I've had some trouble sleeping, staying awake worrying about where he is, what he is doing, and what dangers lurk around him. At first he was only to be away a year, then when I had reached the half way part I learned he would be extended another six months, and I was at square one again. That was when I had to struggle as never before in my life with the creeping darkness of depression at the corners of my mind. Randy came home on leave, he was just as he had left, maybe even better. I could tell he was healthy, deeply satisfied by the work he was doing, and fulfilling all God created him to be. The only weakness I detected there was the dart of worry which crossed his eyes whenever he detected any hint of difficulty in my or Brian's life. The thought that any of us whom he loves being in difficulty without him having the ability to problem solve us through it, is his kyptonite. He can work eighteen hours a day, sleep four hours a night, and reach peak performance every day. In fact he is one of those rare individuals who finds those kinds of challenges empowering. When you are in his presence somehow the "ten foot tall and bullet proof thing" wears off on you, and in fact inspiration comes that this thing could be a cinch. I know the Soldiers working with him know this to be true.
When a year had past and it was time to sign his extension orders, they arrived with a one year extension. Somehow I had known they would, I didn't experience creeping depression this time, but rather a resignation, and a numbing feeling that never would he come home. Last week at a Commander's Conference at Rock Island Arsenal, I met two women at the training provided by Army for spouses. One was the mother of a fallen Soldier, and one was the wife of fallen Soldier. She talked of her life as an Army wife, how she had loved it and her Soldier. Then she told of a dream she had, and in it her husband had been killed. She told us through tears how two weeks later the chaplain and an officer arrived at her door with "The News." I have never heard such moving words.
When I was a little girl, my precious father read to my sister and I every night. Despite his formal education only reaching the eighth grade, he has been an avid reader all of his life, and it has carried him far. He loves poetry, and often that was the content of his reading each night. I love all forms of self expression, playing piano, gardening, painting, and anything else creative, but never had I written a word of poetry. When I returned from the conference, it poured from me. The following is a poem I wrote inspired by the words of the beautiful woman who spoke them to those of us who share the experience of a beloved spouse serving the country somewhere dangerous and far away. I will never forget her or the love she expressed for her fallen Soldier, and the sacrifice she made and still makes when the chaplain and an officer arrived at her door and she received "The News."
Oh Woman, Woman, why do you wait?
There stands no person at your gate.
Oh Woman, Woman why is the tear in your eye?
He promised he'd be home, bye and bye.
Oh Woman, Woman, why do you turn your ear?
What soft voice is it that you hear?
Oh Woman, Woman, why does your heart lurch?
It is only a man coming from the church.
Oh Woman, Woman, now I see there are two,
One in a green uniform with something sad he must do.
Oh Woman, Woman, I definitely know,
How hard the way that you must go.
Oh Woman, Woman, surely you remember,
That he promised love like yours is ever tender.
Oh Woman, Woman, the wait will be short.
He's only gone before you for heaven's report.