>> Saturday, August 27, 2011
I had an appointment with my therapist the Monday after we lost a great man from our Battalion when the Chinook helicopter he was co-piloting was shot down in Afghanistan. It was the first chance that I actually had to myself - to sit alone and process all that had happened and all that would happen in the coming weeks.
As we talked, "T" (I'll call her "T" for "Therapist") asked me if my fear level increased now that this has happened and knowing that I could be sending My Marine off in the next few months. I didn't even stop to think - I just told her, "I can't live in fear."
Even now, knowing that he flies at least twice a week, there is always a chance of an "incident". But I can't think about that every single day. There's a time and a place for it to come out. But in the meantime, while it's still there, it's usually buried deep, deep down.......until recent events over the past few weeks.
Before My Marine deploys, not only do we need to have a plan in place for things around the home, we also need to have a plan in place for "what if". I have to make sure that our wills are in place, that paperwork and insurance are in order, that his wishes are explicit. And as of this writing, I don't even know what those wishes are yet. I did joke, saying to him that I'll have to see if Van Halen is available to play his memorial service. His one friend and co-worker, said that he would have a bottle of Crown Royal ready and waiting as well. These are things that we laugh about -- but it's still my reality.
But there are things we don't laugh about -- like how do we handle notifying our family? If it's something that happens in combat, how do I handle flying out to bring him home? Do I want a memorial fund set up? This is also my reality.
And then there's the uniform. We have his uniform hanging in his closet. It's set with his ribbons. It's ready to be worn. Normally it would be worn for events and special occassions, but it's also a reminder to me that it's hanging there -- ready for the "what if?" I don't look at that green bag often. I try to hide it in the back of the closet behind gowns that I've worn to the balls. Out of sight, out of mind.
When we went to the memorial service for Mr. Carter, I felt so many emotions. My heart broke as I saw his wife and children walk behind his casket into the church. As I watched the slide show depiciting a husband, a father, a son, a friend, and a soldier. What amazed me the most was how his children and his wife all got up to speak. His wife spoke of losing the other half of her balanced scale, his son spoke of losing his best friend, and his daughter spoke of still always being a daddy's girl. I sat there in awe of their strength. I don't know if I could have the strength that they did to speak in front of so many people -- and still hold their emotions intact. What would I say?
But now, we're a week past the memorial. The grief is still fresh and the fear is still real. But living with it every single day is really no way to live. So I try to replace it with a new reality -- taking Nani to school, running mundane errands, keeping our home, playing with Nudgie, and building memories that they will have......
In case of what if......