Blindsided

You might have noticed that the Ezine is a little late this week to arrive into your inbox – which I apologize for. I was blindsided on Friday with exhaustion, memories and grief.

Last Wednesday my oldest daughter and I headed to Toronto for a screening of Children of Soldiers, a documentary about four families who are in the throes of a deployment or in the aftermath of one.

My family volunteered for the project. We had no agenda nor did we know what the tour had in store for us. We went into the project with the idea that it would create conversation within military families and among military families about deployment. Plus, Claire, the director, was a fellow journalist and a military spouse. I trusted her. Why else would I leave three of my children, another teenage military child and Jill’s three girls at my house, alone, with a documentary crew?

At the time it made perfect sense – Jill and I had made plans to go Christmas shopping in Ottawa. Nothing was going to stop us. And nothing did. So I left the kids alone, at home, with a documentary crew. Every time I watch the documentary and see the footage that was filmed during that shoot I ask myself – what was I thinking? The answer is always the same – I don’t know.

I have watched the documentary four times, the initial screening for families, with Jill via telephone, the Montreal Film Festival and last week in Toronto. Claire warned me, before I saw the documentary the first time, that it might be an emotional rollercoaster. She said it might take me back to the tour. She was right. Every time I view it brings me back to the fall of 2008 when Scott was overseas.

While he was away there were a few days that I struggled to get out of bed, they were the days I knew he was out of the wire. One of those days was on my youngest daughter’s 6th birthday. It was difficult for me to function. I had a feeling Scott was out of the wire and doing his job as a Combat Engineer. I woke up in pain. I hurt from my head to toes and everywhere in-between. It felt like someone had beaten me with a baseball bat. I have learned that is how I handle stress, fear, grief.

After ibuprofen, hot baths, heat packs, rest and two Tylenol 3s, I felt better. My military spouse friends rallied around me and helped me get through the day. Jill took Connor and picked up Delaney’s cake. Denise baked cupcakes for Delaney’s class. And I went back to bed until I could function. Pizza, cake, our family and the Kruse girls celebrated Delaney’s birthday – without missing a beat.

Last week I did too much and the pain was back. My husband isn’t overseas, but he is away. Attending the screening, watching the documentary We Will Remember Them, reading and watching the webisodes on the CBC site, We Remember I was a write-off on Friday. I accomplished nothing, but self-care: hot bath, ibuprofen, heat packs, and an insightful conversation with a good friend. I was on the mend. Ironically, Delaney’s birthday party was the next day – Saturday.

So here we are. The Ezine is late. We still have great stories and I hope you enjoy them. We have a follow up story about the We Remember project, the top 10 toy picks for Christmas, tips to help your child succeed in school, a review of the documentary, dress for less and Megan’s weekly tip – Sleep Habits.

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