(I wrote this a while ago. I didn't want to put anything out there until everything was 'concluded'. The memorial for these soldiers was held yesterday in Afghanistan. C was one of the leaders who planned it.)
I woke up with that feeling - you know - that feeling. The pit in your stomach, the truly-feel-sick-but-you-know-you-aren't-feeling. I tried my best to brush it off, to ignore it. When that didn't work I tried rationalizing.
Just a few more weeks. We just have a few more weeks. They're in transition. No reason to worry. We are almost there. Just a few more weeks. Transition. They're in transition. He's okay.
I stared at the "Welcome Home, Daddy" banner sitting by my front door, flattening out. The feeling was going away. I wasn't thinking about how he usually calls by now. He was busy, just busy. I was feeling better, I had won the mind-battle ... and then I turned on the news.
"Bloodiest Day" the headline said, "At least seven troops killed." I felt nauseous.
Where, Where, Where, Where, WHERE?
Like the news could hear me, the announcer said, "Kandahar." I nearly threw up.
Several hours later I heard from my soldier.
"It is so good to hear your voice. I had the worse feeling ... "
"I know them, babe. I work with them. I can't talk about it. I just ... I ... I love you." The tears were starting to roll down my face.
This feeling has not left me because it wasn't my soldier - but it was another wife's, another mother's, another child's. And we are at the end. We are in the mental "safe zone" - or at least I thought we were. And I can't stop breaking for these families. These families whose soldiers either just got there or were just about to come home. I can't stop crying.
I can't help but feel guilty. I am so incredibly grateful that it wasn't him but that isn't fair either. Because it was someone's everything. It was someone's partner on the journey. It wasn't mine and I have to thank God for that - but that seems so wrong. There is so much guilt. I can't help but want so badly to take away this pain. Because it just doesn't seem fair. It is never fair.
Right now someone is hearing the doorbell and I feel so broken. Their world is about to change and they don't know it. I can't even process because we are at the end. The end and we lost these heroes.
They are not forgotten. They will never be forgotten. Remember them. Remember their families.
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown
"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.