The last week we shared before they went off to war was the week they could become kids again, curious what their own city had to offer and to be with family and friends. We toured the city as if we hadn’t lived here our whole lives. The boys wanted to see places that they had visited when they were children, the Art Institute, museum of natural history and the museum of science and industry. We also went to Brookfield Zoo, and Lincoln Park Zoo just like we did when they were children.
They had taken all these sites for granted until they knew they might not see them again. I chose to write this story because I want people to know what it feels like to see your sons put in harms way, not knowing what to except. Anytime there was a knock on the door, it would send us all to the window to see who was there before we opened it, most of the time you except the worst thinking that the Marine Corp. was there to inform you that something had happened to your children.Order now
The stress, anxiety, fear, the not knowing what’s happening to your children is gut wrenching, not to mention the fact you have to deal with your own struggles while worrying about them. All though they had told me months in advance, I was still not prepared to see them leave. Their favorite saying at the time was “mom, I am going to be fine, don’t worry”. All it took was a word, a song, a phrase or even something on T. V. and I was a mess. In the beginning, I would just wander around and could not concentrate, so nothing ever got done.
You learn to take it one day at a time, step by step slowly. Worry sets in, but you know they have been trained for this type of mission. During those months of deployment I seldom watch the news at the time it was the worst possible time for our troops, they were experiencing a lot more killings. A lot more kids losing their lives. I remember one instance when Richard, who had been promoted to Corporal in the Marine Corp, called me before going out on patrol just to hear my voice because he said that it made him feel safe and he was thinking about home.
I mean what do you tell your child, the only thing you can that you love them and assure them that everything is going to be all right. As we are talking I could here mortar rounds going off in the distance. The whole time your heart is breaking into a million pieces for them, and the tears are non-stop, but you have to act like you’re strong because if I were to breakdown they would feel sad. They have been blown up multiple times, while they were out on patrol. They have seen things and done things that no human has to see or deal with, they have their demons to deal with.
They have seen friends die right in front on them, they have been shot at, spit on, they have been told they do not belong there even though they are there to help the people and their country. You would think that when they came home all would be better, but you find out later on most of their demons came along with them. You learn quickly that the sons that came back are not the sons that left, they look alike and sound alike, but their personalities are totally different.
They are more aware of their surroundings, scared of loud sounds; they need to have the television and lights on all night. As you watch them you begin to wonder what type of things they had to experience, for them to hurt so badly. While the nation was celebrating their Independence that my sons had fought for, they were locked in their rooms, thinking that they were being attacked and bringing back all the terror they felt when they were in Afghanistan.
Gradually their nightmares are subsiding with the help of the Veterans Administration and the love and support of their family and friends. But everyone knows that the scars that these kids have suffered in Afghanistan will never truly heal. Many families were not as lucky as we were, we sent our sons to war and they both came back. Everyday I am thankful for their safe return, and also praying that the rest of the troops will be coming home soon to their loved ones.