I worked a lot this weekend. I etched, cut, domed, drilled and made many small things. Work is what I do when I have things that I need to work out in my mind. If my hands are busy I don't become overwhelmed with difficult things.
A couple of weeks ago, the FRG from Fort Cambell called, really just to let me know they are there if I had questions. They also told me that the 5 soldiers who died when their truck was hit by an IED were not from my son's unit. He was OK. I knew he was OK because one of the things you get used to when you have a family member deployed is that the first people to know about death of a soldier is the immediate next of kin. And you know that between 10pm and 6am, there will be no knock on the door. So you can relax then.
I'm always relieved when I know my son is alright but at the same time I have terrible feelings of guilt that he is alright but a mother, wife, child is greiving the loss of their loved one. I know this is normal. I work through it. I've been through this before, many times.
My son phoned early Saturday morning. I had only just gotten out of bed. We chatted about normal mundane daily life. How's the chow? How are the dogs? What's your new duty assignment? He's a medic and does evacuation. I'm relieved at this point that he's not doing dismounted patrol this time around. I mentioned the call from the FRG and that we knew the 5 soldiers were not from his unit. It's so hard to get news out of Afghanistan. But it's not true. My son evacuated the bodies and they lost another soldier last week.
One month on the ground in Kunar province and they've lost 6 already. As a family we've been through this before. You cope. You live with the fear. You look forward to those few precious moments when you can chat. I know the toll being a medic in a war zone took on my son. I also know how strong he is and that he will get through this time too.
But as I got off the phone, all I could think of was the last time I saw my son. He said, Mummy, let me give you a hug in case I don't see you again. He meant before I left for home early the next day. But still, that hug lingers there in my memory. I cherish it.
As I worked through my thoughts and emotions this weekend, it became important to me to make some sort of sense out of the little scraps of metal in my tray. I started making smaller and smaller pendants with tiny little glass beads. I was making order out of a chaos of conflicting thoughts and emotions. I saw life as a series of moments and the little pieces I made were a tiny testimonial to how special those moments are. Each moment is unique but added together they make a life.
This one is on a silver chain around my neck right now. A reminder to embrace the tiny moments that are life.