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Anybody have experience with this?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by EmbassyRow, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. EmbassyRow

    EmbassyRow Active Member

    I don't ever talk about anything important on here. I mean ever. This place has always been my release at the end of the day. I've had so many great laughs from the things I've read here, but this is a real departure for me. So if I seem melodramatic or flat-out silly, my apologies. Bear with me here.

    I have a little brother in the military. He volunteered for a deployment to Iraq this summer. I don't want to give too many details, y'understand, but I can say that he's got a relatively important job and should be well-protected on a base. He won't be in a walking-the-beat area or anything like that. Still, he's my little brother. My best friend in the world. I worry.

    I had to take the obligatory in-the-event-of-my-demise phone call from him tonight. Finding out what I'd be willed, funeral plans, what songs he would want played (I insisted on "Ripple" by the Grateful Dead, which he introduced to me), the kind of gathering he would want, etc. should anything terrible happen to him.

    I'm convinced he'll be as safe as he can be. I'm convinced he'll do his job and come home. But I can't help but feel really frightened and really vulnerable right now. I pride myself on being strong in tough times, in putting on a brave face. I'd never admit it to my family, but just the thought of it makes me crack.

    I'd appreciate any advice you might have. That's the toughest phone call I've ever taken (and I can only hope it remains the toughest phone call I ever take).
  2. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    If you're into it, spend time praying about it. I've got an uncle in the sandbox, and his life is in danger everyday because he's always patrolling the streets.
  3. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    My sister and her husband have built a big-time business and just had twins. And they've asked me to take the kids in case "anything happens." Just saw her tonight and we're going to "go over things" in their will in the next few weeks.

    Really, it's just something in the back of my mind. It's there. I'll react if something happens. But ... yeah. It's weird. And strange. But something I won't believe or deal with until I need to. Which, in my mind, is never. Hopefully, the same for you.
  4. Petrie

    Petrie Guest

    Only child here, but I'll try my best...just remember that "should anything terrible happen to him" is the absolute worst thing that can happen. If he's in a position where he should be well protected, the most likely scenario (by a WIDE margin) is he does his job and comes home safely. Look forward to that, and keep your head up. Best wishes to you and your brother.

    EDIT: Just realized subject was "Anybody have experience with this?" and...well...I don't. Oops! :-[ Hope the advice still helps...
  5. Stay positive. He just did the smart thing to make sure everything is taken care of.

    You can't think of what might happen. It will tear you apart.
  6. gingerbread

    gingerbread Well-Known Member

    My younger brother is in the army, military intelligence, already did a very long tour in Iraq and is tagged for another sometime this spring.
    I won't try to convince you otherwise: as long as your brother's gone, it will eat you up 24-7. I lost it only twice: once when I was staying with my sis-in-law and their toddler twins on the base while my brother's unit was deployed and "the" van turned down the block, stopped at a neighbor's house and two chaplains got out to deliver horrible news; and when I realized I didn't know my brother's favorite song, and what would we play at his funeral when he didn't come home?!
    He came home, after a year and some, and his favorite song is the soundtrack to the video in my sig, quick snippets of his experience over there. I'd rather he left out the pic of the suicide bomber, but it's his life. That's what keeps me going, even as we disagree on the war, on our role in Iraq, even as he prepares to go back for another year -- these are choices my brother made (unlike, say, National Guardsmen), and he's proud of what he does and stands for. He'd give his life for this country.
    I'm happy to lend a shoulder if you need one.
  7. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    I had a buddy doing transport protection in Iraq right after getting married. His wife and I are friends, and I asked her once how she gets by daily. She said "Well if he were here, he'd be driving me crazy with ..." and started rattling off goofy stuff that he does. We started sharing stories about the dumbest things we've ever seen him do.

    I realized she hadn't answered my question, directly anyway. But I think what she did there, picturing him as she knew him at home instead of picturing him with a gun in the desert, is how she got by.

    (Denoument: Luckily he's home -- after another deployment since then -- and enjoying time with his newly pregnant wife.)
  8. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    Instead of praying for him and worrying about him, I suggest you spend all your spare time campaigning for Barack Obama because he's the only Presidential candidate who hasn't supported the war from Day One and has guaranteed to bring your brother home ASAP.
  9. Ok, I'm all about Obama, but since when did this become a political discussion? Embassy is pouring his heart out here and you're giving political advice? Come on. There is no place for that on this kind of thread. That's why we have a primaries thread.
  10. kingcreole

    kingcreole Active Member

    Yeah, let's keep the politics out of this one. One of our own has a loved one and would like some genuine advice and maybe some good vibes sent his way.

    ER - Sounds like your brother should be fine over there. Don't fear the worst, send the guy some care packages and be ready to drink when he comes home.
  11. EmbassyRow

    EmbassyRow Active Member

    I appreciate the advice you've all given me. A day later, it's a little easier to handle. I'm still worried as all Hell --- it's what the parents and protective oldest brother do, after all --- but I know him better than anyone. He's smart. Much smarter than I am, in fact. He's strong (in body and will). Thanks to his military service, he has a purpose and structure he's never had.

    I know he'll be fine over there. I also know he's a little scared, and I can't help but think that I have to hide my own fear from him.

    I spoke with the SSgt. at his branch's closest recruiting station. Apparently, there's no support group around here for people with loved ones serving. That's a bit surprising. I'm not looking for a weepy hug-it-out group, but it'd be helpful to at least know a couple of people near me who are going through the same thing.

    Again, thanks.
  12. Jones

    Jones Active Member


    Hombre, look, you're going to worry, and that's okay. It's only natural. You can comfort yourself all you want with your brother's role and with logic and with statistics, which I think is a good thing for you to do, but ultimately, you're still going to worry. Your brother's not home, which means he's away, and it's a good thing that you love him enough to worry about him when he's gone.

    Also, as hard as it might have been, it's a good thing you had that conversation. I just finished up a story on Iraq, about a soldier killed there, and you wouldn't believe how many people said either, "I'm so glad I told him how I felt before he was gone," or, far worse, "I just wish I'd told him how much I loved him." You've had that conversation. Before your brother goes, call him again and tell him again how much you love him. That's very important to do, for both of you.

    And while he's gone, keep busy. Write him letters and send him care packages. If you send him boxes of microwave popcorn, he will be the most popular guy in his unit. You can't watch over your little brother anymore, but that doesn't mean you can't still care for him. He's going to be in a place where it's very hard to see the good in the world. Your job is to remind him of that good, and you need to try to do it as well as he will do his.

    I hope very much that he stays safe.
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