• Chapter 75: The Only Remaining Question

    March 11, 2016
  • We experienced another sand storm today. I recall one person telling me when I returned home that he still had the envelope with sand in it from when I was writing during a sand storm. He asked if me if I wanted the sand back. I promptly replied, "No thanks!"

    Two letters were mailed to me on this date. I received one from my grandmother and one from my sister, Caron. I was already working on a letter to my grandmother, but I stopped when I heard we could make phone calls home. I jumped up and joined a group as we climbed in back of the five ton truck. I finished the letter on the 12th, which I will share with you tomorrow.

    My Grandmother started out with "How is the desert treating you now? It's getting warmer here some days, I'm sure it is there too." It was definitely getting warmer, but I much rather be hot than cold.

    "Linda mailed your tape recorder for Robin Friday. You should have it by now" (meaning, by the time I read this letter). "Robin didn't have a small package so I told her to bring it over here as I had some of the padded envelopes. Everyone here seems to be doing ok, we miss you though. Maybe you can tell us about when you think you will be coming home. From the news reports it could be a few more months yet. My, you will be rich (almost) with all that overseas pay. I know you earned every bit of it."

    "Linda has another package ready to mail you, so we do expect to see you as fat as we are, ha!" One thing was true, I gained ten pounds while I was over there. And I was so skinny with such a high metabolism that I could eat anything I wanted and as much as I wanted and not gain a pound. They say the MREs have very high calories, though. So between the MREs and the junk food I was getting in care packages, I was kicking my metabolism's butt!

    In the letter I got from Caron, she wrote, "I just got off the telephone with grandma. It was so exciting to hear that you called and are doing fine. I hope you are doing alright mentally too. I just hope this isn't going to be too hard on you. I know that you've seen some pretty scary things while there. But we are all ready to help you deal with it when you come home."

    "Well, by the time you get this letter, I will be recuperating from knee surgery. They're going to do surgery on 3-14-91. But, it is nothing serious, I'm sure. Darren can't wait for you to come home. He is working on a picture for you at school. Every time I see the news coverage of other service men and women coming home I just cry. I'm happy for them and their families, but I want you to come home too! What a joyous occasion it will be. We'll let you rest, but then, out for the biggest and best steak in town. And then a good old fashioned homecoming party! We love you so much."

    "Becky, Joe, and Sheila sent you a care package. I was just wondering if you got it yet. I hope to get one off this week. Gotta go for now, but I love ya and miss ya a lot!"

    It is such a blessing to have so much love and support. Although it had been a challenge to keep my sanity over the last several weeks, I was determined not to let this war experience change me. I have been asked if it has changed me or not. I have been asked if I ever had to deal with PTSD. I keep putting off answering those questions because I want to address them in a single post some time late April or May. The only other remaining question that would repeatedly be asked in every letter from now on was, when was I coming home? Some times we would hear rumors of certain dates, but as soon as you start believing them, another would take it's place. I didn't know what to believe any more so I quit listening to them. I decided, when my plane leaves the tarmac, then I'll know for sure that we are going home.

    “Of all the hardships a person had to face,
    none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting.” 
    ― Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns
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