Before Chaz deployed to Afghanistan June 2010, I attended a deployment meeting. I remember sitting there looking at the ground the entire time. There were hundreds of people in that room. I later told Chaz I just couldn't look at anyone. I just couldn't stand the thought of another face of someone injured or killed being in my head. I already had so many and I just couldn't stand to have anymore. All I kept thinking in that meeting was which one of you will it be this time? Little did I know that within months that face would be the face of the love of my life.
Chaz's tour of Iraq in 2005-06 was so very hard on us. He lost over thirty soldiers in his company within that year. One of his friends who he had known for his entire career was also killed in that year. I stopped counting at thirty because I couldn't take it anymore. That "thirty" doesn't include the injured for that deployment. Since that tour we have added other friends to that "thirty" from other deployments. Our number is way higher than "thirty" but I'll never sit down to add them all up.
Iraq was so hard on me that I became a "5% Army wife" according to my friend. I only did what I had to after that tour. I love my hubby and am very proud of his service, but I just had to put those walls up. Chaz was frustrated, but totally understood that I didn't really want to meet anyone from his unit after Iraq. Chaz said some of the guys and their wives just didn't get me. Something tells me they do now.
The other night I ran to Publix, which is fabulous by the way, to grab a few groceries. I was just going along my merry way and then saw service member after service member. They were every where. There were 101st patches were all around me. I found myself getting the things I knew we needed and getting out as fast as possible. At first I didn't even realize what I was doing. I became like a robot and threw the few things I knew I needed in that cart and got out of there. I bet this could be a new way to save money. (My attempt at a joke here.)
I got into the car and realized what was going on. I knew the 101st is deploying again. I now work with families trying to heal from the damages of war. I never looked at the faces or names of the people in the store, I just saw the 101st patches. Oh my goodness, I was scared to put another face in my head. I was scared that one of those faces could be a new family for us to take care of. Reality was hitting me hard and I was two beats away from tears. I had to take a minute and just breathe. I did then I drove home and told my hubby all about it.
I know that the Afghanistan is quite right now. It's the winter and this is when we see the fewest injuries. Spring is just around the corner. The 101st is going to take over and that means I will soon have new 101st families to take care of. The gravity of that reality hit me in Publix the other night and it has weighed so heavy on my heart. I realized I will be needed for the rest of my life. Chaz will always need some degree of my help with healing
from his injuries. Other families will need help from YRF and the other non-profits for one
reason or another. Other families will need my help navigating through
this craziness. I think all of those patches surrounding me the other night made me finally realized I
am going to be needed for an indefinite amount of time and that burden
is a tough one to carry.
The truth is I don't want anymore new families to take care of. I don't
want to know anymore faces going to war. I want to be out of a job. I want to just go back to just being a tax preparer. Since
the need is never going away, I fear I have definite job security. So for now my brain can't stop but think which one of you?