October 18, 2011


Last year we jumped off our deployment cliff.
Now 4-10 soldiers (4th Brigade 10th Mountain Division)  are coming home.

Thousands of them.

I get a big stupid smile on my face every time I hear that a friend's husband has come home. That kids are hugging their moms or dads for the first time in months and months and months. That mothers who waited for so long, can cup their grown son's or daughter's face. Kiss their cheeks. Feed them and try to make up for lost time in calories. That fathers can shake hands and say things like, "I'm proud of you son" or "I knew my daughter would do well." That spouses can hold the one who left that cold, empty place in bed.  That the ones with children of their own can feel those precious little bodies against their hearts. Feel the whispers of, "I missed you dad " against their necks. Wrestle with their offspring on the floor. Learn the names of dolls. See pictures that were drawn just for them. Enjoy the presence of the people who matter most.

Some Fort Polk soldiers have headed out for deployments elsewhere.

Some families are being made complete.
Some have just separated.

Not all soldiers made it home.

Some families will never be complete again.
I hope they know they aren't forgotten.

Soldiers changed.

Some grew into someone they don't recognize;
were revealed for who they've always been...good or bad;
learned compassion, patience, loyalty, and forgiveness;
failed in ways they could not fathom;
accomplished what they didn't think they could;
 refused to become what they hate; 
 made it home by the skin of their teeth.

 Weariness. Trauma. Sadness. Temptations. Wounds. Fear. Hopelessness. Mistakes. Mind-numbing boredom. Infidelity. Pain. Stress that consumes every pore. Insomnia.  Illness. Loss. Depression. Rage with no viable focus. Enemies with no face. Loneliness with no easy remedy. Bone-tired body with no fuzzy slippers in sight.

 Whatever it was.

Some changes are good.

Some people learned there are more important things than him remembering to pick up his socks;
that whether or not you agree on everything in life-- you have a partner who sincerely loves you and wants to help make life better;
that you want to make his life better, too;
that to have him lie next to you in bed and hear his steady breathing is worth more than anything;
that the stress that was stress before seems like a walk in the park today;
that he wants to spend more time playing with his children;
that being "alone" for a year forced you to see that being "alone" would be a choice and not a reality, because your life was overflowing with people willing to walk with you;
that maybe we don't get second chances;
that life is finite, and opportunities to fill it with good are not always handed to you on a silver platter;
that sometimes they are handed to you on a silver platter and you should always keep a watchful eye;
that you might have to fight with everything in you to live the life you want to live;
that you should never stop fighting for that;
that you have been given opportunities to love --not just your family, but the people you meet every day--  and you hope you don't squander them;

some changes are good.

Life is complicated.

And simple.

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