Where Did I Go?

It has been six weeks exactly since my last post. I’ve gotten some really nice notes checking to see if I’m okay, and a few asking where my commitment went. Some of the later aren’t referring to my silence, but I’ll get back to that. Others have attempted to commiserate along the lines of, ‘It must be hard to find interesting things to write about consistently’.

I’ll address that last thought first. Sadly, the exact opposite is often my problem. There are so many things that I want to write about, I have a hard time deciding. Every day, I wake up and watch the news, literally as I open my eyes. My husband routinely wakes before me and puts the TV on in our bedroom, always to a news channel. Usually, HLN so he can get what he calls his “Robin Fix”, meaning the morning host Robin Meade.

This doesn’t wake me, but it is how my day starts. I change the channel after I’ve seen the cycle of news. I know it’s time when I see a repeat of the same story. Next up is usually CNN, MSNBC  and FOX, not necessarily in that order. Which I turn to first is dictated by one of the stories briefly touched on by HLN. At the same time, I’m scrolling through my FB newsfeed, several MilBlogs I follow, BBC and other news sites on my iPad. In other words, before my brain is fully engaged, I’ve absorbed what is going on in the world, from a variety of sources.

My father was one of the smartest, best informed people I’ve ever known, and this is how he started his day. Of course back then, it was newspapers, the radio and TV that were his morning companions. Sadly, he died in 1990, before the internet age. I often think how he would have loved the world wide web. Had he lived, I’d bet a lot that he would be one of the most prolific and widely read writer/bloggers in the world. He was that smart.

I guess my morning news-seeking ritual is a homage to my father. My mother always said I got my brains and memory from him and the older I get, the more I appreciate his gift. All this is the long way of explaining my lack of posting has not been due to not having things to write about. The world is a very busy place, particularly of late, particularly in regards to military, veteran and other issues that are my normal fodder.

The hardest part about not having clicked the publish button for weeks is deciding where to start. In my last post, “22 Veteran Suicides A Day”, I said I would be publishing several pieces on this incredibly important issue during September as part of National Suicide Awareness Month.

Those unpublished and unpolished therefore unpublishable pieces are still sitting on my hard drive. I promise, they will be posted, hopefully one day soon. This is a devout, sacred commitment I’ve made to several people whom I deeply care for, Linda, Andy, Julieanne, Denise, and too many others to name. Your stories are among the most important I could ever tell but I won’t until I have them just right.

In the past several months, I’ve written many things I think of as teasers. I’m satisfied with what I did publish but for each one, there are several more on the same topic waiting in the wings. The subjects are so vast with so very many different facets that simply could not be included in even a very long post, parts were broken out into their own, stand alones. Related, variations on a theme but sufficiently divergent to deserve their own space.

The question, why I haven’t published still exists. There are a bunch of answers, but most center around having just become too busy with other projects to sit down and hammer out the kinks, fix syntax, check sources and put out a product that won’t make me cringe when I stumble across it in someone else’s newsfeed.

Then there is the personal stuff. My son’s 25th birthday was September 14th. He will be forever 21 and rather than that date getting easier, it is harder to face each year. For days (weeks or more if I’m being honest), I describe myself as emotionally thin.

I look at his last pictures, those taken on his mid-tour leave during the last week of August and the first week of September back in 2010 and I cry. A lot. I try to smile at memories of him, and I do manage that, too. Mostly, I wonder. Who would he have been today? Which dreams would he have fulfilled by this age, and what new dreams would he have had for the future? I know all my Gold Star friends, indeed all those who have lost a child, understand these thoughts. For those who don’t, good. I don’t want you to.

Before I am anywhere near back to an even keel, the next date looms on the horizon, November 1st. The weeks between his birthday and his KIA date go back and forth between sadness, dread, sadness, questions, sadness and resignation. There is nothing I can do, no drug I can take, not even a flight of fancy in a dream that make it better. I don’t do drugs and I wake from those rare nighttime breaks from reality to the cold hard truth – my son is dead.

But, I’ve learned from brutal experience the only way to get through these times is to go through them, as trite as that may sound. Staying busy, being committed to projects that have meaning to me, to the legacy he left me, helps. I’m doing the only things I can. Accepting the parts I cannot change and working to affect the larger reality in which I live.

In the past few years, a big part of that acceptance and affective-ness has been accomplished through writing. I try to tell the stories that are important to my son’s battle buddies, to all those who now or once wore the uniform of this Nation.  I truly believe if only more civilians understood the military and veteran worlds, the better off we would be as a Nation. I am unapologetically proud to be an American. I am equally aware of how fortunate I and all of us are to be born in this place and time in history. For all our faults, this country, our society is still the greatest construct in the history of man. We are a work in progress but because of who we are progress is possible.

The questions still loom, how do I start hitting that publish button again? Where do I start? Which of the many teasers, much less the other issues out there do I attempt first?

Rather than choose, I’ve decided to do several at once. The links to each are below. I will try to remain consistent in the future, and just like I have in the past when I’ve hit a publishing dearth promise myself that I will keep to a schedule, whatever that may be. I know that is a promise I’m likely to break, probably sooner than later. November 1st looms on the horizon, to be followed by the empty chair days of Holiday gatherings. And all the commitments, projects and events happening in the real world which I’ve intentionally scheduled that force me to get out of bed every day.

These are the topics I couldn't chose from. Some were written a while ago, some of each were penned today. Yes, a day inside my head can be a very strange place.

Instigated by "22 Veteran Suicides a Day"   but more about what the myths we believe say about us.

"PTSD, Suicide and Other Myths About Veterans"

My defense of"No More Killed In Action #NOMOREKIA's" and assurance that my commitment to my military and veteran family has never wavered.

"No More KIA's Explained"

A bunch of paragraphs that didn't fit in the "Senator Walsh PTSD didn't cause you to plagiarize your lack of character did"

"The Stolen Valor Epidemic and Why Civilians Should Care"

Speaking of epidemics,

"CDC is Lying About Ebola"

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    Denise Williams

    Views and opinions from the Gold Star, Military and Veteran perspective are generally different from those of the civilian world. Much of what I write is "their" stories, as told to me as the Gold Star Mother of PFC Andrew Meari, KIA 11/1/10 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. This is how I continue to honor the Oath my son took. I don't like labels or boxes as the former is insufficient to describe a person and the latter limits a person but if you insist, call me a Progressive Republican. I believe in this country, our Constitution and above all, in the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I believe our government is supposed to serve the people, not tell them how to live. To me, this is just common sense but since it seems to be a minority opinion, it has become "Uncommon Sense".

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