Breaking (my heart) News.

Through the ups, and the downs ....

Almost five years ago, I married the most wonderful person.  Looking back, and looking forward, I am certain it was the best decision I ever made.

Over the years, weve been lucky with lots more "ups" than "downs." Heres our little family a year ago.

At the time of our courtship, he was in medical school.  And he had committed to finance it with a scholarship from the Army that entailed residency at the Army hospital in Hawaii (3 years), and four years of “service” at a station “of our choice” after that.  Going to war?  He was led to believe, was more of a choice for doctors.  And, of course we assumed this war would be over by now ..

Over the course of residency and now in the service years, we’ve seen one Army doctor friend of ours after another head off to war without any choice in the matter.

As of one week ago today, while living at the station “of our choice,” like a punch in the stomach, I got the news I’ve been dreading for years:

My husband may be headed to war. He is slated for a six month deployment to a combat support hospital (tent village in a green zone with daily communication access) in Iraq (safer than Afghanistan, but still a war zone) starting “around August.”


This is what I’ve been told:

Maybe he will be leaving in August.

Maybe he will be leaving in September.

Maybe there will be pre-deployment training mid summer.   Maybe the training may require him to be gone for a week.  Or maybe more.  Maybe less. Maybe the training will be in route to the deployment, which may mean he departs from us earlier. Maybe a few days earlier, maybe more.

Maybe, like the previous two identical assignments given to his co-workers in Fairbanks,  the entire thing will be cancelled.    One was cancelled as the guy got to the airport to get on the plane headed to Baghdad.

If he does head to Iraq, then he may be back to work in Alaska by February 2012.

Or, maybe with political promises of all U.S. forces out of Iraq by the end of the year; he may be back by December 2011.  Maybe.

If he goes on this one, then he most likely will not be tasked with another one before we are out of this army thing (Come on, October of 2013).

If it is cancelled, his name may go to the top of the list for the next deployment.

If he does not go on this one, but gets another one, the other one may be longer, or it may be to a more dangerous location.

Or, maybe he won’t get another assignment at all.

Maybe I just threw up.

Certainly: I have a pit in my stomach.

Summer vacations and house visitor plans; fall preschool registrations; housing and car arrangements; a writer’s retreat I was so looking forward to in the Fall; storage units, wills, and power of attorney to-do-lists; fears of being able to be a single mom in Mitch’s absence, the sheer terror and uncertainty of having my husband in a war zone  … paralyzed.

This is no way to live.

Kind of hard planning a life around “ifs.”

Have I ever told you I don’t believe in war?

Five years ago, I never really imagined this would be part of the package.  It is not easy to swallow.  I’m terrified of what the near future may, or may not, bring.

And, still, five years ago, I think I made the best decision I ever made.    I’m trying to frame this completely paralyzing and terrifying event within the entirety of my life, our marriage, and our family’s experiences.  I’m trying hard to see this as a blip in the span of time.

And now, more than ever, I appreciate your support.

Que Sera, Sera …


Up, Up, and ...

UPDATE!  As of one week after posting this … the Deployment is cancelled!!!!  


38 responses to “Breaking (my heart) News.

  1. My first reaction is Canada. I think they’d welcome a young doctor and his family. When was the last time Canada was at war? From Fairbanks to Sharetanks….come on, Uncle Sam, conveniently lose their number.

  2. Heart Breaking =( I’ll do whatever I can to help you Friendarella! All the way Giddy Up. Love you muchest Much!

    • I’m so glad you said that. Because I’m thinking of bringing my party of three to your living room for like half a year or so? Cool with you?

      • I thought you’d never impose. I think we can redo one of the rooms down stairs and make it one big mattress and when it’s bed time just throw all the babes in the room and let them sleep where they may. Then that opens up the other bedroom for you. A little privacy you know. Thoughts?

  3. i just have no words at this time…except we will always be there for you and the girls.

  4. ..and i am going to think positive thoughts and somehow communicate them over the many miles to you. (ok, so i did have some words after all)

    • I also can’t imagine what it would feel like to have my son (or daughter as my case would be) headed to war. So, I’m also wondering what it must feel like to be you. Thinking positive from our end as well.

  5. OH MY! My heart is so heavy. I guess we always knew there was a good possibility that this day would/or would not come but now that is hangs in the air as a heavy reality~~~WOW. Love you all and will keep you in my prayers and hoping the uncertainty comes to a blissful, JK.

    • Thanks Pistol Patricia … on a happy note (as I look at my happy block) if it’s one way, I get to spend some time in the hood (!), and if it’s the other way I don’t have to worry about terrible things. So, either way, I’m determined to look like the happy block (even if it requires surgery).

  6. #@#^*&#!
    Oh say it isn’t so —such a powerful posting today.

  7. Monica "mooo" tee hee

    Oh, Katie! NOOOOO. I am so sorry to hear of the limbo and fear that lies ahead while waiting. That just isn’t right, making you wait. Or making you be apart. Not right at all! I am sending wished to the gods, goddesses, and God that you will get the news you want to hear…canceled, he’s staying home. At the very least I am sending you my love!

  8. Maureen Clarke

    Bella Alaskerella,
    Try to be mella and maybe it will all work out swella! Seriously, I am sending some positive vibes your way. Hang in there!

