Monday, November 23, 2009

Soldier Mama's Reflections on Son's Second Tour in Iraq

Welp, there he is. Here I am, and there, in Iraq, he is.

There are some of readers new to this blog. That makes you not-quite-with-me on the my-kid-is-in-a-war-zone front. And there are those of you that have been with me since....

If you've been here since then, you may have noticed a difference in my demeanor, on this, his second tour. I was a mess on his first deployment. A freakin mess! I'd burst into tears in the grocery store, and physically shake at certain news stories. I had to constantly buck up, get a grip.

This second tour has been kind of surreal, as there have been such huge distractions from Brian's deploying. He had to leave just 36 hours after Teri died, to report back to base. I was off my rocker with grief, cried out, and too numb to think about the fact that I wouldn't see him for more than a year. I hugged the stuffing out of him and sent him & Courtney on their way--without a tear.

And I haven't been the nauseous, nervous wreck that I was last time, thus far.

Part of that is that has more access to us this time around. While he spent his last tour in a tent, this time he has a "room" (or a 2-man pod, as he puts it) and his own internet access. I kept in close contact with him during his flight out of the country, and during his holdover time in Kuwait, and was in contact with him the day he pushed North into Iraq. I'm more in the know.

In addition, the mood is calmer there than it was last time. His unit averaged 37 "enemy encounters" every day (I know I'm using the wrong terminology there, but hey, I'm just the mom), and the unit they're replacing dealt with only 4 for their entire tour.

Still, although I am admittedly calmer, I still find myself dealing with a few of the aspects that I did last time he deployed. Odd superstitions sneak back into play. (Remember the penny? ) The last time he deployed, a wacky neighbor waltzed over and gave me a Jesus candle—the kind in the Mexican section in the ethnic grocery aisle. At the time I giggled at the gesture. Sweet, but silly. Uh, huh. I burned that candle every time I thought of Brian, and it comforted me to have it there.


So, I went out and bought myself a new Jesus candle for this tour.

I had to have it.
Had. To.

I blogged, then, about coming to grips with my own irrational fears, and with fear in general. This issue creeps back now, in an odd manner: Since he left, I've been paranoid that I will get into a terrible car wreck, one that will just break my body. I think that the idea of something happening to Brian is just more than I can wrap my head around, but the underlying fear has to manifest it somehow, and in an imaginary manner that would still cause me pain. How's that for self psycho-analysis?

What it really boils down to is just that it's been a hard year. Watching Teri get worse and worse, and then finally pass away. Taking care of my mother in every aspect of her life, cleaning her house and getting her meals and losing time at work to get her to all appropriate appointments, and then throwing her grief into the mix, along with the rest of ours. Since Teri died I've attended wakes and funerals for 4 more people, including my Grandmother, a cousin, and a close friend of ours.

Though we really are doing ok here, I think I'm all out of nerves. I'm out of outward worry, out of outward fear.

All I have left, then, is this:

Nothing can happen to Brian.

That's my update on him, and here are some of his latest pix, showing him doing just fine, thank you very much:

Oh, there was an incident on the first or second mission in which they took a wrong turn. He said that was a little nervewracking...but luckily, they had this to get them back on track:

I'll bet they should go left.

Nice ride.

Brian and another one of my soldier babies, Jon Standish.
Jon has the most recognizable laugh on the face of the earth.

Rodger, Dodger, Over & Out.


  1. Love this post! Warms my heart and my toes!!! I love you Lori! Not a number big enough on the planet to express how much! Brian is etched in my every prayer- as are you!

  2. Hey... look what time the first comment was posted. Mom's birthday! She's watching over him!!! I love you!

  3. Glad to hear his current situation is "less active".

  4. I was wondering about that, even though I knew you had so much other stuff tugging at your heart. I've prayed for him a few times since he left. I think he'll be fine. In the pic with the sandbags, are those the living pods behind him? (And love the candle!)

  5. Such a nice post. My best to you and Brian. You guys are too cool.

  6. You got me.....I'm in! What can I do to help. =)

  7. You've had a horrible year. Your grace and strength under all that pressure simply astound me. You are simply awesome.

    I have to ask, that first picture - is it photoshopped or does Brian really have that much upper body strength? If so - whoa!

  8. It's not photoshopped. I was considering a slideshow for him while we all try to get photos of ourselves trying that.

  9. Nothing can happen to him. I feel the same way. And I pray for it...That's it then. Done.

    And there is no way in hell I could do what he's doing in that picture!!! AMAZING!

    (PS my word verification was "censor" - - weird! I don't think I've ever gotten a "real" word.)

  10. He's probably enjoying his time there, and of course nothing will happen to him. Still, it must be an ordeal for you and so many families here and in the countries we're occupying. May it all come to an end, and soon.

    Love ya Lori.

  11. Nothing can happen to Brian. Works as a mantra for me. Maybe even better: Nothing will happen to Brian. Yep. Definitely better. Because nothing will.

    Also, remember there is nothing like the first time of Anything. We are amazing in our abilities to adjust. Of course, "less active" is helpful too. ;)

  12. Love this, love you Lori. Hugs to Brian.

  13. Tough year, but I just feel he will be fine and home, and in one piece soon...

  14. The human flag photo caught my attention that is a REALLY tough move to hold.

    If you go to youtube and put in human flag you can see videos of people trying to do it.

    Thank you for your son's service.

  15. Anonymous4:02 PM

    I am with what Larry said in his comment above : May it all end, and soon!

    May all our children, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters come back and sound.


  16. I'm glad you're doing okay. I love this post, too. And I love all the photos. We keep Brian in our thoughts and know he'll be fine!


Back talk! Comment here!