Keeper of Stories


067As a therapist who specializes in deployment, I find myself in the position of Keeper of Stories.  Week after week, soldier after soldier trusts me to offer them a shoulder, an ear, a safe place to just “be”. It is a sacred job, to just hold the space for them. After so many years as a therapist, it is impossible to be shocked with the content of people’s personal stories anymore. The responsibility of keeper of stories that took place in the theater of war is a big one.  From time to time I have to take a step back and seek my own sacred space in order to shed the stories and refresh my soul so that I can process the new ones awaiting me at my next session. I am grateful for my family and my yoga teachers who facilitate that process for me just by allowing me to keep to myself. My son, a SSgt. on a permanent rotation in the middle east once told me that “some stories can never be told mom“. So the silences between the soldiers and I become just as sacred as the stories themselves.

Reality Bites


A flurry of text messages leaves me numb this evening as I realize that the cycle of deployment is beginning again for us. Not being at liberty to discuss exits and entries and job duties leaves me pretty much alone in the cycle. I can only say that the bliss of summer safety for this family is abruptly coming to a close sooner than my heart and I were ready.

He returns there a higher rank than when he left. More responsibility. He’s making plans for a vacation upon his return. I find peace in his planning. I feel safer when there’s someone in his life to share his plans. I take more time to pack her care package for shipment than his because the energy is so different. Moisturizer, granola (takes her longer to get her care packages) no beef jerkey, a meditation, a women’s magazine. A different energy.

I am grateful for the gifts of my new life since his last deployment. Some are results of my having created them. Most have gracefully fallen into my world because I was more open to receiving them. I have hope that my energy has shifted into an acceptance of the continuing deployment cycle in part due to the loving work environment that my family and I have created. More support, less toxicity = a level of acceptance for his choice to remain in his current position with the military. Another round of meditations, more yoga, baking bread from scratch, service to my local community and good old fashioned hard work. This is my recipe for this military mom withstanding another round of middle east deploymentland.

Peace, love and little donuts,

Militaryzenmom

Politicians Earn Stripes?


This blog stays neutral with regard to politics but the OEF and OIF wars must become part of the dialogue between the Republicans and the Democrats this election.  If we want Americans to become outraged about the loss of life and the costs of war so that they begin asking louder questions, then perhaps we should start funding it in a way that people notice.  How about another 20% of our paychecks going to fund these wars?  Would that make us mad enough to march on Washington and demand America pull out?  The average American on the street doesn’t even seem to KNOW that we lost so many lives last week; much less lose any sleep over it.  Americans may decide to take notice if the things they love to buy in abundance aren’t so available anymore.  Gas lines anyone?  How about a 48 hours special every week on the lives being lost?  How about a little news coverage on the troops watching the olympics NBC? I didn’t expect much from NBC, but I expected a little something more that what I saw.

During the Olympics I watched a trailer for a television event that will air this evening called “Stars Earn Stripes”.  It appears to have a lineup of B and C celebrities who will be showing those who bother to watch the show the daily heroics that go into being active military.

Wouldn’t this show be a lot more entertaining if it were called “Politicians Earn Stripes”?  I want to see the candidates and members of congress (those who have a military background are exempt as it wouldn’t be very entertaining)  in this event.  You want ratings?  I would pay to see this on the screen.

So in order to find meaning and strength this week so that I could let go of the extended sarcasm printed above, Zenning up for me this week looked like this.  Traded the anger, sarcasm and helplessness I was feeling with an e-mail to Give An Hour™ to see if I could assist them in setting up an info table at the Veteran’s Festival over Labor Day weekend.  Pack a box for my son’s friend who just deployed for the umpteenth time.   It was all I could do.  I was powerless, angry and simply sad.

The names of the dead that have been announced since my last posting are out there. say them out loud please today.   Some were senior officers with children, parents, spouses and grandparents left behind.  4 generations will suffer the loss.

 

E-Mail + Nutella = happy militaryzenmom


MILITARY ZEN MOM POST 3/31/12

Received first e-mail from deployed beloved boy this morning.  Sigh of relief.  This e-mail saved me from a weekend binge of whole grain bread from the oven with Nutella.  Nutella is the latest coping tool in my military Zen mom bag of mindfulness tricks.  Bake bread.  Smear on bread while warm. Eat slowly.  Repeat as Necessary.

“Mom, send sheets and a pillow that looks like this (picture of gel pillow), I’ll send you cash or check from bank”.   Appears that Amazon won’t send the kid sheets to an APO.   The guy who replaced him didn’t leave his sheets behind for him knowing he would back on next rotation.  Who does that?  And why won’t Amazon send his sheets to an APO?  Mom will investigate, then write a letter to Amazon stating why this is bull_ _ _ _.  Much like the letter I sent to the Mayor of San Francisco who wouldn’t allow the Marines to de-plane a few years ago after a deployment.  I haven’t visited San Fran since.  Remains on my list of places NOT to spend money.

The disconnect between American civilian families and military families is alive and well.  Other people’s children fighting wars in faraway places.  The cost of a volunteer military is that military families ARE NOW THE OTHER 1%.  Occupy this mother’s broken heart for a little while protesters.

Anger doesn’t serve me right now.  When the anger wells up, time to Zen up.  So, here’s how you can help:

Ways to Assist a Military Family:

http://www.hireheroesusa.org (Employment programs for returning veterans).

http://www.missisioncontinues.org (Links wounded veterans with public service).

http://www.phhnc.org (Purple Heart Homes. A program to build handicap-accessible homes for veterans).

http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org (Provides programs and services to severely injured service members during the time between active duty and transition to civilian life).

www.puppiesbehindbars.com (The subset program Dog Tags provides Psychological Service Dogs to military veterans diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injuries and/or physical issues resulting from active duty in Iraq and/or Afghanistan free of charge; donations cover the $20,000.00 training cost).

Or you could just send a soldier, airman, marine or sailor a box of awesome stuff.

Prayers of healing for the families this week:

 

Peace, love and little donuts…….

Militaryzenmom