Friday, April 27, 2007

The burden is too big

I’ve been away, it was just too much. I am very happy to say, that my husband is out, he is somewhere between there and home, and I’m ecstatic. Having him out of harms way has afforded me the luxury of peace of mind and the mental capacity to put my thoughts to words. And here they are: I support our troops, I’m conflicted on the war, but mostly I’m frustrated by the isolation.

I know I shouldn’t complain that I get a call from my husband only twice a month, when my grandmother heard from her husband by letter only a handful a time a year during WWII. It’s terrifying that death is a possibility, but I know the numbers pale in comparison to Vietnam. Watching your husband go off to war is as old as time – think of the Spartan saying ‘come home with your shield or on it’. But for this war, it seems different….it’s just that now I feel like it’s only me.

I’m one of the few wives that have the opportunity to live on base, but work in a professional capacity at a leading company, and I can’t tell you the echoing depth of the chasm that separates my two worlds. I walk into the office to talk of stock options, tax cuts, weekend parties, laissez-faire political debates. If I hear about the war at all, it’s typically someone priming me to say that it’s awful, that they should all come home – don’t they know that can be offensive when my husband is risking his life to be there? I’ll never forget they day that Al Zarqawi died and I mentioned the news to a college-educated co-worker at my fortune 500 company and the response was…“who”? Or when a ware-age eligible man asked me if my husband would be coming home for Christmas – nope, unfortunately Iraq doesn’t close shop for the holidays. It’s not that they don’t care, it’s that it just doesn’t affect them.

Then I hop the train back to my other life. When I come back home, I pass through the guarded gates of my Marine Corps life into this parallel dimension. Back home, the streets are full of women taking out the trash and climbing on roofs to put up the Christmas lights because daddy isn’t home to do it. Back on base I always have a friend that is about to come home, and another that is about to leave. Back home, women are crying because they’re afraid that their children won’t remember their fathers. On my street, there is a rotation of “welcome home daddy” signs that fill me with pride and smiles, but also make me want to cry because I want it to be my turn. Back home I know not to knock on a friend’s door without calling first, lest she think that that knock is CACO on the other side telling her, her husband didn’t make it. Back home, I have to close my front door, because hearing car doors shut brings up images of men in blue walking up to my door and delivering the bad news.

I don’t want to complain, I have loved many experiences I’ve had with the MC life; it’s fast and furious and always entertaining. My friends on the perpetual cycle of deployments do not feel sorry for themselves, and neither do I. But still, I’m left with a feeling of frustrations and it comes down to this: the burden is just too big to be borne by so few.