what will happen next. Terrorism is having your family ripped apart. It is living everyday not knowing if your husband will come home. It is waiting on a phone call from someone to tell you your husband has been wounded. Terrorism is the unknown and it doesn't end when the war is over, instead it follows you home. It lurks in the corners of your security, stability, self-esteem, and trust. It is becoming a one parent household in a house that use to be two. It is welcoming a soldier home that you don't even recognize, a new person than one than the one who left you for war.
Terrorism is a constant cycle of sadness, depression, and fear. It is wondering if the person you love will ever wake up. It is not sleeping in the same bed with the one you love. It is your child seeing you cry and being your comforter instead of you being theirs. Terrorism is doing it all because the other person you are supposed to be doing it with is gone. It is growing up fast and alone. It is being a mother, father, and counselor in one. It is not knowing who you are because you are trying to be everything.
For my husband, terrorism is death. Death because of the people he had seen die, the people he may have killed. Death was the constant sea he swam in. My husband, Chad, once said, "A lot of people like to play in the rain, but I liked to play in the mortar fire. I tried everyday not to come home." It is living with the choices he did or did not make. It is never being the person he thought he would become. Terrorism is paranoia, one that everyone and everything is dangerous.
It is insomnia, because when he slept, he remembered. Terrorism is feeling like you have no purpose, but to kill, because they trained him so well. It's being the father he told himself he wouldn't be. It is never waking from an endless nightmare. Terrorism is addiction or self medicating, anything to escape the pain.
It is a love-hate relationship. You love to hate it, but you can't hate what you love. Terrorism is every scar, every tear, every battle lost or won. It is every soldier, friend, or foe. Chad once said, "Terrorism is me."
Terrorism has struck, it started in a war years ago that followed us home. It exploded on our lives and it has battled and destroyed many aspects of our life. The effects of terrorism will never disappear. It hid in the shadows just waiting for the day it could claim it as its own. Terrorism is a way of life.
I am not the only wife, just as my husband is not the only soldier, and we are not the only family.
Many governments my describe terrorism as a political attack and it may stem from politics, but the roots go deeper than you can ever see.
In Loving Memory of Chad Eppinette
Submitted and written by: Kacey Eppinette