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Salon.com
NOVEMBER 10, 2009 11:41PM

Open Wounds

Rate: 7 Flag

So my boyfriend, C, is deployed to Iraq.  He's been gone for almost 12 weeks, and I'm finally getting a hold on maintaining our life while he's gone, staying busy.  I started a second job, waitressing nights, to fill the time we used to spend together and to save for the house we want to buy when he gets back.  I go to the gym religiously, do laundry at my best friend's house on Wednesdays, and grocery shop every Saturday morning because a structured week helps time go by quicker.  Dangerous and irresponsible as it may be, I'm forgoing the 60,000 mile check-up my car needed 400 miles ago because it just doesn't feel right to go to another mechanic.  

I'm getting into a routine, and it makes me feel stronger and more in control.  I'm doing it!  It's been three months, and missing C hasn't killed me!  But I've realized that the rhythm is tenuous, and subject to being  blown to pieces by seemingly innocent kinks.  Mostly it's military-related things: the Veteran's Day sales commercials that have dotted the radio airwaves this week (and the Veteran's Day pieces that are sure to air tomorrow) can bring a lump to my throat and tear to my eyes, and the PSAs that Michelle Obama and Charlie Sheen do on TV specifically targeting military families can cause a complete breakdown on the spot.  

The trailer for "Brothers," out next month, sent me into a flood of tears; I saw about thirty seconds of it before it became clear that the movie will be about a wartime casualty and the family fallout, and sobbed and hiccuped through the rest of it, completely missing the key plot points of the film.  Hulu tried to play the trailer for me last night when I was catching up on TV, and I immediately panicked and slammed my laptop shut, rather than risk seeing even one second of it again. 

I saw a National Guard camouflage uniform on display at the State Fair and had to almost swallow my tongue to keep from bursting into tears.  A letter to a popular advice columnist sought advice for what to do about the pitying looks people were giving her after her fiance was killed overseas, and I felt like a knife was twisting in my heart.  

It's like walking around with an open wound; I'm able to make it through as long as my movements are planned and controlled. Things are going alright-we've got great weather, it's halfway until C's mid-tour leave and less than a year 'til he's done with the Army completely.  I think I'm getting it done, making it through okay, and then a media bit I would never have noticed brings me to my knees.  

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Comments

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I've been wondering about you, hoping you were getting a little settled. I'm so glad you posted this.

Here's what I think.... I think routines are helpful and sometimes very necessary. I'm glad you have one that is working for you. But... I don't see the tears or the falling a bit apart or even falling to your knees as a bad thing, as a failure. Crying or weeping, even wailing away doesn't mean that you aren't still holding it together. It doesn't mean you aren't doing well and moving forward. It just means you're expressing those emotions, those real, powerful emotions. Those emotions, sadness, fear, and missing him, are as valid and real as the strength and discipline that are getting you through all the rest of your days.

Take care, sweetie. Take good care.

xo
I keep thinking about you. Wishing I could take you out for a cup of coffee or lunch. Maybe go for a walk in the nice weather today.

I hope the day passes easily for you.
I feel for you and for all military families. I agree with Wakingup...you're not weak just because it gets to you; that only means you're human like everyone else. It takes a special kind of strong to love a soldier. You're doing it exactly right.
This is so painful -- and beautiful. Your wound will heal. God bless you.
You're doing great. Crying is ok! Breaking down is just a stumble, not falling apart.

And the media does make things hard - I totally get that. I wish I could help.
*hugs*