I had a busy day Wednesday. I had two meetings back to back. Thank goodness one meeting included lunch because I would not have been able to have squeezed it in. Then I went to the main hospital to help our LNO help a soldier. While going down on the elevators, I was talking with our LNO about the new 101st family that had just arrived. I told him I recognized the name and was trying to place the faces.
At that moment, the elevator doors opened on the 4th floor and I saw a familiar face. I immediately said, "What are you...." I stopped because I knew immediately that it was my friend's husband who we had been discussing just seconds prior. I was just so preoccupied with so many other thoughts that I didn't put the face with the name until I saw her face. My heart fell to my feet. I grabbed her and hugged her and simply said, "Welcome to the club sweetie."
I wanted to throw up. I was truly devastated. I never thought that someone I knew would ever join me on this path. I simply thought it would always be friends of friends. I have never had a problem reaching out to a family that someone has emailed me about, but naively I thought I would only welcome strangers to the wounded warrior world.
I visited with her for a while and told her I'd see her hubby later. I remember all too well how those first days are. I was still in shock from seeing her and realizing that a piece of my "old life" was coming together and it was so insane. I wasn't ready to see him. Seeing her was enough shock for my system for the day. Seeing their cuties and knowing our cuties now have all this in common was just heartbreaking and nauseating.
I came back to the apartment and told Chaz that I knew why that name was so familiar and explained to him how we knew them. He just shook his head. Chaz has become accustom to this type of news. I guess I have too when it comes to the guys being injured. However this is the first time one of my friends was affected. It was just a new experience I was not prepared for at all. I had so many old emotions stirring up. I recalled the first time one of Chaz's soldiers were killed and the first one injured. Then the first time I had to attend a memorial for a family I knew. I even rehashed the beginning of our journey. It's funny how you are just never ready for things like this.
I went back to see her and bring her something she said her hubby needed. Trust me, she doesn't have time to go anywhere. She was so thankful and couldn't believe I remembered. I am telling you she is one of the sweetest women out there. I got to see her hubby, who by the way looks great, and say a five second hi. I remember Chaz then so I literally said hi and I'll see you later and told him that he needed rest and we had time to talk later.
My friend asked me several questions about my experience. She said she had kept up with us, remembered the blogs, but never realized how insane all of this is. She said, "This is eye-opening." She and I had discussed better preparing the families when I was back at Campbell one time. She brought that up and I told her just make notes and we'll get to it. You can say we're friends because we process similar thoughts.
Now that the shock has worn off, I can really talk about it. I just can't believe I never thought my worlds would combine. I guess I really should be thinking what took so long?