A litte over a week ago I received a call alerting me that I am headed back to Iraq. For those who know me, you know the deal. For those who don't, I spent a year in Iraq from November 2003 to November 2004. I spent a month or so in Balad, but mostly I was stationed in Baghdad.
I've been home for a while now; long enough to meet a (wonderful) man and marry him.
I blogged about my experience the first time, but I used my maiden name. This time is different, for several reasons: (1) I have a different name. I'm Addie Zinone (proudly) (2) I have a child...granted, my child has four legs, not two, but I love her just the same (3) I have a meaningful job that brings attention to the people and organizations I believe truly deserve it (4) I'm older, wiser, stronger, prouder (5) I'm also a lot more sad.
I'm not writing all of this to garner sympathy; I'm simply writing to provide a voice, if I may be so bold, for many soldiers like me who find themselves in a very similar situation. It's clearly more dangerous than it was a few years ago but the danger isn't my biggest fear. My biggest fear is the saddness I am going to feel leaving my husband and now my little doggy, the FAMILY I love so much!
I hope I am not offending anyone, particularly my mother, by saying this deployment will be harder for me. It's never easy to leave anyone in your family but the truth is, throughout college and because of the various jobs I've had over the years, I've been home very little. So I'm used to it. It's sad, of course, but it's a different kind of sad. Leaving my husband, someone I have been around consistently for two-and-a-half years, is something I can't fathom. And I'm petrified of that final hug goodbye.
When I went to Iraq the first time, I didn't have the additional burden of leaving a husband behind. I felt little guilt; but now I feel a little guilty because I am leaving Greg to worry about me in ways I can not imagine. I am leaving him to care for our dog alone, to sit alone on the couch watching tv shows we used to watch together, and to love from a distance. It stinks!!
One of the good things about this tour, however, is I am filling in for someone who has to come home. I am not sure why he is leaving; all I know is I am going. As such, I will only have to serve 9 or 10 months in Iraq. I am headed to Balad, which is about 65 miles north of Baghdad. It's an old Iraqi airfield that is home to about 28,000 soldiers. I will have plenty of company. But not the company I want!!! Take care of my husband! I will miss him terribly.....and I know he will miss me too.
My future sister-in-law, Lindsey, forwarded me an email about having "perspective" - about how those of us in the states need to take a break from complaining so much because the men and women serving in our military have to deal with really terrible things on a daily basis. The very last line of the email was "the only thing harder than being a soldier is loving one". It's so true! It's much harder for our friends and family, particularly a spouse, to deal with a deployment, especially in a war zone, because they feel fear and desperation about the unknown. I know Greg will be constantly thinking, "Is Addie okay? Is she in danger? Is she being careful?" because that is what my mom was always thinking! It's completely natural to worry like that and, I can only imagine, it makes for an awfully long year for them.
So what I'm trying to do this time is blog about my deployment more frequently. All of it, from now until the end, the good, the bad, the scary, and the ugly. Because, I feel, the more informed and aware my family, friends, and Greg are about what I am up to, the easier it will be for them. And that's all I want: to know they are okay. Then I will be okay.
More later. I'm off to enjoy one of the few weekends I have left with my family.