    • Thanks Maureen. On the positive side, if he does go, then I don’t have to stay here! I’m trying to look at it like that, maybe we will soon be neighbors again!

  9. Katie, Sorry to hear that there’s so much unknown about your future. I do know that when you’re older and looking back it’s hard to remember how tough things were way back when, only that things were difficult. “It’s easier to appreciate the good things in life in contrast to the bad things.” How philosophical of me. You are amassing great content for a book or Country song. Do they have Country singers in Alaska? I think they need one.

    • Country singer! Yee haw! (And, btw, I looked into your magazine idea and have some leads there — good idea Ronnie! I think the public would be better served with me a la mag than a la radio … although radio might be more fun for me! hooooowl!)

  10. Peggy Bernardis

    We love you Katie so much!!!! You have our support now and forever!!!
    Heartfelt prayers and warm thoughts to you in “not so Fair banks,” right now.
    “Yeggum” and familia

  11. Oh, no Katie! Boo! And you didn’t exactly pick Alaska for nothing, right? I’d imagine you picked it because it was a hardship location and Mitch wouldn’t have to deploy. I understand your frustration — when David didn’t get his fellowship we were pretty sure he’d have to go, but alas he found a position where he *probably* won’t have to deploy. I’m guessing that’s what they told you too. I’m hoping & praying for you guys that he won’t have to go, and you know what you can be pretty hopeful too because that is the one thing we can count on about the army – you never really know for sure what is going on until it’s happening – so there’s a very good chance he won’t have to go at all in end (and hurry up 2013, right!) I’m so sorry you have to deal with this right now though, and just when you thought things were getting better – it always happens that way. I’ll send a little aloha spirit your way and hopefully, hopefully you’ll all be together come August. Love and Hugs.

    • Christina, my sister in the business of all this crap … you said it exactly – you never know for sure what’s going on until it’s happening. of course, we were told this station is a safer non-d kind of place — but I’m starting to think there’s no such thing. Nick O is working on a “How to Pay for Med School w/o Joining the Army” book … who knew there were so many ways (debt forgiveness practices, rural health scholarship deals) to fund med school WO any of this bs?

  12. Well that just sucks (please excuse the language….and I hope my mom doesn’t read your blog b/c I’ll be in trouble, but unfortunately, “sucks” is the right word in this particular situation). Hang in there – you have a whole lotta people out here rooting for you and thinking happy thoughts, so maybe we can will this thing to just go the hell away (there I go again with the langauge…oops)!

    • Crap, Hell, Sucks, and F. It’s all legit these days! Thanks Carrie, and I’m chanting “F this S!” (but with all the other letters included!)

  13. Thank you. Through out the day I read all your comments as they came … and eventually I pulled myself up off the couch and thought, I’m going to be ok. We’re going to be ok. It’s going to be ok. I think your vibes via cyberspace and good thoughts are working. You are powerful.

  14. :(…….Maybe…just maybe…….

    But no doubt at all that whatever comes your way Katie….you will make it an adventure and it will be ok……..because you are …..well….Alaskarella!

    Prayers, hugs, and love!

  15. Thinking of you today and always. I so very much hope Mitch doesn’t have to go!!

  16. Oh Katie!!! I am SO sorry. I have a good friend whose husband is also a doctor who is stationed at Fort Hood and they are in the exact same boat. I will be praying for you guys. Much Love, Amelia

    • GIRL! Your prayers? They worked!!!! Love and good thoughts to your firend at FH – military life is rough. And support from wonderful friends (like you!) make it more manageable. Love YOU stars!

  17. Pingback: Transitions Suck. (And they’re ugly). | ALASKARELLA

  18. mijotwinlove

    I crying as I read this & post my comment! Oh my, my heart breaks it breaks for all of us military wives that have to go through the “what ifs” of being married to the Army… I know this will be me too, but know, this too shall pass & it’s all in God’s plan… Trust (as hard as that is) that God will do what it right. Pray for security & safety & comfort through the “what ifs” & the “future.” In the meantime, take one day at a time & cherish each moment, the good & the bad. Love like you’ve never loved… Please keep us updated on what’s happening & if he comes to train we’d love to see him. Many hugs & prayers

    • and, this one is averted! I can breath again. This ride, like you know, it is white knuckles. I am so appreciative of your strength, and that we are in this together and pulling for each other!

  19. I am trying to find words to write through tears to help make this easier … they aren’t coming easily … all I can think is that, for me, I look to Him and I don’t always understand but I do trust. I trust that He is doing what is right somehow, and that it will be alright. Somehow. We can’t always control things, especially those we most want to control. But we can trust. And pray. And lean on those around us. So I’ll pray and trust. You lean, lean heavily my dear on anyone and everyone you need to. And if you do find your way back to Denver through all this, find my shoulder and lean (even if it’s covered in spit-up or sticky toddler snacks). You and your beautiful family will be in my heart and prayers wherever this path takes all of you.

    • Hi Liz! I followed your advice! I prayed. It worked! I can’t wait to someday be in the same state as you – but for now I am just happy to have all of us stateside! xoxo to you and yours.

  20. Pingback: GREAT News! | ALASKARELLA

  21. AAAAH! This JUST in! It’s off! It’s over! He’s staying here!