- Posted March 12, 2014 by
My heros,My sons
I am a military mom to two sons who are army reservists. My youngest son, Joshua served in Iraq in the beginning of the war he served two terms of obligation and received his honorable discharge on November 19, 2013. My older son, Keith served in Dijubuti Africa for enduring freedom he has served more than two enlistments; as of now he serves in Afghanastan leaving his brave wife and two young sons until he returns. Let me take you to the day that my life changes, I remember it all to well. Its Feb 7 2003, I am at work my phone rings its my son Keith he tells me just received a call from his unit he's being deployed and must report immediately.I am numb inside and out, I hear nothing but the beat of my heart pounding ever so fast. Within 2 hours I am still not quite in touch with what is about to happen,my son joshua calls me that he is being deployedand must go. I feel the color leave my face, I have a pit in my stomach,my heart is aching,josh says to me it will be alright mama. I start thinking how many days until they go,when do I see them,so many questions too many feelings. They return somewhat somber,not quite sure what they are about to experience themselves. My sons are so close to each other, I can't imagine how they will do apart. Nothing prepares us for the goodbye to them. One of the worst days of my life was saying goodbye to them from their units. Joshua leaves first with everything in tow,so young and innocent Idon't think anyone slept that night they left. I pull myself together as much as I could,but to no avail we arrive in kittanning many other parents and family members all with the same sad anxiety riddled look. The brieffings are held we are being prepared for letting go of our loved ones and we are thanked for the sacrifices we will make. But all too soon its time,the vehicles are loaded and ready to depart. At this time we don't know where they will be going. There are no words to express what I am feeling, I hold joshua so tight,I am trying to be strong,my heart is ever so weak.I feel it breaking,I cant let him go,I don't want to let him go. My husband is trying to be the pillar of strength himself. He cant fight back the tears,either. Krisa our daughter is taking it hard she is crying for her brothers. He must go, he gives me the I love you sign. I am overwhelmed with fear of not knowing when I will see him again. I am becoming so filled with anxiety I can't swallow. This is where my anxiety tends to consume me and my mind. Within a few weeks we hear from josh he's 7000 miles away he's safe. Now preparing to have keith go,the same atmosphere, moms are crying, kids are crying ! There is no comfort zone for us,for our emotions.It's time to go the announcements are mad briefings begin then its time once more to say goodbye to keith, my firstborn. Oh God I can't do this please I'm praying ,Keith holds me tight, my heart hurts I want to faint from panic. His unit leaves he passes me and gives me a salute and I love you mom, and yet I say goodbye to one more son,when will I see him again? I am okay as long as I don't think how far away they are. I need to do something,I am not coping well. Here comes my strength, my daughter,Krisa who made a promise to her brothers to hold us together, be strong for the family,she reads us a letter they wrote to us on the way home, he tells us not to worry they have to protect our Country,we need to be strong,take care of the home for them. I decide I have to be brave they are depending on me for mail, cards and care packages. I create my own support and I find how deep my faith is, I put my trust in God. Believe me, this is hard.I find it hard to get up in the morning to go to work all I do is cry I find comfort in writing so I start some scrapbooks and journal. There is never a minute I'm not thinking of them so I write and pray.I miss them so much I can hardly breathe, time does go by we are managing missed birthdays and holidays are tough. Out of the blue one day I answer the phone its Josh Mama I'm coming home followed by a call from keith were coming home. Through it all our Krisa was the glue my story is not over it has many facets and I hold many in my heart. I found inspirtion in my sons, I found an unconditional dying love from my husband, I found friends that cared ever so much. I found comfort in strangers. I seen through my daughter how much she loved her brothers, only a child herself, yet always there for us who held back herself just to be strong for us. My son Josh is home his tours are done how I managed to survive without them is a miracle. They are forever my sons and now forever my heros!
I am a proud mother but I am on a mission for validation for justice and resolution for my son Josh because of the financial nightmare he is under. Josh never received his initial 5,000 bonus,why no one knows and no one could help only to say he checked the wrong box! I am genuine,truthful,and heartfelt and I am fighting for resolution and answers. Josh is struggling at some areas its early signs of PTSD. He reenlists and gets a enlistment bonus for a civilan job during which time issues begin to surface like depression and anxiety. When Josh came home his transition wasn't easy,nightmares and wakes up sweating and he cant sleep. It is hard to say when it actually begins the PTSD ,he's trying to deal with it himself. Life continues he goes to Panama receives an impact award. His unit is well aware of what Josh is going threw but really did nothing. Josh gets the civilian job and that was a process. They know he just got a bonus but he's reassured it won't matter. A year or more passes and bang. We know PTSD has reared its ugly face,we are in trouble with a broken soldier whatever he experienced however it happened it wrecks havoc on all of us, he's bullied at drills in a respect he is mocked by his peers and we are getting no help from anyone we all hit a rock. One day I get a call from a retired veteran who can help us, we do an intervention,tough love, this is going to hurt you more than you know you'll dig deep in your faith to get you threw this and to pull Josh out. With the help of this man,relentless praying,crying,we found that light. Josh turned his life around,it was Josh and only josh,this is his amazing story of what he did how he defied the odds. We were lucky, Josh was lucky. Too few soldiers come back after war, whether its physical or mental capacity.
This has been a long battle for Josh with bills coming in for repayment of his reenlistment recoupment.I am sick over this and Josh relives it every time. If you sit and talk to Josh long enough for him to sit still you will see his hands shake,he won't say anything is wrong,nervousness,if you look in his eyes I see it those symptoms never go away.
We have tried all venues,messages never returned,here is a number maybe they can help,we got letters from dfas their version of an explanation. No one ever wanted to help us,to date they have already taken a lot from him and recently his tax refund and now possibly his wages. There is no way I'm not going down without a fight because its with a agency that does not know the specifics,that agency hung up on me several times and they are representing the army!
We lost an innocent boy who wanted to serve his Country,went to war, and sacrificed so much.I am very passionate about our veterans and their plight so I am determined. They are crippling him financially and so many others, we wait for answers and hopefully get a resolution its been years and I'm afraid this can cause more damage to an already broken soldier. Josh has done his duty to serve and as his mother I am doing mine. I hope I make it to Washington that's my dream by telling this story if I help one soldier one veteran maybe I can open all the doors for the rest of them.
God Bless All Our Soldiers....and their families.