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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Jeremiah 29:11

I'm clumsily making my way through the normal stages of Predeployment Anxiety. Yes, you heard me right. My husband is leaving for Iraq in a few weeks. As a military wife, you always know that this may happen, but you try very hard not to jinx yourself, not to prepare, because preparing means accepting. For the first time today I can almost breathe, but I know it's only temporary. I may stand up from my chair and lose it all over again or I could be fine for a dday or two. Thus is the emotional cycle of deployment, and like another blog I've visited trying to identify with the women I will soon relate more closely with for at least a year, I am undoubtedly "knee deep in the hooah."

Stage 1: denial and disconnect. He can't actually be going. Doesn't the Army know we have four kids? That he's the love of my life? That nobody else can listen to me rant and rave all day and still love me enough to bring me a glass of wine and a kiss to make it all better? I'm in a limbo state where everything is a frozen blur. Or, maybe it's more like standing at the racing line, poised for action, waiting for the gun to go off, but wanting to sprint the other way.

I'm generating the lists in my head and fighting them with my heart. What lists do I have to make and why am I so anal? There are lists for picking up and dropping off kids, what I'll need to cut out of my schedule, and ..... I forget. Why does it really matter, I'll be doing it all anyway? Wait, that's not fair, my husband will be in a war zone, what right do I have to brood? I'll be here safe with my children, not in the middle of a ridiculous combat zone fighting for something we don't even fully understand or endorse. Tony makes lists too. Our birthdays, our Social Security numbers, identifying marks like his wedding ring tattoo.

Then sadness. The mornings I wake up already crying, with a lump in my throat that travels down and engulfs my lungs so that I feel like I can't take one step further; as if moving will actually cause time itself to move forward. Moving is one step closer to Tony leaving.

Then this week, the anger. But who at? Tony? George W. Bush? Osama Bin Laden? The Army? I kick the caked red mud off my shoe, cursing the rain. I'm mad at the rain now. I'm mad at my shoe. How insane is it that I feel I need a target just because they are turning my husband into one? The anger causes distance that we cannot afford to have.

Reality sinks in. We tell the children and wait for reactions. We will watch them muddle through these phases too. Normal. Natural. We'll get through this. It's only one year. Pray. Be strong. Lord has a plan for us. Not to harm us. A plan to give us hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11. It will be my mantra this year.

Meanwhile there is a husband, a father, a son, a brother preparing to leave his family. He knows we love him, but he will need more reminders of just how much as the days draw nearer. I don't want to be rude, but if you see us out please don't talk about the war. Our children will be listening more intently to the conversations we'll be having for the next month. They will carry your words to sleep with them, they are not like us, they do not have the ability to filter their anxieties. Tony will need your hugs, your pats on the back, a good cold bottle of beer if you have one ;) and some encouragement. Most of all, if you pray, he'll need your intercession.

17 comments:

saipanboonieman said...

boni, you know im not very religious or pray very much. but this is one of those instances in which that sense of spirituality that remains deep in me screams to be let out. so just know that mine and jasmin's love for you and tony and your family is with you and so are all our prayers!

Boni said...

Thanks CAJ. We love you too.

Tamara said...

Your post brought me to tears. My prayers are with you and your family Boni!!!

Aunt Patty said...

It's Aunt Patty from California. I just read your 12/1 entry and am still weeping. But he will be OK! The Gomez clan has had it's share of family dysfunction, car wrecks, divorce, war injuries, and addiction but we always pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get on with the business of living. We are blessed! And Tony is especially blessed. Did he ever tell you how he climbed on Grandma's roof as a toddler? Or how many cars he wrecked as a teen? :-). I love you all and will pray for him every day. Here's my email address: Dogenz@frontiernet.net. I don't have yours but have sent a note to Tony. I know that you may be very busy over the next few weeks, so no worry. Peace and health, Aunt Patty (now in Shasta County - three hours North of SF

Boni said...

Thanks Tami. Some minutes are better than others.

Aunt Patty: took him to the airport this morning and will meet him in Guam this weekend. Tony's definitely survived many crazy calls. The broken bones, the smashed up cars, this insanely crazy wife of his:) We miss him already:( I miss my buddy so much...my email address is bherealways@gmail.com. I need to send you a picture of Hope, she is the splitting image of you!

Saipan Writer said...

I've got nothing much to offer, Boni, but I'll pray, too.

We humans get ourselves into such ugly messes like wars and other horrors, and then someone like you comes along and writes about it, making it a way to connect, a way to feel, reflect, pray,-- a way to be a better human.

Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

Boni said...

Thanks Jane. Today was a total and complete bust. It's confusing and painful. I really miss my husband. Your kind words and those of others give comfort and hope.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

If he is called he must go. If he goes willingly then all will be well.

My family wishes yours peace and a joyous reuniting a few months from now.

Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you while Tony is away. I'm sure there are things he normally takes care of for you that will need attention. We are here to help you if called.

Beverly said...

Prayer sent. Thank goodness for Guardian Angels. Hang in there.

Boni said...

Thanks Bruce and Bev. Right now we are just waiting, hurrying up and waiting:) It's amazing all the things Tony does that I forget about. This is the learning curve, today was not so bad, so maybe tomorrow won't be either. It's comforting knowing he's just on Guam, and that I can still call. I am cherishing the time he's close by.

bigsoxfan said...

Maybe it wasn't just co-incidence we found the local Roman Catholic church, while visiting the lad's doctor the day before your post. We're putting a candle in the window for Tony's safe return. Time the pumpkin learns to sit quietly in church and a little prayer won't do me any harm either. Please know, all of you will be in our hearts.

Boni said...

When I took the Pumpkin's picture that night of the big blogger meet up I had no idea that you and Erdene would be such good internet friends. The candle touches my heart and Tony will appreciate your prayers. So surreal. Will someone wake me.

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Claire said...

Boni, I am here if you ever need to chat. You are always welcome to email me at the address on my blog. Also, if you have not checked out Christian Military Wives, I highly recommend it. The ladies there are very supportive... they pray and many of them have been through or are going through deployment.

Your family will be in my prayers. I remember that the weeks leading up to my son's deployment were very hard -- much harder than I was anticipating. I will be praying for peace and protection for all of you, and that this difficult time will result in your growth in your understanding of God's incredible provisions and in your love for one another.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Mark Scease has suggested that we show support for you and for Tony's safe return. To that end, I have copied the ribbon pic from your blog and will be applying it to mine. It will remind me daily of your plight and of Tony's service. I'm sure you don't need any reminder, Boni, nor do your children who will be wanting to be with their Dad. Just wait a few months, all will be well.

Anonymous said...

Boni, I know it's a difficult time for you and your family but I know that God will give you the strength to manage and keep your family safe.

My family will pray for you and your family and all our local troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Take care and God Bless you all!

Deece said...

Beautiful post.

My connection cut out yesterday - I didn't ignore you.)

Boni, I'm sorry he's been called to war. I can't imagine what you all must be going through. We will continue to keep all of you in our prayers. You've been in my prayers since you first told me.

Please, please don't hesitate to call me or email for anything. No matter how big or small you may think it is.