It's 3 AM and I'm awake. It's not from the constant flyovers of F-15s or apaches, but rather a void within me. I feel incomplete. My life has been filled with the smiles of my children, embraces from my wife, and a personal fulfillment as a father and husband. Where is that now? I'm 7500 miles away in a hot, dusty, war torn barren land. Nowhere near the hearts that my world revolves around. My son Talon had his second birthday yesterday and cried for daddy. My son Turin woke up in the dead of night 2 nights ago and went to my wife's bed and asked for his father. I feel incomplete, incompetent and neglectful to my family. Is it my fault? Not completely but try explaining that to two young boys who can't comprehend the reasoning for the situation. All they know is daddy's gone. Daddy's not there to throw their favorite blue ball or push them as high as they like to go on the swing. I'm a void in their hearts. For all I know they may feel blame for my exit. It's not fair and it's surely not the weight my heart wants to bear.
I never went back to sleep, rather just stayed up looking into the darkness of my barrack. I reflected on my feelings and tried to gain security knowing the days are counting down; like leaves off an autumn tree. I don't wish my separation on any father and or husband. I'm still at odds with our purpose here in this foreign land and hope to solidify my feelings to a positive light during my stay. Thankfully I'm on the side of saving lives and not taking them, although some consider taking lives here means saving lives at home; maybe. I look forward to forging my own personal opinion during this deployment. When it comes to me you will be the first to know.
Today, two of the general surgeons made it out to JBad on a C130. The other general surgeon and myself may be able to leave late tonight if the stars align. We are starting to get a bigger push from our side and a constant pull from our commander in JBad. Leaving this transient hell will have no objections from me. I'm tired, stressed and really yearn for stability in my new uncertain life. Getting back in the OR will also help bring me some normalcy; it's an escape from this war burdened reality. When I'm in surgery the world stops and my focus is clear; the patient. I love what I do and would trade it for NOTHING.
It's 10 AM and I'm in the first set of my workout when our lead ER nurse approaches me. She excitedly tells me that the flight the other general surgeons are on now has 4 more spots available after some last minute cancellations. I initially was in disbelief. She informed me that we need to be packed and ready to go in 20 minutes. I dropped the weight clenched in my hand and rushed to the barrack, packed and was on a truck to the airport. The truck pulled through the security gate and parked next to a C-130 being loaded up. Talk about VIP treatment. Where was this hiding the last 3 days? Joe J and Matt H were already seated on the plane. We lugged our bags to the back of the plane and quickly took our seats and put our body armour on. The plane was filled with other soldiers decked out in excessive ammo and multiple weapons; I felt out of placed and underdressed. The plane taxied to the runway and off we went. 23 minutes later we began a "combat" decent into FOB Fenty (the actual base near JBAd). We got on the ground we were greeted by the members of our team that were there, this included our commander Mike M. The rest of my day included touring the base and securing our quarters. Finally, my own room, privacy and quiet at last.
At the end of the day I was beyond exhausted. I have a feeling I'm going to sleep well for a change. My only request would be that my wife and kids were here. I miss them greatly. Talk to you tomorrow.