"Idaho, where I am now, is green and there are clouds... two things Phoenix hasn't seen the likes of in quite a while. I am here for a bit to try to quench the loneliness of having Ralexwin gone. But not for too long since I am pregnant and will need to return to see my doctor.Our love story has always been, and probably always will be, filled with absences. Some are long stretches spanning over weeks and months (and sometimes years) others are only a day or two, but either way Ralexwin has missed out on some of the better parts of life.
I am a little bored, but Vicbowin is managing to keep herself occupied at my mother's house.
I want to write to Ralexwin... if I keep writing then he'll know all about the cute things Vicbowin is doing or what I'm doing. He'd get to smell the fresh air and see the dark storm clouds moving in and he could sleep next to me.
It's not so hard though, I am not dwelling on his absence and seem to be handling it well."
The first stirrings of a life that I ever felt within me were felt alone in my bedroom with Ralexwin somewhere in the deserts of California.
The first steps Vicbowin, and later on Albowin, took were taken while Ralexwin was serving his country hundreds or thousands of miles from us.
The military is a constant member of this family. Sometimes welcome, sometimes not.
It was a trial I willingly took on--willingly and naively.
September 11, 2001 changed all of that for me.
My personal journal is peppered with worry over his service to country.
October 11, 2002:
"The House and Senate passed a vote yesterday giving the President the power to go to war...
WAR. My heart trembles to think of the implications.
I am trying to avoid the thoughts, but I can see myself widowed with two children and I don't like it one bit. I can't bear to lose him. I can't do that. I'm afraid of that future.
It is taking threatening to shatter the most wonderful thing I have ever had in my entire life. It is trying to take my bit of Heaven away. . .
Yet, it is what I signed on for when I fell in love with Ralexwin."
January 7, 2003:
"I am scared. I get more scared every day. I pray this all fizzles out but I can't put my hopes in that. What happens is not up to me. I have no real say, all I can hope for and pray for is some sort of miracle...
I don't want to sacrifice my husband, my children's father, the only man I love to WAR. Yet I am powerless to stop it. All I can do is pray."
March 18, 2003:
"The world seems to be exploding. President Bush has given Saddam Hussein 48 hours to leave Iraq or we will attack... They are saying the National Guard will be used as security.
I am scared. I am worried.
Ralexwin says its all exciting and I guess he's probably right, but I just don't see it. I think of all those soldiers that are going to see such horrible things. Mainly I'm worried about Ralexwin though."
March 21, 2003:
"Ralexwin's birthday was yesterday. His brother gave us tickets to go see the Suns v. the Jazz so we went, but during the game the President spoke to the nation so they played it on the screens.November 18, 2003:
We're at war.
Everyone was clapping and standing when he announced it and I just sat there. Why are we clapping? Our husbands and our children are going to see thing that we can only imagine. It seems like some people are awful anxious to send my husband and brothers off to war."
"[Ralexwin is going to Iraq]. I can't contemplate this. Vicbowin will be 3 y/o and Albowin 2 y/o [when he gets back].
I don't want to do this!!!! I want to say I can't, but what else am I going to do? I have no choice.
So am I scared?
Yes! I am! Scared they'll send him to Baghdad or Tikrit where they hate Americans and attack us every chance they get. Scared he'll ride in of those Black Hawks they keep shooting down. Scared he'll never come home! That I won't be able to have anymore of his children or that my two now won't ever know him and won't realize how proud I am of him. Scared to be alone for the next 60 years.
And there is NOTHING I can do! I'm tired of being strong. I want some time when I can have some comfort and peace."
As Aragorn, in The Lord of the Rings, so aptly says:
"War is upon you, whether you like it or not."Even now... I still can't watch war movies or hear wartime stories without crying myself to sleep at night.
I never imagined that I would be asked to make that sacrifice for my country. Yet there I was twenty three and alone with two small children.
There are only five entries in my journal to mark the long dark that followed.