Friday, November 11, 2011

I'm Ok I Miss U

Its Remembrance Day again. Arguably one of the toughest days of the year for this Veteran, this Army Wife, this Mom-who-wore-combat-boots, this woman who loves her Country as much as she loves her precious family.  I'm always so lost because as a Veteran I'm proud of what I did and yet hurt by the well meaning folks who can't seem to imagine the Vet Plate on my van is mine, or the CD ribbon on my chest is mine...I must be wearing both to honour my husband right?

I was medically released from the Army after only 12 years and as a full time, 24/7 class B/C the whole time, reservist I wasn't entitled to a pension or even a Veteran ID card.  My pre-deployment training for Rwanda and my very limited involvement in that mission didn't earn me a medal. It changed my life forever, but you can't hardly know that unless you could see inside my memories. I didn't go to Afghanistan, I only supported 4 of the missions from a rear position.  No matter which way you cut it, I don't have any real emblems to wear to show 'what I did.'  And how do I even compare next to so many of my brothers and sisters in arms anyway? Soldiers like my Husband with 4 overseas and 4 domestic ops under his belt to say the least. I can hardly blame folks for not knowing or guessing the truth about me.

And really those well meaning folks aren't actually wrong either! I truly am deeply proud of my Soldier-Hero-Husband. I've admired him since the day I met him on my Basic training and he was bandaging a nasty blister I had from my first ruck march. He's accomplished so much and as his Army Wife I've been through hell and back worrying about him when he was deployed.  And he's been deployed A LOT ~ certainly a hell of lot more than I.

The sound of his voice at 0500hrs on the morning of 19 April 2002 saying: I'm okay and I miss you is a soundtrack in my memory that won't ever be lost.  That was Canada's first rotation into Afghanistan, the night of the friendly fire and we didn't have the logistics of notifying family of the fallen properly squared away.  That night, I had no uniform of my own, only the fear of a woman in love thinking her Husband, the Father of her daughters might never come Home again.

In 2006, on his 4th overseas deployment, and back to Afghanistan again, I woke up one night with a horrible feeling and just knew he wasn't safe.  I received a text late into the morning that read: I'm ok I miss u. As it turned out he had been on an air evac mission and sure enough things had gone awry. Command staff had made some grievous errors. Fortunately Doc had been able to compensate for the poor preparation in terms of patient care on board and the incredible and gifted pilot took care of the rest.

I love my precious and noble Country. I love the people, the land, sea and the skies more than I could possibly explain using the inadequacy of words. I still serve, in my small 's' way by being a Public Servant in the Federal Government but again, it isn't something you can see on my chest.

Toughest of all is the toll Military Life has taken on my heart, mind and family. More invisible pieces of the puzzle. From lost friends, survivor's guilt, PTSD and too many family milestones missed, Doc, the Girls and I have a pretty heavy ruck sack we try to carry around together. And maybe that's the thing I need to REMEMBER is that I have Doc, Bug & Doe.  I have their love and presence in my life because my brothers and sisters in arms, the many before, alongside and those that will come after us, stood up and said they'd protect Canada and keep her people safe and free.

Thanks for letting me Serve you Canada, truly the honour was in the privilege of opportunity.

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