Monday, November 15, 2004

IRAQ, HERE I COME

Yes, I know many of you will think I am crazy. But it is official. I will leave for Iraq at the beginning of December to work for a nonprofit organization. And no, I am not going in hopes of seeing my husband or wanting to be near him. I will not see him while I am working for this organization and it wouldn't matter to me if he was there or not. I have wanted to go to Iraq for some time to see for myself what is happening there and to do something tangible and concrete to help the Iraqi people. I've also thought about going to Afghanistan and Sudan, but it just so happened that the opening came up in Iraq and I went for it.

Of course, it is a bit unnerving to know that both of us will be there. Now he will worry about me, as I have about him. But we will have the rare chance as an army wife and soldier husband to relate to each other in this time of war. When he talks about the Iraqi desert, the smells, the heat, the sounds, I will not have to use my imagination to envision the scene. Often, whether it's intentional or not, the spouse is removed and separated from the soldier's deployment experience. The spouse's world essentially stayed the same while the soldier's universe has been turned upside down. Husbands come home and don't want to talk about the war, don't want to talk about what they've seen and done. They think the wives won't understand, won't be able to comprehend the moral ambiguities, the carnage, the sorrow.

Still, I know I won't be cracking the band of brothers. The bond formed by soldiers in war is a phenomenon that has largely excluded women, even in today's modern times. It is a secret society, these friendships formed amid the sounds of whizzing bullets and thunderous explosions. I know I will never be a part of it.

But, I'm guessing I will have my own harrowing tales, stories and experiences that will make me feel like an alien when I return home. Yet, I don't feel scared or nervous or conflicted. I'm excited to be doing something instead of sitting at home, feeling helpless as I watch the news. And perhaps that's where I still have hope. Even though, as I said in my last post, that I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel, I'm still willing to go inside of it.