Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Break From Our Normally Scheduled Program

Gary and I were heading to Shreveport for one of my appointments a few weeks ago. We travel a back road with lots of trees, curves and bends. It's actually a pretty, relaxing road. Out of the blue, Gary said "I get nervous around these roads." Before I could ask him why he continued. "These were prime spots for IEDs and ambushes." I didn't know what to say. I just grabbed his hand and squeezed it. I wanted him to be here in the present and know he was safe. Outwardly, he looked normal... unless you know him like I do. His jaw was clenched. Two months, only two months, and my darling husband had some "issues" I guess from being in Afghanistan. It didn't really worry me. Sad, oh yes. But not worried.

Yesterday on our way back from another appointment, we were listening to Kenny Chesney and just enjoying the ride. At least that's what I was doing. Out of the blue, Gary turned off the CD player and said, "So we were just supposed to go on a small mission...." From there he told me the following story:

He tagged along on a mission where he tagged along with a Special Forces team. The mission was supposed to be low-key, no expected contact to be made, etc. They just wanted to gain some intel. Move in, move out. While the Special Forces guys did their thing, they had Gary over slightly left of them. He said he was walking around, rounding a jag of rocks and saw two Taliban. Because he had his gun at the ready, he was able to eliminate them before they got to him. Right away the SF guys were right there and what happened next was a firefight of between 60 - 90 minutes. There were more details, but honestly their not relevant to the story. Most importantly, I refuse to put anything on the internet that could even potentially violate Operational Security.

The thing is... what in life teaches you to handle a situation like this? What do you say to your husband who just tells you about having killed two men, and there's a choking quality in his voice, and he says "just a few seconds..." It's right then that I see that in one split second, I could've lost my husband. I felt selfish for thinking of me. I held his hand and asked a few questions. He didn't tear up. He didn't cry. Gary's very non-emotional. I tried to miorror his behavior and be matter-of-fact. I could tell this was big for him. To open up. Then he told me the reason he was awake the night before when Gunner woke up was because he'd had a dream about the incident. In the dream, he wasn't quick enough. I had no clue what to say. I scrambled in my mind for something soothing, but not trite. Something that showed compassion. Anything. All I could say was, "Well, baby you train hard." WELL BABY YOU TRAIN HARD?!?! Nominate ME for Wife of the Year

I guess I'm blogging this because it's a surreal moment. It's one of those moments that you've seen on TV. Or read about. Some big "moment" where a character shares a huge tidbit. But in the movies, there's music that lead up to the moment. You know something's coming. In real life, you're just sitting there listening to Kenny Chesney one second and in the next you're realizing you were less than a second away from having lost your husband.

There's no way to close this post. I'm glad my husband's home. What makes me ache is knowing he's not home forever. He's going back someday. If not there, then Iraq, Iran.. who knows. He's going back.

Being married to a soldier is not always flag-waving fun. Sometimes it's quite moments of realizing that one split second.


Mimi said...

I really don't think there was much you could say. It was probably one of those times that saying nothing is best and just listening and holding his hand was probably the best support you could offer. Gary and others like him are doing a great job for our country and whenever hubby and I our out and see men in uniform, we thank them, whether they end up overseas or not, they are still part of the whole system. I get so sick of protesters, they are so stupid because being anti-war, is being against the actual things that gave them the rights to protest. I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense, but your post affected me and I have strong opinions about this.

hyka's mess said...

I had a friend from high school that was in the army, he served in Desert Storm and brought home many stories, some decent stories, some good stories and some that just made me sit with my jaw on my lap struggling for words to make it better. So I've got an idea of what you are feeling ...

I'm so glad that Gary's safe and home right now. I'm proud of him.

Nobody special said...

That really put a face on the ideas of what soldiers go through and do for our country.


It's My Life For Now said...

awww, honey. I don't even know what I'd have said. Hell, I don't even know what to say now.

All I know is that my heart aches for him.

Deana said...

I am so grateful that in that one second he knew what to do and was ok, what a blessing that it all went the right way.
I hate war so much.

Susan Davis said...

I don't know what I'd do if Oliver came to me with those types of stories. Sometimes life seems so horrible with the thought of losing those you love even when you know you'll be with them in Heaven. It just won't be the same. I hate this war, I hate my husband having to deploy, and I wish we were never in the Army to begin with.