Saturday, June 14, 2008

In His Own Words

I have been relaying what I thought was Aaron’s views on the war, where he is, and what he is doing for 6 months now. I have been acting as the middleman between a world I am getting to know and a world I used to know, thinking that I have been doing a relatively good job of it. I email my family and closest friends once a month with news, achievements, and stories from the world they will never know. I started a blog to kind of do the same, but mostly to use words as therapy as I muddle through dozens of CNN and MSNBC and FOX news reports that blare “3 Soldiers Killed in Baghdad,” “Al Sadr: New Force to Fight U.S. in Iraq,” and “1 in 8 Returning Soldiers Suffers from PTSD.” We friends, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and wives back home are bombarded by this news coming from every direction – TV, radio, internet, newspapers – that cannot be ignored, as most Americans do. When we see those headlines, they don’t serve as pure news or information. When most would respond with “Damn George Bush” or “Iraq still must have weapons of mass destruction” or “Those soldiers knew what they were getting themselves into,” the first (and usually only) thought that races a shot of adrenaline to the finish line of the brain is “Please don’t let that be my husband/son/daughter/brother/sister. Please.”

I never knew the extent of the mind-twisting inner turmoil that Aaron and his fellow soldiers are feeling with respect to what they are doing. Whenever I would ask him what was going on in his head, he would usually say confidently, “This is my job. This is what I have been trained to do, this is what I do love doing, and I can’t let politics influence that. Once you start thinking politically, you lose sight of the mission, and above all, you need to keep your mind on the mission.” And then, a couple days ago, he emailed me and opened a little window into his mind. I want you all to read it, really read it and feel it, since there is nothing that I could write that would even come close to matching the raw sentiments that came from Aaron’s own soul. Here it is:

I thought I’d share this with you. This country, this shit hole they call the cradle of civilization, hasn't managed to keep anything alive or keep anything from withering away and dying. As you drive around here all you see is dusty old torn down buildings, crops, people, animals, children withering away, and us stuck in the middle. Sometimes I feel like we’re this country's last hope. And then I feel like I want to completely obliterate this whole place with a MOAB, affectionately called "Mother of all bombs" by us, but actually called a Massive Ordinance Air Blast Bomb. It’s the biggest bomb short of it being a nuclear explosion. One would take out Texas. OK, that's enough with the morbid talking. My point was that one flower of all things kept my hopes up, if just for a little. At the new COP, among all the debris and the new construction and all the clearing of trees and grass they were doing, I noticed that there was a Sunflower - of all flowers, a Sunflower. Standing there all by itself, looking proud and beautiful and full of life. I’ve taken a liking to them because they always look towards the sun, kinda like they’re always looking towards the sky for something good. And it reminds me of the sun’s rays as they hit my skin and how wonderful that feels. To think that a flower feels this too is really amazing. Every day when we drove to the new COP, the first thing I would do is look toward the Sunflower and almost instantly, all that crap I saw on the way there, all the sadness, would go away. Two days ago though, I noticed that the sunflower had died. Withered away and turned brown like everything else in this place. And it made me sad. It really did. I was reminded of all the bad, the hatred, and all the darkness there is in the world. I think they've since cleared all that area now, which again is an all sad reminder that we are here. That we are not going anywhere. And that things......honestly….aren't getting any better.
That’s all.

I read that email when I was in my car (thanks to my Blackberry), stopped at a red light, and when the light turned green again I actually had to pull over. I didn’t cry, I didn’t scream, I just sat. I sat and thought. My heart hurt in almost the same way as it did when I waved goodbye to the buses pulling away from the troop at Schofield 6 months earlier. To know that this man that I am so inextricably connected to is hurting in any way – physically, mentally, or emotionally – and that I can’t do anything about it, not even give him a simple hug or hold his hand, makes my heart sink down into the depths of my gut. And to know that he can’t be the only soldier over there that feels this way, and that not one of those men can be held by their loved ones and feel any sort of physical-turned-emotional comfort from them kind of rocks me to the core. This is not how the world is supposed to be. This is not how peace on Earth is made.

I feel like I am a changed person. Six months ago I was brutally awoken to the true realities of the distant world around me, going from being an inwardly thinking, see the world through rose-colored-glasses 24 year old girl to a not-so-innocent, slightly cynical but still partly hopeful young woman. In this new world that I am getting to know it’s all about give and take, but I can’t help to hope that this war won’t take what I have given it for good. I want my husband back.


Aaron said...

Not sure what to say..Sometimes I come to these things you write.And really get a sense of home. I look forward to it. Just like i look forward to seeing you. I miss you honey. No matter what happens, where I'm at. I will always look to you for that which i dont have here. My heart. I left it with you 6 months ago. I will be back for it. I love you wife.

ButlerWifey said...

Hi Sarah,
Sounds weird but I have heard of you! Haha, through Matt & Annie. Yes just about 1/2 way through! The time cannot pass fast enough, but I can't believe it's already been 6 months. We go to York Beach, Maine, it's the first exit off 95, I love it there. Are you still in Hawaii? I can't wait to come back. Well thanks so much for reading my blog I'll be sure to keep up on yours as well!

Why we wait.