Friday, April 08, 2005

Mourning

Yesterday when I heard the news that my boyfriend was alright, I was okay. I slept like a log and woke-up rested this morning. I came to work chipper, but when I was sitting in front of my lunch tray in the cafeteria I realized I had no appetite. I forced myself to eat something, but after a few minutes I realized I was fighting against tears, against being sick.

Usually I nag my boyfriend to call and email me more, but now I am just happy with the knowledge that he is alright. He could go a month without calling me now, and I would be okay with that. My heart goes out to him right now. I wish I could hold him, and tell him how much he means to me. And I wish I could be there for him. The whole unit must be under considerable shock.

I think everyone is in mourning right now. Mourning those lost and mourning the days we had of blissful ignorance of the possible dangers. The unit made it through a deployment in Iraq with no casualties, so Afghanistan seemed like a piece of cake. I did realize that the biggest danger they would be facing would be weather. Also they are flying over a lot of mountains at pretty high altitudes and I knew that would also be an issue. But somehow, I always thought, "well, they are experienced." And somehow that was translated into my mind, as "they are invincible."

I think the worst thing about this experience was the hours of not knowing. The hours of emotional limbo. Part of me just wanted to know...but another part of me kept on saying "not knowing still holds hope."

I cursed the news for telling us about the accident, telling us just enough, so we knew for sure that it was our unit, but then leaving us hanging when it came to what we wanted to know most. The emotional turmoil caused by letting thousands of people know that someone they love is possibly dead is an incredible power. The news struck fear into everyone I knew. I am thankful for The Information Age, but I curse the fact that the news is faster in reporting on deaths than the military is notifying families about casualties.

I am very thankful for my friends. I was supposed to have coffee with my friend who lost her husband in Iraq and another close friend. They both came over at 4PM and another friend joined later. They didn't leave until 1:30AM and one of them spent the night. I can't thank them enough. They allowed me to worry, but didn't allow me go into an abyss of worry.

Although I am grateful for everyone's comforting (cyber included), I am especially grateful for my widowed friend. It was obviously something she would have rather avoided. She even admitted later that she cursed when she heard the news, and was asking why this couldn't have happened when she wasn't here. But somehow being with someone, who had gone through casualty notification with the worse case scenario as a result, comforted me.

At about 8PM I finally decided that their suggestion of having a drink might be a good idea. So we opened a bottle of red wine and we toasted to my boyfriend. And we opened a bag of chips. (This is going to sound morbid, but I was conscious of eating chips that I didn't really like that much, and thought that was a good thing, because it would be terribly tragic if I were eating salt and vinegar chips when I got the news of my boyfriend's death, and then would have a life long aversion to my favorite chips...yes, your mind does crazy things when under stress, as if in an attempt to keep some sort of control over a situation where one is just helpless.) Actually, most of the evening resembled a girls' night, except the fear that ripped through our hearts everytime the phone rang. It was a kind of surreal evening.

I got an email from my American friend yesterday afternoon:

It is very difficult to go through a deployment, even if it is an "easy" one. When they are so far away it makes everything harder and with yesterday as an example the media always reports the bad news. If you ever want to vent about the military, or say good things, or freak out because the news reported something bad please feel free to always contact me if it helps. I'm not always the first one people want to talk to since my situation ended the way it did, but I do understand the waiting, the unknowing and the frustration in general of a deployment and of dating a military boy.

It was nice to hang out yesterday even if there was a grey cloud over the evening.

It was definitely an evening I will never forget, and the best evening I could have had under the circumstances. It was a celebration of friendship and life. And I am relieved that I can look back on it as such, and not as a schism between my life up to then, and the life that would have come after losing my boyfriend. And I feel terrible about those families who are living that schism right now.

6 Comments:

Blogger Mr Bob said...

Oh thank the Lord. I checked your site first thing this morning to see if there was an update. I will send an update to my readers. Sometimes it takes extrememe circumstances to get us to understand what is really important in life...it would be nice if we didn't need that though eh? :-)

4:08 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

Cali - quite a difficult experience. Being happy knowing someone else's heart has been broken. I'm happy for you and your BF.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Homefront Six said...

I'm glad he's ok. So very glad. I wish they all were...

12:03 AM  
Blogger Sminklemeyer said...

glad everything is ok. hang in there. when you see him again, you won't be able to let ago. and it will be the best feeling in the world.

1:27 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

I am so glad to hear you had such good friends to be with you. Support like that is priceless.

4:41 AM  
Blogger Yankee Tech in Germany said...

i just hate clickin on your blog, half the time you have me almost in tears from laughter at some of your post, other times i fell my heart lurch as i read about your fears about what going on with your BF. I dont know what is worse, but i still have to click on it and read it almost every day. Just thought i lit a candle for both you and your BF when i heard about the choper going down, and i will keep you in my prayers untill all of the soldiers come home.

10:00 AM  

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