Sweet Leaf - Black Sabbath 3:01 PM



A week ago, I was in Afghanistan...

I was hunkered down with 'my guys' while the embassy and ISAF HQ were under attack. I had guys, who were total strangers the week before, making plans for my safety and thinking of my needs before their own.

2 weeks ago, I was on my way to Afghanistan having no idea what lay in front of me. I didn't know that I would make lifelong friends, I didn't know that I would witness life changing events, or see the worst that humanity has to offer.

Today, I am sitting in my climate controled office, eating microwaved food, and watching TV. My guys...? they are sleeping. Well, I hope they are sleeping... it's the middle of the night in Kabul. If they're not sleeping, it's because bad things are going on!

It took 9 months of planning to get this trip together, and in 2 weeks it's gone like a blur. If it weren't for the pictures, I would question whether it happened at all.  The people in the office, have been congratulating me (and Mike) on a job well done, and asking questions like "how crazy was it REALLY over there?" The truth? You don't want to know...  The stories that we've heard from the guys, the things that we've seen are not things that your brain allows you to forget, once you've heard and seen them. We got 2 weeks worth, 'my guys' get a years worth or more, if this isn't their first or last deployment. After 10 years of war, getting out with only one deployment is lucky.

I've been told by more than one veteran, that it's easier over there. The mission is clearly in front of you. You know who the bad guys are. You know what you're doing, and where you need to be. You're trained, and ready. It's simple. That is NOT the case back home. It's complicated, and messy at home. It's trivial. Lines at Dunkin Donuts, traffic, office gossip, laundry... these are all things that seem like a GIANT waste of time.

2 weeks ago, we were strangers.

 A week ago, I was asked by a soldier to pass along a message to his wife, if he didn't come back from a mission. Before I left on Saturday, another soldier asked me to visit his sick and pregnant wife in the hospital, because he wasn't going to be home to do it.

2 weeks ago, I was the DJ.

 A week ago, someone said "she's not in the Unit" and the response from one of my guys? "She may as well be!"

It's impossible for anyone to understand what our soldiers go through when they are sent to war. We've all had the experience with a family member from WWII or Vietnam. We've heard the stories that they are willing to tell. We've witnessed the dark places that they go to find those stories. It's called the 1000 yard stare, shell shocked, or more recently PTSD and TBI. I would never say that I understand them, or what they have been through. What I can say is this... I have been allowed not once, but twice in my life, to see behind the curtain. I've been given this gift, to peer briefly into a world, that most people will never understand. As an Army wife, it's an interesting perspective that I know most wives will never have. I have a new found respect for my husband and every other person that has worn a uniform for this country, and had to defend it's honor, in the face of hate and evil.

How will they be when they get home? How will they 'get back to normal'? Is that even possible? How will their families and friends react to the new person in the old body? How will this generation change the direction of our country as they age? What lessons can be learned from their sacrifice? How do you say 'thank you' for what they have given up, because they signed a blank check in service to our country, and we cashed it.

How do you say goodbye?