I was scrolling through my newsfeed when I saw a picture posted on a fellow Military Spouse's wall. It was of a soldier in full body armor, in front of a tan vehicle, gun strapped across his chest holding a simple piece of paper that said:
We're still here.
When we returned to Fort Carson after block leave ... when I saw those mountains ... for a moment I felt like I could finally breathe.
I loved being home. I ate more chargrilled oysters than should be allowed, more snowballs, and shrimp po-boys and beignets than I should probably admit. I gained five ...
and by five I mean seven ... pounds after feeling hungry for the last too many months. I strolled through my favorite shops on Magazine. I saw friends I haven't seen in a very long time. I hugged babies and tried on a bridesmaid's dress. I was present and there and all of the things I wanted to be. I love my city. I love my family. I love being around the friends who have worked so hard to understand this life and to support me and embrace it. I am beyond blessed in my friendships.
I knew that going home, that returning to a world outside of the military bubble, would bring up those questions and responses that every military spouse tenses when she hears. I knew that certain comments are always unavoidable. I knew that someone - or many someones - at some point would look at me and say the words, and the very first day I was in my city someone did.
"I thought we were out of there!" She looked at me with absolute confusion.
Afghanistan. She thought we were out of Afghanistan.
No. Shaking my head. No.
I couldn't answer any of her questions.
How do people not know? How can they be so ill-informed? It is so easy for us to be reminded, day-in-and-day-out. We cannot forget. Last week and the week before when the flag at division sat at half-staff. When I entered the church and all of my music had been moved and I realized it was because two memorials had taken place. When I see a soldier dressed in multi-cam rather than ACU's. When writing up our calendar seeing when C won't be here.
Watching my neighbors get together for dinners while they trade-off cooking responsibilities. Knowing C went to mow a neighbors yard because her husband isn't there to do it. Hearing a knock on the door from a pregnant neighbor saying she noticed C's jeep and can he help her move a heavy box up to the new nursery.
Listening to a friend's hushed voice when she says her husband worked with the warrant officer that was killed several weeks ago.
There is not a moment that her soldier is on foreign ground that she forgets.
We do not forget. We cannot forget. There are reminders all around us. I sat through two Care Team trainings last week preparing to begin to teach it and to sit through one of those ... I sat beside a Gold Star Spouse throughout.
We can't forget.
The photo was of a soldier that could have been anyones soldier, in the armor that weighs more than most could carry, with a simple hand written sign begging,
We're still here.
Don't Forget Us.
How can so many not know?