I've had a lot of people in my life lately expressing their concern for me. The last 24 hours were difficult when the alert came through on my phone that there had been a crash in a familiar sounding area of the middle east. Discussing geography and time lines are forbidden so I never post in real time. I had made a promise to my son that I would ZEN UP this week. His statement hit me hard "Mom, I don't like it when you sound sad". A few days later a friend told me in the parking lot of my office, "You seem sad in your blog lately". When two people tell you you sound sad, it's time to ZEN UP and practice what you preach. When I heard that one of those killed in the crash based out of SAFB, it hit me hard, but lit a fire under me to give more, do more, be more for our service members who live locally. I'll keep you posted on what that will look like.
My military alerts ap informed me that we've reached 2071 deaths in Afghanistan today. My heart already felt the heaviness of the number. Zenning up gets difficult when news like this hits my in box and we are in the early days of a deployment. I stop sleeping, but increase my meditation practice. Zenning up is the only choice I have. I can't change what my son has chosen to do. So I shop for goodies, pack the box, mail the box, tell the postal worker about my son, and about his special someone, who is also getting a box. Buy another military t-shirt to wear to yoga class. .......and worry, I try to help a person or two along the way. And worry..........................Repeat.
This morning as I began my day in my office, I took one last look at my phone to check e-mail. There it was, my first Heart's Apart e-mail for this deployment cycle. I'm never prepared for it. With the happenings in Boston this week, my heart was already heavy. I've waited for my husband at the finish line so many times during his many marathon runs. My son and my husband have talked about running a marathon together on several occasions. I am no longer get excited at this prospect.
This week Americans came together and I watched many national guardsman, first responders and active duty military alongside everyday Americans rushing TOWARDS the blast to assist. As the news emerged of the horrific injuries that these average Americans sustained, I thought of the thousands of troops who have witnessed similar horrors over and over again. As these months move forward I have a great hope that military families and civilian families will come together to support each other. Who better to support the families affected by these life changing injuries than a military family who has suffered the same life changes.
With so little time between deployment goodbyes I was caught a bit off guard this morning moving through my Vinyasa class. The tears came......... a few at first but by the time Shavasana hit, and I looked up at the ceiling fans before closing my eyes (ceiling fan, trigger for me) it was all over. I laid there as long as I could, sucking up my tears before pulling myself up to a nice seated lotus position where I demanded my vulnerable self to STOP CRYING BEFORE THE CLASS ENDS AND EVERYONE CAN SEE YOU. It didn't work. The tears kept falling and before I knew it they were sitting there atop my dark blue sticky mat for everyone to see. They had completely bypassed my shirt. How does THAT happen? My tears didn't even have the decency to absorb into the thick mat fabric dammit. They were just SITTING there, staring at me. I was reminded of a mantra I was given when being instructed on how to teach meditation to specific populations by a mindfulness mentor. "Let it happen.......................let it go....................................... So I let it happen, and then I let it go in the park with a nice long run with my husband, post Vinyasa flow.
Let it happen..........................let it go................ then Begin Again tomorrow.
During the spring months as I watch the tulips come up in my neighborhood, nature reminds me that this is a time for renewal. During Critical Incident Debriefings, and in my office over the years, the newly bereaved have stated to me that even before their loved one died, they experienced a stillness and emptiness in the air or felt it in their body. Even more profound is their description of a strange disconnect from the usual comfort that they carried by being in a "soulful" partnership with another human being. Many years ago as I sat and watched a Blue's game with my best friend, who was also my peer on a hospice team, we both experienced a bolt of cold air that our seat mates did not feel. We looked at each other and said "whoa, what was that?" and asked those sitting in front and to the left and right of us if they felt the same wind. They did not. 2 minutes later her phone rang and she was informed by the hospice nurse that her patient had just died. As we called her a cab so that she could retrieve her car and provide grief services to the family, we stood there on the street silent. This was one of many signs that we had experienced in our years as hospice social workers and we knew it would not be the last.
I am a believer in "the next place". I believe that even in death in the theater of war that the dying person has that moment of peace where they are enveloped with the loving arms of comfort and peace that their higher power provides them so that they are given the safe passage forward that they so deserve. These last two weeks, military families have experienced many losses at home and in the Middle East. May their memories be a blessing to all of us and may their families someday find renewal and hope.
I am the mother of a United States Military Service Member who is searching to find peace and meaning in my experience.