Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

State of Denial

Last night, I went to bed with a really bad headache. Now I've woken up and can't sleep. Meh.

I've been thinking about the state of family support for the military. Hoping there was perhaps a support group for adult children of deployed soldiers, I went websurfing on the military's family support page. Unfortunately, the help available for children of soldiers appears to be in the form of teddy bears in Battle Dress Uniform (BDU). Oh, and there are coloring books. And for spouses, there's advice on maintaining the family finances and helping junior bond with the teddy bear (no, I'm not kidding. How I wish I were.)

So basically, there isn't any real adult support. Yes, I'm sure small children need help with Mommy or Daddy going away for a long time, maybe forever, but adults also need support. I think the problem is, though, that the kind of support we need gives the lie to so much of what the military wants said about itself that they can't even talk about us. We need help dealing with the damage done in war. Even non-combatants like my dad come back with serious emotional and sometimes physical wounds. We need help with the emotional trauma of sending them where they clearly don't want to go. We need help with our own emotional hurts and training to help with our loved one's pain, but the military is so busy sending the signal that we're all strong and brave and fully behind our troops that there's no room for dealing with the hurt that's there the whole time, simmering beneath the surface.

I try to talk with mom on a regular basis, to help be her support, and sometimes to lean a little on her. I worry about my younger brother who doesn't seem to want to talk about it, but at the same time is clearly showing the strain. My younger sister is also clearly worried. But that's no surprise. Our father is in a war zone. While I was at my husband's employer's holiday party, the brother of a soldier was telling me about some of what his brother had been through in the very camp my father is stationed at. Not comforting thoughts to sleep by.

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