In 1998 my husband went on his first tour to Bosnia, fresh out of battle school, he went back again in 2000, and then to Afghanistan in 2003. Each time he would come back things would be different. He had seen things, gone places, met people. And so had I, albeit I had stayed home. But the last time was different.
The last time he came home was when the reality of what he was doing had finally set in. As Canadians, it is easy to forget that war happens every day in so many parts of the world, or at least we are good at pretending it does not affect us and there is nothing we can do (I know I was good at it anyway).
But this time the war had followed him and it had entered our home, our sanctuary. We were not fighting, but fear and sadness had moved in, and soon anger had as well and even hatred. Hatred towards those I believed had caused it and towards those I felt had failed us.
Now, over fifteen years after he almost died in Afghanistan, I can honestly say I am not angry about it anymore. I am grateful. We are so much stronger than I ever thought possible. We have an amazing family, with the most awesome kids (albeit big kids now). And we have each other, for which I am grateful every day.
So today, I remember all those that didn’t make it home. I remember their families who had to learn to move on without them. And for the families who are struggling with the consequences and casualties of the wars that did come home.
Thank you to those who to care for the wounded and their families, not just military, but all families, all types of battles. Thank you to everyone who is trying to make the world (or just their home) a more peaceful place. Thank you to those who love others who are hard to love. Whether you’re wearing a uniform, a suit, a robe or pajamas (as I often do). We all have a part to play.
The irony is that my advice to people who are in the dark parts of their battles, feeling beat up, is that they keep fighting. Fight with the same energy as you would in a war, fight for help. Ask for what you need and keep asking till you find relief. When you don’t know what might help, try different avenues and keep trying till something clicks. My hope is that eventually, people won’t have to fight so hard to get help. That the right kind of support will be as easily available as is support for our anger and hatred.