This is the subject line of an email that I received a few weeks ago. Red Lines are messages that are sent out to families to notify them that someone was killed where their soldier is located. In the message, it detailed that 3 soldiers attached to Tom’s unit were killed by a suicide bomber. (Now was this in the news? Not any that I saw. But that is a subject for another day.) In the letter, it does explain that it is not one of our 101st Airborne men, however this did not stop the panic attack that quickly ensued.
I know that the procedure is that I will be the first person to be notified if something were to happen. And I also know that it would be in person and not through an email. People in their right minds know these things. But I had just lost my grandparents, I hadn’t heard from Tom that day, and to top it off, I had just done a staff development activity on telling people around you that you appreciate them and not waiting until it’s too late, so my loopy mind kept going to the worst possible scenario. I was an absolute wreck that night. It was like that scene in “A League of their Own” when one of the players found out in the locker room her husband dies, and then Geena Davis lost it in a scene soon after because her husband was also in the military. I was Geena Davis, only my husband didn’t walk in to make it a magical moment. Bummer.
Tom was able to call me the next morning. He explained to me that he was no where near this incident, and the jobs were completely different than his. He also explained that when things like this happen they are under a “blackout” with communication which is why I hadn’t heard from him. This is so the families really are the first to know of the tragedy. Can you believe that people have found out from text messages from friends who heard before they did? So now they have very strict policies of how this information is disseminated.
Luckily, I do get to speak to Tom pretty much every day. They have phones and computers, and he does a good job trying to find time when I am awake to call. He is about 10ish hours ahead of us, so he is often calling in the middle of the night where he is just so he doesn’t disturb my slumber. Good man.
It still is difficult though. I never know when he is going to call. Each day his schedule and mine are different. I would be lying if I don’t look at my phone several times an hour hoping that it rings. I worry all the time about his safety. His calls are all I have to know that he made it through another day, well that and his updated Facebook statuses.
I try not to think about it too often to ward off anxiety attacks. I have a lot of personal pep talks in my head to try to stay positive and know that Tom is doing all that he can to come home safe with his unit. All those counseling classes from grad school are coming in handy for myself. Or I just keep myself too busy to really have time to think about it. But sometimes the waiting gets too rough, and I end up crying in the middle of a restaurant during the lunch rush. Yes this happened. And sometimes, I have to step out of a meeting because I haven’t heard from him in 24 hours and just need that peace of mind.
Today, we were able to Skype for the first time since he left. Even though it was for like 8 minutes, it was still awesome! I feel very fortunate that we get as much contact as we do.
For the most part, I do pretty ok with him being gone. I had gotten used to him not being here with basic last spring, so this wasn’t that hard of a transition since he left again so soon after. Grace and I had not really gotten used to him being home in the first place, as bad as that may sound. And unlike basic, we actually get to speak this time around! But there are a few moments every day where it hits me: Grace does something that is super awesome (which is pretty much her every waking moment) or I see “How I Met Your Mother” in our Netflix queue, or the dirty dishes are piling up in the kitchen…So I let myself wallow for a second, accept it and move on and clean those dang dishes.
That’s really all that I can do, otherwise I would be spending all my time in bed crying into a box of ice cream. You have to get up every day and live it, otherwise what are they fighting for? So I do and hope for the best. I mean 9 months goes by super fast right?
Ha, well speaking of 9 months going quickly, my latest project is for my very pregnant other half, Jeannette. She is actually due with little Herman tomorrow!
I crocheted Herman this wonderful little blanket and was able to hand deliver it to Jeannette while I was at home this past weekend. Maybe next time he will be ready to see me when I visit!
Grace tested it out for us. She approved.
To end, this verse really helps me to have faith and remember to not constantly worry.
“Can all of your worries add a single moment to your life?” Matthew 6:27.
Well, no they probably don’t. Aha moment of the day, done. (I have to have this aha moment set on repeat though…)