"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.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The "Safe" Zone

(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.


  1. Wow!

    When I worked the deployment briefings at our last duty station, I would just go home and sob every time... I had such a hard time looking into the faces of those soldiers and families, knowing that the nature of their job (Cav) would mean not all of them were coming home.

    Then, when the news would tell me a local soldier had gone down...I cried each and every time. And yes, felt a guilty relief that my soldier was home safe with me.

    Praying right now for those families.

  2. Below is the comment of Tiffany Wagstaff - A Gold Star Spouse. She asked me to share it here.

    We ALL have that feeling. First reaction is "Thank GOD it wasn't him!" Second reaction- "Oh my God, how can I say that?" I have been on BOTH sides of this scenario now. I have done the first and second reactions, I have felt the guilt. I have felt the pain of knowing that "another" wife is going through what must be the most horrible experience of her life. And then, I was the wife that had to go through the most horrible experience of her life.
    I knew the reactions of others, because I had been there. However, I also had learned, through the worst experience of my life, that no matter what, no matter WHAT, you should NEVER feel guilty that you don't want your husband to die. I didn't want anyone from our unit to feel guilty they had those feelings. I know what they are, I know how much that guilt hurts, but I KNOW that you should NEVER feel guilt that your husband is safe. What you can do is be there for the spouses, be there for the families, and help them know that he will never be forgotten. It is more than words taht show this. Thank you for this post, and thank you for allowing me to share my perspective. ♥

  3. My husband too just came off "radio silence" and my heart just about burst when I finally got an email from him. Such relief, but I know what that silence means, and I know that another wife, child, mother/father is grieving while I am breathing easier. The guilt never gets easier.

    Thank you, Tiffany, for your sacrifice and your comments. You have my sincere thanks and prayers.

  4. Thank you, Lorena. Praying for that fallen soldier's family.


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