June 26, 2005
Close but Far Away
Sometimes, the war in Iraq seems so far away and in others, far too close for comfort. Again, I'm lucky. My boyfriend keeps in contact more than most, and I am grateful. I hear from him at least once a day. It may be just a 3-word email, or a 10 second phonecall, but I still hear from him in some context. And I spend a lot of time reading blogs to keep up with him, so I can support him as much as possible.

It's easy for me sometimes to feel like he's just on an extended vacation. To emotionally survive a loved one's deployment, I think you have to sort of shut off that worrying part of your brain. CaliValleyGirl puts it best in her latest post:

My boyfriend also downplays everything for me. If you listened to him, you would think that his unit of Ch-47s are just heavy-lifters, and basically are like flying trucks. *Yawn*boring. Nothing dangerous...except for when they crash...or get shot at...
I have been doing this type of survival method for years when it comes to my brother's jobs. One is a policeman and one's a fireman. You know it's dangerous, you hear the news stories, but when you actually think of what they're doing, it's usually more like you want to believe they're renting movies at Blockbuster or driving around eating donuts. You know it's not true, but it's just easier. I remember once listening on a police scanner and hearing that my brother was involved in an incident where guns were drawn. It was the last day I ever listened on a scanner. I like being an ostrich!

Todd and I made a pact early on that he doesn't tell me details, and I don't ask. By doing that, he preserves a sense of calmness that allows me to be a compartment of his life that doesn't have be full of trauma. Having said that, he has given me some fair details over the time, now that he understands that I can handle it, but I don't wish him to feel like he has to share. Only if he wants to. But I have heard the 50-mil rounds over the phone and even a very loud explosion once. It brings things home.

This week's news in the milblogs has been tough. A milblogger, TC Override was injured fairly severely brings things home. However, the compassion he's been shown has been truly heartwarming, and to see the milblog community come together wonderful. At least two other milbloggers have gone to visit him at Walter Reed, and there's no doubt that the hands that hold him up will not be walking away any time soon.

Then today, I finally get some time to read and catch up on my friend's blogs and I see that Paint It Black has lost a soldier in his platoon. Sgt Devore has been one of my favourite reads since before he even got to the sandbox, and his writing has brought life 'over there' home to me. He may not even realize the impact he has on us reading, but his words have often given me the strength to support Todd when he doesn't want to talk. I think of what Sgt. Devore has written and it reminds me that sometimes I must just support without words, and only actions. When I read about the loss of his friend, I felt it deeply. Mike, I am just so very very sorry. Another blog mentions the same incident here, in a little more detail and from a much different perspective.

Michael Yon also has great new article up about some of the lesser known missions in the war. We often forget that those serving may not be in the well-publicized operations like Lightening or Spear but are doing other critical jobs that will never make the front pages. This article was interesting to me because it briefly mentions where Todd is, in a round about way.

Earlier this week, Chrenkoff had a visual post showing the 26 countries that are supporting OIF. I learned from it....I had no idea how many countries were involved, and it only made me more frustrated and sad that Canada is not there. We should be and I am deeply sorry that we are not.

I'll leave you with The Anchoress's open letter to all servicemen deployed overseas.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.

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