Sunday, May 14, 2006
Remembering . . .
Charlie wrote two soul-stirring pieces about the consequence of trauma upon the human soul. They carried my mind to a thousand places. I visited my own traumas, sitting a while with the child in me who can still feel abandoned and unloved, the walls of a foster home closing in upon her and the words of her abusers echoing in her mind until her very being accepts them as truths.

His essays took me to the heart of each of the combat veterans I know and love; To Mitchell, my traveling friend who wanders the globe, looking for a way to love himself; To each of The Crawfish, warriors of soul-battles and slayers of personal demons; To Carrie, the daughter of a vet living with her alcoholic mother while struggling through college and self-acceptance. Without words passing between us, I know all about the screaming, tyrannical words echoing in her mind.

They took me to my high school friend, a 101st Airborne Combat Team soldier, killed by an explosive device in Iraq on New Year’s Day, 2006. At this place, I lingered a while. I thought of his wife, who will face her first Mother’s Day without the presence of the father of her children. I thought of the teenaged boy I knew – and the difference I saw in his eyes in the photos displayed beneath newspaper headlines. Those eyes witnessed the killing fields of Bosnia. Those eyes witnessed the atrocities all human beings are capable of committing. Those eyes gave passageway to a soul battered by the horrors of war. And I finally understood why he returned, after an eleven-year hiatus from the military, to lead a team of soldiers through the desert of Iraq. It wasn’t about love of country. It wasn’t about patriotism. It was about his desire to spare his charges the horrors he had seen, to simultaneously face his own demons and return his men, undamaged, to their families. And in that act, he became a both patriot and lover of his countrymen.

Charlie’s words took me to the second story bedroom of a nondescript house in a quiet Wisconsin neighborhood, painted in the illegal offerings of a black market baby ring, to the birth of my soulmate whose life changed forever when an exchange of dollars was made for a baby – for him. His war wasn’t fought with M-16s or mortars, but it was a war just the same. And he’s fought it with courage and conviction few people possess.

And then, strangely enough, Charlie’s essays took me to Mother’s Day. To every mother, left with no place to visit her child but memories and war memorials. And to every young woman who vowed her children would never experience the pain she suffered – and kept that promise. To my own mothers, who are absent from my life but rarely removed from my experience of life. Remembering helps me keep my promises.

And, finally, to my own children, who I hope and pray will never have to question the meaning of their childhoods.

[for my friend, Charlie, with thanks for the ruminations]
Rhonda Ruminated at 6:38 PM | Permalink |

9 Ruminations:

  • At 6:11 AM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite

    Wow, Rhonda. Wow. Rememberings can be such a gift, as painful as they might be. Thank you for this beautiful piece.

  • At 8:16 AM, Blogger 34quinn

    found your blog through some of my "new pals".

    I absolutely love what you wrote and completely understand it. How deep, how real, how true.

    Happy belated mother's day to you.

  • At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Charlie

    From The Road Less Travelled regarding life's problems:

    ". . . Fearing the pain involved, almost all of us . . . to a greater or lesser degree, attempt to avoid problems. We procrastinate, hoping they will go away. We ignore them, forget them, pretend they do not exist. . . . We attempt to skirt around problems rather than meet them head on. We attempt to get out of them rather than suffer through them."

    You have suffered through your problems, your nightmares, and your heartaches, and you are winning.

    A beautiful Rhonda essay, as always.

    I refuse to be humble, and I gratefully accept you dedication. I revel in it.

  • At 11:03 AM, Blogger frankengirl

    This is beautiful, Rhonda. I love how you travel from the wars inside to the wars outside and back again. These battles we face daily and the courage we must continuously muster.

  • At 1:32 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    RUTH: I can't say it better than you just did - Rememberings can be such a gift. Amen to that.

    CHARLIE: I refuse to be humble, and I gratefully accept you dedication. I revel in it.

    You deserve it, Charlie. Your pieces were beautiful and I am certain I wasn't the only person who took to "rememberings" in reaction to it.

    The Road Less Traveled was, for a while, my bible. It helped me crawl out of a very difficult time in my life.

    FRANKENGIRL: Thank you, so much.

    These battles we face daily and the courage we must continuously muster. Probably a universal truth for everyone, no matter their history.

  • At 1:34 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    QUINN: Welcome to my ramblings. I am off to visit your space :)

  • At 8:57 PM, Blogger Kathy

    Rhonda, another beautiful and thought provoking post.

    Each time you write, or the Philosopher writes about his "adoption" I just get so angry, for him, all over again. I just keep hoping that someone will read his books, feel a connection, and call him and say she might be his bmom and can't wait to take a dna test. Then, there are those few adoptees out there who just don't care to know. How is that fair? Those who want to know can't, and those who don't want to know probably can. Well... such is life, unfortunately.

    Thanks for writing, as always, a beautiful post. Happy belated Mother's day.

  • At 8:15 AM, Blogger Mia

    I stopped by to give you a post Mother's Day hug (((((Rhonda)))))). How was your day my friend? Perfect I hope!

  • At 6:03 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    KATHY: Each time you write, or the Philosopher writes about his "adoption" I just get so angry, for him, all over again.

    I do too, Kathy. IMO, it was a horrible thing to do to a human being.

    MIA: I read your mother's day piece and it was just beautiful.

    Happy Mom's Day and hugs to you too :)