No word for quite some time on re-entry. This makes a military mother nervous. Anything can happen during this critical time. No communication for several days makes a mother nervous. I may have to say it one more time in order for those around me to understand. I'm nervous. How do you relay this feeling of helplessness to people who couldn't possibly understand what it is like to have these feelings about their child because their kids will never face that situation. An ugly altercation this week with one of the clueless among us who wouldn't understand or is even capable of an empathetic thought about a military family even though they live in a military community brought home to me how foreign it is to be in the 1% of military families who have a loved one in a war zone. If you live or work near a military base and particularly if you actually do business with military personnel shake yourself awake and have the common decency to ask them how they are and thank them for their service. If you are somehow remotely connected to a military mom, dad or grandparent ASK THEM..... HOW ARE YOU? Enough for today. Did I mention that I'm nervous?
The Sleeping Hearts Among Us
When we get close to a homecoming everyone in our family begins the nervous texting, e-mailing and phone calling that begins something like this: "Have you heard from him?" "He hasn't been on-line lately, does that mean he's traveling?" "I shouldn't send a box should I, it's getting close?" We never have a date, we've just become very good at counting and understanding the cycles.
Now that there's someone special in his life, I don't have quite the privilege that I once had as the receiver of the Hearts Apart e-mails that give families the head's up that our loved one is coming home soonish. I don't mind this. She is also a continuous deployer. They understand each other. In other words, she's low maintenance and every mother wishes a low maintenance female in their son's life. She has received my approval, something that I know is very important to my son. I do admit that I miss being the main point of contact. If I act pathetic enough, and she's in the states, she'll even give me information. I say this with a smile on my face. Having someone special waiting for my son gives me a sense of peace. My peace of mind will reach it's peak only after I hear the words "Hey mom....................I"m in the states, God I love my shower".
Keeper of Stories
As a therapist who specializes in deployment, I find myself in the position of Keeper of Stories. Week after week, soldier after soldier trusts me to offer them a shoulder, an ear, a safe place to just "be". It is a sacred job, to just hold the space for them. After so many years as a therapist, it is impossible to be shocked with the content of people's personal stories anymore. The responsibility of keeper of stories that took place in the theater of war is a big one. From time to time I have to take a step back and seek my own sacred space in order to shed the stories and refresh my soul so that I can process the new ones awaiting me at my next session. I am grateful for my family and my yoga teachers who facilitate that process for me just by allowing me to keep to myself. My son, a SSgt., on a permanent rotation in the middle east once told me that "some stories can never be told mom". So the silences between the soldiers and I become just as sacred as the stories themselves.
I am the mother of a United States Military Service Member who is searching to find peace and meaning in my experience.