Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cerita Manusia dan Kemanusiaan 2

Ketika saya melayari internet dan membaca akhbar The New York Times, saya terbaca satu artikel menarik yang ditulis oleh seorang bekas tentera Amerika yang pernah berkhidmat di Iraq dan pada hari ini telahpun meninggalkan kerjayanya dalam tentera kerana beberapa perkara yang dilaluinya sepanjang hidup. Kisah ini menarik sekali untuk kita kongsikan bersama...ia mengisahkan tentang kehilangan dan satu harapan baru bagi membina semula kehidupan dan menghargai apa yang masih tinggal....

Selamat membaca .....

The Distance Between
By Lee Kelley

Courtesy of Lee Kelley

The author in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2006.In retrospect, my 11 months and two weeks in Ramadi, Iraq, felt stretched to their absolute fullest length across the continuum of time. Now I recall them in thousands of digital photographs or by the folded flag in a wooden case here, in my living room, some three years later. I have made major changes both personally and professionally since getting home, and it is kind of strange now to look at that person in the photos. Hard to think about what was really going on behind my own eyes, my phony smile.

Looking back, I still I cannot explain why my experience of war did not include being physically injured, or taking another human life. I also cannot explain why my year in Iraq brought the deepest anguish and loss I had experienced so far in my 35 years. Why was it so bad? Suffice it to say that halfway through my tour, I lost my mom to breast cancer and my seven-year marriage absolutely fell apart.

I didn’t allow myself to grieve or complain at the time. I had work to do, soldiers that depended on me, and I guess I was afraid to let those flood gates loose. Instead, I inventoried all of those swirling emotions, performed an internal recon and secured them in a mental footlocker to be dealt with at a later date. For the rest of my tour, the footlocker strained to hold it all in. I made it home in the summer of 2006 and the life I came home to felt utterly different than the one I had left. I was granted full custody of my two young children, and I was also promoted to captain and given a company command. I opened up the footlocker and started to rebuild.

Courtesy of Lee Kelley

On vacation in Tybee Island, Ga.Because I am unwilling to leave the kids again, I ended a promising military career and created a new path for myself. Specifically, I started my own writing company, and I’ve been going strong for two years now (more about that in a later post). I won’t say it’s all been easy or that I liked having to wake the kids up at 5 a.m. for almost two years so that I could get them ready and off to day care before my morning commute, not picking them back up until after 6 p.m. And I won’t say that I enjoyed the transition back into “normal” life, working through grief, anger, frustration, resentment, loneliness and confusion while still getting used to being a single parent. I won’t say that it was easy for my kids to adjust to the divorce and all the changes associated with it. Finally, I won’t say that it was easy to leave the medical benefits and predictable paychecks of being an Army captain behind, especially in this economy.

But I will say this: In the last couple of years, so much has changed and healed. No regrets. Joy has manifested in every aspect of my life, and I have never felt more content and grateful towards life, love, parenting, and the pursuit of financial freedom. I’m not sure what I would have done without the unconditional love and support of my family and friends. That, truly, has made all the difference.

Now my days are filled with the unending complexity and welcome challenge of raising two creative, energetic, and intelligent kids who know of no other way to live than to rise each day with the subconscious desire to find the boundaries of their little worlds and lean up against them. O.K. … they find the boundaries and then jump back and forth across them whenever I’m not watching!

Not long ago a recruiter for an overseas contracting company called me. He found an old resume of mine on and offered me $165,000 to go to Baghdad for one year as a civilian public affairs representative working alongside Army personnel. I know that my kids feel safe and protected and free to just enjoy the variety of their lives without fear of abandonment. They know I won’t leave them again. I can see it in their eyes, feel it in their hugs, and hear it in their uncontrollable laughter. I’ve been to Iraq, and for my little family once will just have to be enough. I called the recruiter back and graciously told him no thank you.

First and Fourth grade just started. I’m not going anywhere.

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