March 14, 2009

BROTHERS AT WAR

I have been out of my element this week, so I was grateful that Laughing Wolf called me last night to invite me to the opening of the movie Brothers At War.

When I saw this trailer two weeks ago, I groaned. I feared another Hollywood movie that made soldiers look like dupes and sadists. But when I saw that Soldiers' Angels was backing the movie, I told my husband that it had the seal of approval and that we ought to go see it.

We attended the premiere tonight with director Jake Rademacher, his brothers, and Gary Sinise. It was such a good movie...and I'm not just saying that because I want a non-anti-war movie to do well. It was laugh-out-loud funny in parts, sad in other parts, and above all it was real. Plus it avoided all the typical maudlin crap that most war movies have: the inner angst, the "we did not fight the enemy; we fought ourselves" voice-overs, or the sniveling soldiers who make me look like an emotional Rambo.

I can't recommend the movie enough.

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March 13, 2009

INSENSITIVE

I followed the heated discussion at SpouseBUZZ over the change in policy to allow the media to photograph our returning fallen at Dover.

Chuck Z found the first example of complete insensitivity.

I hope this is not a taste of boorishness to come.

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March 11, 2009

SHARING A ROOM

I have been surprised at how many people were shocked that I shared an ultrasound room. Is it because it's a military hospital? I've never tried to have a baby anywhere else. But there's always been more than one person in the room when I've been there for an ultrasound, just never someone so loud and obnoxious. None of you readers who had babies on other installations had to double-up on ultrasound rooms?

Oh, and I totally called it: I've already had two people tell me that yesterday's news was good. One was even excited about it. Wow.

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March 07, 2009

HE SURVIVED

The first thing my husband did was quote Raising Arizona with a big grin on his face: "When there was no crawdad to be found, we ate sand." "You ate sand?" I smiled back. "We ate SAND," he finished.

He told me was that SERE was so much worse than he ever imagined. I said that I had been crying and worrying about him all week. His response: "You definitely should have been."

The thing about SERE is that everyone is supposed to go in fresh. My husband can't tell me a lot what he went through without revealing the confidential parts of the course, but suffice it to say that the few things that he was allowed to tell me me were plain awful. And I know there are more things that he can't explain in mere words even if he could, things I will never be able to understand.

He said he came away from the training with so much respect for people like John McCain. My husband spent a few days as a simulated prisoner, and he said it was enough to make you wish you were dead. He said he cannot imagine how POWs survived for years on end in a real prison, with real guards and real solitary confinement and real torture.

One facet of the desperation they felt can be summed up by a story he told. During the evasion part, my husband was lucky enough to happen upon a snake. He killed it and then carried the dead snake with him until the next day when they could safely make a fire and eat it. But the saddest part was when he said that he was so miserable from the weather that he didn't even notice how starving he was. And he was starving enough that he lost more than 20 pounds in one week.

But he's been in a good mood since the moment I saw him grinning at me. I suppose liberation from such an ordeal must make you happy in so many ways.

Me, I had trouble falling asleep last night and woke up very early this morning, listening to him breathe -- and hack and cough, since his weakened condition has made him sicker than I've ever seen him -- and just being so thankful that he's home, and thankful that the whole thing was simulated.

All I could think about all week was how wives of real POWs could bear it. I couldn't bear one week of agony, knowing that somewhere out there my husband was being mistreated...by paid professionals who only mean to teach the soldiers valuable lessons. I don't know how ladies in the past woke up every morning knowing that their husbands were truly being tortured.

And his hands. His poor hands, destroyed from clawing his way through thorn bushes under a new moon in the pouring rain to evade the enemy. Every time I see them, it's a reminder of all he went through.

But he survived. He returned with honor. And I'm very proud of him.

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March 01, 2009

THIS IS TOO HARD

I don't know if I can take this. My heart hurts:

When I wrote the other day about bearing my burden while my husband is at SERE, I had no idea that the scales would tip towards him so quickly. He has begun his last week of the class, which means he's at the "practical application" point of survival, evasion, resistance, and escape. And my heart hurts so bad for him because it's been pouring rain. Just pouring. And they're forecasting snow for tomorrow.

I know my husband is a tough guy and that he'll figure out how to get through this week, but there is nothing that hurts me more than the thought of him suffering. I've sat here all weekend in my warm house with my electric blanket, and the sound of the unrelenting rain is just killing me.

It makes me cry to picture him trying to survive outside in this weather. It is a far heavier burden than anything happening to me.

The sound of that rain is just paralyzing me. It makes me sick. It makes me want to go find where is he is rescue him.

I can't stop worrying about him.

It's a different form of the agony of the unknown that we feel when we stand and wait.

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