Friday, December 16, 2005

Shared Solitude

This will be my last post from Iraq. In a few days, I will leave this camp to begin the trip home. My office is no longer mine as of this morning, and my internet connectivity will be very spotty from here on out. I will post once I get home, from my living room after hugging my kids and kissing the most important person in my life.

My Darling Wife, Pam.

This year has changed me. Pam and I have talked about those changes, and I know she fears them a little. Physically, my knees hurt more, my hearing is shot, and my hands get numb from the constant weight of body armor. My hair is greyer, the bags under my eyes darker. Emotionally, I have changed too. Don’t worry darling. I am returning home a different man, but I believe a better man. Certainly a man far more thankful for the blessings in my life.

We have had our challenges this year, and we have overcome them, I hope. Trying to remain connected and together across 9 time zones with unpredictable internet connections, messaging software that works intermittently, and dreaded communications blackouts is difficult at best. Add to that the challenges of raising 3 children alone, sometimes having to be in 3 places at once, and having to answer the inevitable “so how is he doing?” question and I marvel at how she has remained sane. She may tell you that she really hasn’t, but what else can she do? Life goes on. But my darling, you are amazing.

Each time I leave, she stays. She is there when I return. I smile and promise never again, and a few years later I am off to save some little piece of the world again. And still she stays, raising the 3 most precious human beings God has ever graced the earth with. I can hear in their voices and see in their eyes the question each time I return; “When is he leaving again?” And this time the answer is I am done. This is a younger man’s game. I can teach, I can mentor, and I can counsel, but for me the fighting is done. They have paid too high a price already, and the world needs to be grateful for what they have sacrificed too. It’s their turn. It’s Pam’s turn.

What have we shared over this year? We have shared being alone. We have shared each others challenges and emotions and outbursts. We have shared the pain of missed birthdays and anniversaries and holidays. We have shared angry moments that have come and gone, and anger that may be yet to come. In a very short time, we will share the connection of staring into one another’s eyes again at last. And such beautiful eyes they are.

In the months to come, there will be times that I need to sit in silence. And we will sit together, holding hands, and share the solitude.

I love you, my darling. See you soon.

17 comments:

Edward said...

Welcome Home Mustang 09,
And thank you for your years of service. You have done more than your share to protect this nation and humanity. Thank you, thank you.
Thank you also Pam, and kids. You have sacrifice a lot along with your wonderful husband and father. I rejoice that he is returning hale and hearty, if a bit used. It was in the most noble of causes, and that task will have far-reaching effect upon the human enterprise.
Mustang 09, you job is not yet done. We need you to be active and a leader in your community back home. Help this nation stay the course.
Sorry about that....gotta keep putting one foot in front of the other...lifelong march.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your service.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all you have done, and I wish you and your wife and children all the best.
We Americans are very lucky to have such great men and women in our armed services.

Pebble said...

Just hurry home and enjoy soldier,
so proud of you!

Wayne said...

Thank you and your family for your service to our country. Being a veteran of Korea and Vietnam I understand what you are saying. Went through a lot of it myself.
I would love to wish all of our service people a very MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Merry Christmas

Elmer's Brother said...

My family and I owe you and yours a debt. Thanks for your service and welcome home.

Call Me Jack said...

God bless you, and have a safe trip home.

Thank you, and Pam, for all your sacrifice and everything we have done for this nation.

You are, truly, among its finest.

And have a Merry Christmas.

Maggie45 said...

You and your family have my deepest gratitude for your service to our country. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you and your family for your exemplory service to our Country. Travel blessings for a safe return home to your family and may you and Pam enjoy many years together. Your've earned it! With grateful respect,

Anonymous said...

Thank you, that is so thoughtful. This last year has been a journey for all of us. We have missed you so much at home. I know it hasn’t been easy for you to be away. Things just aren’t the same without you here to share the celebrations and defeats. Don’t worry there are still more to come. There will be many more 7:10 am and 10:10 pm ice time that you can enjoy, only this time you will bring your jacket. :) Have a safe trip home.
I am very proud of you!
Love always,
Pam

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of the way you have served your country. The experiences you have lived through will change you forever. But, you will always be a great husband, father, son, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend. We can all look at the same thing but because of events in our lives we can and will all see that same thing differently. I know that my experiences of reading your posts in your blog have changed my perception of many things and I thank you for that. I do admire the way you write your stories - it's a gift that my family has enjoyed - thank you.

I cannot wait to hear that you are home safely in the loving arms of all of your family - even if it is in temps that are butt clenching cold! I have lots of good ideas for that arthritic pain in the knees. Take good care of yourself and have a very Happy and treasured 2006 - hope to visit Mn. after you return home.
Love,
Linda

Cathy said...

12/24

I hope you have made your way home by now. What a wonderful Christmas gift.

God bless you and your family.

Merry Christmas to you.

SK said...

Merry Christmas to you and to your family. Thanks go to all of you for your service and your sacrifice. Wishing you the best of everything in the coming year.

AFSister said...

You're probably home now, so I'll say WELCOME HOME, SOLDIER!

Thanks for being there for the rest of the world, knowing how much you would rather be home with your family. I know they'll be overjoyed to know you'll be home forever now.

Breezy said...

'stang, you're a true inspiration for an LT. I want to be like you when I commission in May... I really hope you keep the blog up so I can follow your footsteps...

From a very, very inspired cadet...
Breezy

AFSister said...

What a wonderful "goodbye" post! I hope that someday I have a man in my life that loves me, respects me, and honors me as much as you do your wife.

Welcome Home, Soldier! We've been waiting for your safe return!

rev. billy bob gisher ©2005 said...

how wonderfully human. i am thrilled you are making it home.