Monday, October 19, 2009

Fort Hood Memories Part 3

We sent our Soldier back to war, six months down, six more to go. How would we survive. I spent the first couple days wondering how I had made it through the first six months when just trying to look forward to the next six were so overwhelming to me. I continued to take care of my kids, volunteering for the unit and just trying to get through each day the best I could. I could lie and say that I picked myself up and handled those last six months like a true Army Wife Veteran. I didn't. I put the best smile on everyday and went about my business but each night, I laid in my bed awake, sobbing. Worrying about my husband, crying for my friends who had lost their loves and wondering what the war would bring for us next.

In August, we all started to feel comfortable again when we lost another Soldier in our Squadron. Upon hearing the name, the connection was bad and I thought it was another Soldier in our unit, I almost couldn't handle it. I can't explain how you feel when it's just a little closer to you. When I found out that the Soldier was in a different troop, I had a sigh of relief following immediately with guilt for feeling that way. SGT Jeremy King was killed by a sniper. A few weeks later one of his friends would share a pic of him with his new baby. He had met his child while home on leave just a few weeks before his death. That picture was more then I could handle. I spent hours sobbing. I was done, I was ready for this deployment to be over, time was not going by fast enough.

I honestly can't tell you how I got through those next few months. As we begin to approach homecoming, we were busy, crazy busy planning a nice welcome home for our troops. I was overwhelmed with anxiety. I was excited my Soldier was coming home but I could not get past the fact that not all of our Soldiers were coming home. There would those who would not run into the gym and my mind could not get past that. While everyone else was planning that "moment" I didn't want mine because of the guilt I had that my friend wouldn't have hers and neither would many others in our Brigade.

My friend Nita told me she wanted to go to every homecoming. To this day I am impressed with her strength, she says she was numb but I know there was an amazing amount of strength underneath that numbness. Together we went to homecoming after homecoming.

My husband was on the last flight (so typical), the boys were excited, I was still mixed with emotions. I remember getting to the gym, staking our area, meeting the other families and preparing myself. I was nervous...happy, sad, numb. One of the other wives told me that I couldn't cry, they were all counting on me to hold it together (gee, no pressure!). I tried to keep myself busy talking to the families, entertaining my kids but I was a mess. When they announced that the buses were on their way, I started taking deep breaths. I was doing the best I could to keep it together. When the music started and they lined up kids to welcome the Soldiers through the door, I almost passed out. My mind had so many I run to him, do I wait for him to come to me...what do I do? Kevin was the third Soldier to run in the door. It doesn't matter that there were a hundred other Soldiers, I know my love and my radar clicked in. Our eyes connected and I knew he was home. Those two minutes of waiting seemed like a lifetime. When the Colonel announced dismissed, I froze! LaNita shoved me off the bleacher and sent me into the arms of my love. We were together again...

Kevin with his buddy MSG Daniel Robles who lost both of his legs in Iraq, April 2006, one of my heroes!Kevin hugging LaNita Herlem, proud widow of SFC Bryant Herlem, KIA 28 April 2006, Iraq

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