Thursday, June 20, 2013

Slightly Left of Level

Please excuse me while I push the pause button on my life...
There has a disruption to the level balance of my world.  While I'm aware I live my life in a way that most would never call balanced...or level if you me I keep all the crazy in check and thrive despite 3 jobs, 2 kids, crazy athletics, and whatever else I take on.  But this...this throws it all out of less level...perhaps slightly to the left of level (because to be to the right of level might be ok). 
I always expected these things to start with a phone call...but no, this began with an email:
And so it begins...
I'm being mobilized (deployed) to Afghanistan.  Kandahar.  To the Role III Multinational Hospital as a critical care nurse.  I'm scheduled to leave in January and hopefully return by September.
So my life, as I know it, will be on pause.
In order to track this crazy journey I know I need to remember, to vent, to process...but simply writing with no intent isn't going to capture the true essence, fear, adventure, drama, and dance of life at war.  So, at the suggestion of a brilliant friend, I'll be writing letters...addressed to my of the few people on earth I can be brutally, blatantly honest with.  To chronicle the good, bad, and extremely awful bits of life in a combat zone...
My mother is my rock.  She was a single mom and probably because of this she has always been more friend and confidant then mother (unless she needed to be mom...and then trust me...she is and was).  She also lives with us full time...which is one of the reasons I KNOW my children will be alright in my absence...but that's another topic...
So here's to life slightly to the left of level...struggling to find the balance...and waiting until I can have THIS moment...
Dear Mom,
I'm not really sure where to start.  I know that we've talked about this day.  Knew it would happen even.  But when that email came I went blank. 
I was sitting next to the campfire...trying really hard not to let the bottom of my sandals melt as I placed them on the metal fire pit, childishly trying to claim as much warmth as possible from the flames.  My phone vibrated slightly in my pocket...there, written in bold letters was the email title
I'm not sure I read the words but rather absorbed were my first phone were so calm.  Thank you for that...always calm in my storm.
Telling Mike was difficult...he shrugged and moved on...I don't think he has confronted the reality yet...that I'M the one leaving, not him.
When I told Bex and Alli they both had similar reactions...silence.  And then a series of deep breathes.  I knew how they felt...because I had to do the same.  Just breathe...deep...breathe it in and let it all out.  There is nothing to be done to change it so I might as well embrace it.  Embrace the suck, right?
I called Dad too...later...asked him first if he was sitting down, he was.  I got an almost identical reaction from him.  I think that in the silence there is so much communication.  "I'm worried, I'm scared, that's so long, how will you do this, how will I do this?..."  Silence speaks volumes.
So here we are, a bit over 200 days until I check in.  About that many days left of my "normal" life.  There is so much to do and I don't even know where to start.  I know, from being on the homefront side of these things, that life goes on...I don't worry about you guys in that way.  I know my kids are strong...they will get through it and thrive (they are my offspring afterall).  But does life go on for me?  Do I get stuck in a proverbial groundhog day?  Do I change?  Do I grow?
I'm sure I'm bound for change.  I don't think you can spend that much time exposed to war and NOT change.  But will I change for the better...or collapse into a shell of who I was...
I'm scared.  I can't even lie.  I've never been in a situation where my own safety and security were seriously at risk.  And now I'll be living that reality day in and day out...for months
But you know what?  I'm excited too.  I have never shied from an is all about the experience, the journey.  My path has always been full of adventure and I guess this is just another one to talk about down the road, when I'm safely home again with my babies in my arms.  I know I will experience things I will never have the chance to again in life...and for that I'm excited...and ready.  As ready as I'm going to be.
And I'm proud...beyond proud.  I have a chance to use my hard earned nursing skills to heal our injured.  To create change in the lives of young Marines that have placed themselves on that huge altar of freedom in the names of us all.  I get to DO something, BE the proud American you raised me to be.
Until then let's live the rest of this fast forward before the long pause....
I love you.


  1. words cannot even begin to tell you how proud I am of you. your mother, to this day, has been one of the most influential people in my life, outside of my own parents, and you my dearest cousin have been a part of that. watching you grow up, get married, become a mother, a nurse, a committed athlete and now putting life, limb, family and happiness on the line in the service of our country has touched me and inspired me in ways I can't begin to enumerate. I love you so very much! I have every confidence that while you may experience things that will indelibly make their mark on you, at your core, you will remain that remarkable woman of strength you have fought so hard to be. Keep fighting the good fight dearest cousin. It will not be in vain. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family throughout your deployment.

    1. Heidi,

      Thank you so much...that means the world...I love you too! Thinking of a possible trip with the kiddos your way when I get home.....we'll chat.