First of all, here's an update on mine and Marty's sickly condition: I am feeling MUCH better. Marty is still a little nauseous and doesn't have much of an appetite. However, I think that Duke's 16th ACC Tournament Title (which now tops Carolina's 15 ACC Tourney Titles) and then Duke getting first seed in the Atlanta region for March Madness made him feel better, if only for a little while! Hopefully, he will get to rest a little this week during his Spring Break, and will soon feel better.
I am writing this Mad Music Monday with mixed emotions...I want to cry...I want to smile. This day has been an incredibly emotional day for me, and it's been from one extreme to the other. First of all, I made plans with Brooke to meet her in Hickory tonight for dinner, which made me happy from the moment I woke up this morning. Then, I got home from running some errands with Marty and got a package in the mail from Lori that contained 2 of my favorite things: CUTE stationery and REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER EGGS...IN WHITE AND MILK CHOCOLATE!!! Yes, all those things together made this girl SUPER happy.
But then there's the part when things are not so happy. At this very moment, my heart is breaking in two for people don't even know. I got a call this morning from my brother's fiance who had news that 4 members of my brother's troop were killed in a roadside bomb yesterday. She immediately assured me that Joseph was ok, which was a huge relief, but along with that comes the feeling of guilt. How can I be so relieved to find out that Joseph's ok when 4 different families are going through extreme shock, and grief and pain right now? And then she told me some of their stories: One was a guy who lives in the same county as Marty and I. One guy was a medic who had been working with the 391st during their tour in Afghanistan. One was a fellow soldier who had been assigned to complete some tasks with the 391st. And, the story that hit a little closer than the others. The other soldier is the husband of one of Staci's (my brother's fiance) high school friends. They have a little girl who turned 2 last week. This 23 year old woman has another child from her first marriage, which ended because of her husband's death. So here she is: 23, 2 kids, widowed twice. The fact that he and my brother were friends and that Staci and she were friends makes it all a little more real than I would have ever hoped it to be. I can't imagine what that poor girl is going through today. Knowing that yesterday, she had a number on her calendar representing the number of days until she got to see her husband again. Knowing that this morning her world was turned upside down when she opened her door to find 2 army officers standing there with the worst news she could imagine. My heart breaks. It breaks because I know that it could have been Joseph. It breaks because those little kids are both going to have to grow up without a dad. It breaks because she is living my biggest fear...death of a loved one...for the second time. It breaks because I know I don't pray enough for those soldiers who are over there fighting for our freedom. It breaks because it hit too close to home.
After Joseph signed on with the military, his favorite song became "American Soldier" by Toby Keith, which is my Mad Music Monday selection, in honor of the 391st and in memory of those who have made such a huge sacrifice for our country. Joseph always has been a shower singer, and I remember many times when he would put that particular cd in, put that song on repeat, turn it up FULL BLAST, and then sing at the top of his lungs for a good 20 minutes. Even though I had heard him sing it a hundred times, I had never really listened to the words. So, here they are. Read them. REALLY read them and take it in. And then please, please say a pray for those guys who are planning to make the trip back to the US in a month. And then say a prayer for the families of those who are coming back much sooner than they had planned.
American Soldier-By Toby Keith
I'm just tryin to be a father, raise a daughter and a son
Be a lover to their mother everything to everyone
Up and at em bright and early, I'm all business in my suit
Yeah I'm dressed up for success, from my head down to my boots
I don't do it for money, there's bills I that I can't payI don't do it for the glory, I just do it anyway
Providing for our future's, my responsibility Yeah
I'm real good under pressure, being all that I can be
And I can't call in sick on Mondays when the weekend's been too strong
I just work straight through the holidays, and sometimes all night long
You can bet that I stand ready, when the wolf growls at the door
Hey I'm solid, hey I'm steady, hey I'm true down to the core.
And I will always do my duty no matter what the price
I've counted up the cost, I know the sacrifice
Oh and I don't want to die for you, but if dyin's asked of me
I'll bear that cross with honor, cause freedom don't come free.
I'm an American Soldier an American
Beside my brothers and my sisters, I will proudly take a stand
When liberty's in jeopardy, I will always do what's right
I'm out here on the front lines, sleep in peace tonight
I'm an American Soldier, I'm an American.