Monday, December 17, 2007

How do you send a soldier off to war? No, really?

Cedric and his family have lived two doors down from us for almost two years. Cedric's from Georgia, Astrid is from Texas. Their children say ma'am and sir. Cedric and I got to be pretty good friends over the summer. Paul played golf with him and another neighbor several times a month. Cedric's son, Alec, is Matt's best friend. They brought together and taught our neighborhood how to be a neighborhood in a way that no one else could do. Our neighborhood has been completely transformed by their unabashed openness and friendliness. We knew from the beginning that Cedric was special ops and had been to Iraq a few times and that he was bound to go again. So for the last couple of months he's been preparing us that he was going again. I've known people who have been to war and even battle but I've never known anyone when they went off to war. I'm not making this about me but I had no idea what to say, how to act. We could tell that he was mentally transforming into a place where he needed to be to do his job but we couldn't make the transition with him. I overheard other neighbors saying goofy things to him, obviously feeling like me; not at all comfortable and unprepared to say something appropriate. You sure as heck can't say what you're thinking, "Don't get killed, come home with all the same parts, your children need you, etc.". Luckily I had given him a big hug prematurely because he didn't come around and say goodbye the day before he left as he said he would. I can understand why, it was for the best. Now all we can do is pray and keep up with what the family hears from him each day. Seriously, though, should this occur again, heaven forbid, anyone know what's appropriate and not goofy?

1 comment:

Julia said...

If I knew this soldier as a friend and neighbor, I would get goofy, too. But I would think a "thank you" and "we will keep you in our prayers" would suffice. I mean, what could you really say. I am sure this soldier knows you love him and he has gone off to do his duty....what he has trained for and committed to for years.

My cousin's son went to Iraq last year and my friend's son is going in January.....and I know what you mean....what do you say.

Really....this war needs to end and they ALL need to come home.