On the morning of 1 November, 1968, I woke up in the bedroom I had slept in for 18 years, looked at the ceiling, and thought to myself, "when I wake up in my next 'home', some of my neighbors will be shooting at me." I would leave that day for Viet Nam.
My bags were packed.
I had decided I didn't want to lose control and cry at the airport,
so I had a friend come to our house to drive me there...
Goodbyes would be said at our home.
I picked up my bags to carry them to the car. My intent was to put the bags in the trunk, then return for hugs and kisses before driving away.
Dad mistakenly thought I was going out the door for good.
From behind me I heard him call my name in such a strange way, it was like an animal's cry...
When I turned to look at him, he was crying.
Dad wasn't the crying type.
Dad was a macho guy.
He always had trouble expressing his love, but there were enough times like these that I knew he loved me deeply.
That was a hard time, but the past week has been the most stressful of my life.
We've thought about it for years... planned it for weeks.
Our son, our only child, no longer lives in our home.
It's all happened so quickly-
He graduated, interviewed for this job, was offered the position and accepted it, all within a month.
He's never been away from home for more than a week at a time.
Now he's in his own home more than two day's drive away, and going into his empty bedroom hurts so badly, we can't stand the thought of cleaning it right now.
It can wait 'til later.
I've not had 8 hours sleep (in a night) in over a week.
I stole hours I should have been sleeping to rent the moving Van.
We packed it and drove 14 hours each of two days, then 3 hours the final day to get to Mesa, Arizona. We then unpacked the Van and began the job of unpacking boxes and constructing "easy to assemble" furniture my son had purchased for his new home.
More sleep deprivation... I "easily assembled" furniture from 8 in the morning until almost 2 A.M. for the next two days.
Yesterday we returned the Van, then flew back to this house that feels mighty empty right now.
I can't help thinking of Mom and Dad, and how strong they had to be to stand and watch their son drive off on his way to fly helicopters in a war where the news was reporting helicopters being shot down on a daily basis.
My son is safely in Mesa, Arizona, yet my heart aches.
How do parents stand sending their children off to war?
God Bless them all!