Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Momism: Happy Birthday, Son


Dear Son,

Twenty-nine years ago I gave birth to you. To some people it seems like a long time ago. To me, it's like it was yesterday. I was young, scared and so proud. More importantly, I wanted to make sure you were taken care of:

It was a late night conversation between a woman and her God;
They were talking about the newborn lying in her arms.
She was begging for forgiveness as she thanked the Lord above,
Promising to keep her baby from all harm.

God said “Leave him to me, I'll protect him and stay beside him,
He'll always have a Father's love;
Don't you worry about the past, you just love him and guide him
I'll make sure he always has enough.”

Through the years He did just that and I was so proud of you just as I was your brother and sister when they came along. You were the perfect child, the perfect big brother and I was always so aware of how blessed I was.

Life wasn't always rosy. There was the time you were in the hospital for a bit with a cancer scare. I remember leaving the room and going to the chapel and spending four hours there praying. Suddenly, I felt that same reassurance I had been given in the hospital fifteen years earlier. I was the only one not surprised when your tests came back negative.

In a hospital chapel fifteen years later
Another late night conversation took place;
The woman was older, a heavy burden on her shoulder
And as she prayed the tears ran down her face.

And God said “Didn't I promise I would stay beside him,
He's always had a Father's love;
Don't you worry about his illness, you just love him and guide him;
And I'll make sure he gets well soon enough.”

I remember how that scare gave you even more courage and you set it upon your heart to join the Army. On your 18th birthday, you did just that. We had a lot of fun that summer, movie nights, game nights, going out to eat Chinese...me, you and your younger siblings.

Then came the morning of 9/11. You were about to leave for basic in less than three weeks. I woke you up, telling you what happened and pleading with you to get out of your commitment. I knew it was the start of something major. We had been attacked. You simply looked at me and said “No, Mom, it's more important than ever that I go, for you, my brother and the Munchkin (pet name for his sister). America is mine.”

Your unit was one of the first to go to Iraq. I remember the day you called because you walked a little girl to school for the first time in her life. I remember some dates vividly, when your unit was said to suffer it's first casualty on May 8, 2003, only to find it was a different unit, bringing survivors' guilt home to families as well...so thankful ours were okay but grieving for someone else's loss. I lived on very little sleep during 2003 and 2004.

There is a show today called Coming Home about surprise reunions. You did just that to us when you got a two-week R & R and showed up at the front door. I was so terrified that I wrote the poem that is in this post today that very night.

It was just five years later when a knock came at the door;
Through the window she saw a soldier and she was terrified;
For nine months ago, her son had gone to war
What news was waiting on the other side?

And God said “You gave him to me and I have stayed beside him;
He's always had this Father's love;
Out on the battlefield, My Hand was there to guide him
Now open up the door and hug your son.”

Today you are home but the war is far from over. You have a brain injury, PTSD and epilepsy. If I could, I would change so much and yet so little. I would change everything that led to you going to Iraq but I wouldn't change the young man who cared enough to go.

I've also learned something. I may be strong but I still have to remember I gave you to God when you were born. That keeps me even stronger and it helps me fight for your rights, you, my courageous son who didn't come home from war the same.

I love you and I truly hope to share many more birthdays with you.

Take care,
Take God,
Love, Mom

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Needing Support the Most

Just a few weeks ago, I found myself beginning to hit bottom. I was at a loss on so many things in life and where my life was headed. I was battling my own demons, while watching my husband struggle with his from combat.

As I stood in my living room holding a bottle of pain meds in my hand, there was a moment that an out of place thought ran through my head of "take one...or just take them all". Never, has anything like that even crossed my mind. I honestly stood there debating whether or not to take them all because I felt like I was hitting bottom.

I felt like I was just shattering into a million tiny pieces with no one to help pick me back up. I was crumbing with nowhere to fall and with no one to fall into. I have a large amount of friends that surround me and say they are here, but I had I admitted these thoughts to any of them they would have told me to go to the ER, seek emergency help or they would tell me how sorry they are that things are as they are. Neither of what I was looking for. I wanted an outlet. I wanted to scream and yell. I wanted a friend to just hear me out, to hear my thoughts and feelings as I was at a point that I had never reached.

I tried not too long ago to talk to someone and was told that since I wasn't suicidal or homicidal, I could wait to talk to someone in the mental health field because others had a priority. Well, damn, if that's the way people that feel such as I have lately, I understand how one can reach the point of suicidal thoughts.

No, I am not going to harm myself. I would never take my life, I do have a lot to be thankful for. I am just frustrated and honestly feel like I am an emotional mess on a never ending roller coaster. There is that small part of me that has wondered if my family and friends would be better off without me. My husband looked at me a month ago and said "You always say how unstable and explosive I am...Look at you". I felt like it would have been better had he just hit me. I think I could have handled that much better.

I sent my husband to war twice. I helped him pack his bags. I watched as the military took him to combat, to fight against monsters. I stood beside him through it all and as he came home a different man from the first deployment, just to deploy again a year and a half later after receiving no help and fighting himself from the hell that he had lived in.

His first deployment may not have left me without my husband physically, but it left me without my husband mentally. He returned home someone that physically and mentally was struggling, on edge, apprehensive, and battling his own fierce demons.

I have struggled with the severity of my husbands injuries and the fact that as the days pass, I realize he is not getting better and in many ways, becoming worse. I have battled my own demons that many do not know about nor have they taken the time to learn. Yet, I tend to put a smile on my face and act as though all is okay. I stand strong, when there are times I feel so weak. There are days I want to fall apart, that I want support...yet I have no idea how to even bring these things up to those that call themselves a friend.

It's those that appear to be the strongest, that often need support the most....

Submitted Anonymously