My brothers and sisters in peace, I wish I could tell
you that since my son has returned to civilian life our
family is whole and happy, but this is not the case. My
21-year-old son is homeless, unemployed and on January
11th in the early morning he drove his car over an
embankment. Anyone who has seen the car says he
shouldn't have survived the crash.
I remember the day I got the phone call ... My son
was back in the states. I fell to the floor sobbing,
thanking the creator that my son was alive. Little did I
know at the time that all that returned was a physical
shell. My son's spirit and soul must still be wandering
the streets of Iraq.
You'd have to know my son - this child turned man. My
son used to be a sensitive guy. I remember when he
wanted a kitten because dogs scared him. We went to a
farm and he picked the scrawniest, ugliest, smallest
kitten there. My son slept with that cat until the day
he left for boot camp. Is this the same person that used
to hold my hand as a teenager or throw his arm around me
when we were out in public? Is this the same person who
always made sure we said goodnight to each other and
expressed our love? Who, when we were apart, talked on
the phone as frequently as possible and always ended
each phone call with, "I love you?" Is this the son who
held me in his arms as we cried together at the airport
when he was leaving for Iraq? Where is my son? GEORGE
BUSH, GIVE ME BACK MY SON!
My son wouldn't look me in the eyes when he first
returned from Iraq. He always seemed nervous and jumpy.
Riding in the car with him he weaved from lane to lane
avoiding any road debris. Toll booths made him crazy. He
didn't sleep at night and seemed on edge. Alcohol was
becoming his way to induce sleep.
Fast-forward to August 2005. I hadn't heard from my
son in a while. He had been slowly pushing away everyone
that loved and cared for him. We live in different
states and it's hard to track him. In August, I found
him. He looked like a skeleton. He looked so skinny. The
soldier's body was long gone. His eyes held sadness. He
asked for 20 bucks for food as he had none in his
refrigerator. He only visited with me for a half hour
even though I had driven 300 miles to see him. He took
off. I went home. The phone calls became less and less.
Days turned to months. I didn't hear from him at
Thanksgiving, not a word at Christmas, New Year's passed
without a sound.
Then came the dream. Mothers are bonded to their
children. We know their hurts, their pains, we feel them
even when they're thousands of miles away. On January
9th the dream came. In the dream there was an Iraqi, my
son and me. We were attached through ropes. Suddenly my
son was hoisted in the air and his body slammed against
a beam and he couldn't breathe, he was choking ... I
will never forget the look in his eyes. I woke up
unnerved and unable to return to sleep.
The next morning I called my son's ex-girlfriend.
They had been dating since their sophomore year in high
school, but he had recently x'ed her out of his life.
She stated my son had been arrested over the weekend for
fighting. My son has only had one speeding ticket in his
entire life ... Certainly not violent. Then, 2 hours
later, my mother called. When my son returned from Iraq
he bought a car with his combat pay, my mother cosigned.
My mom stated that the bank had contacted her about a
week ago and he was behind in payments. The car was up
for repossession. I was becoming increasingly worried.
When I got in to work the next day I had an emergency
phone call from my sons ex-girlfriend. She told me
through her tears that my son had driven his car over an
embankment. She saw the car and said she couldn't
believe he survived. She had talked to some of his
friends who told her that he was crying that night and
talking about the war. Whenever my son gets a few beers
in him his friends tell me he talks about the war. They
describe it as "crazy talk." He wants the blood of the
Iraqis he killed off his hands. He then left and drove
his car at high speed over an embankment.
I have spoken with my son twice since then. I didn't
go see him at his request. The first time I spoke with
him I began crying, telling him how much I loved him.
His response, "Whatever."
During the second conversation he said he feels
better. Does he feel better because his body feels
bruised and broken? It now matches his insides.
George Bush is going to give us his state of the
union ... well this is the state of my family. People
say to me he volunteered, he knew what he was getting
into. My son was still a teenager, he had no idea what
he was getting into. Can anyone really comprehend war
unless they've been there? The war has come home ... it
is coming home with each soldier.
My son's body survived Iraq ... nothing else.