On Saturday, I said goodbye for the fourth time. Once when he left last year in September, once when I flew to New Orleans for his four day pass and once again in May when he was home on leave. The first three times were hard enough, but we always had a date to anticipate his homecoming.
How do you tell six children - when they keep asking when daddy will be home - that we have no idea?
The Soldier has been on U.S. soil, for two months, in Army limbo. While the doctors and case managers and everyone else and their brother argue where and when the Army is going to fix what they broke. He has been denied leave and had surgeries scheduled and then cancelled. All while he sits and we wonder.
This isn't my first rodeo and I know it takes time for papers to process and orders to come through, but this is bordering on craziness. And he isn't the only one. There are dozens of other Soldiers, returning home from war, being kept from their families by red tape.
He has told me stories of wheel chairs too small for Soldiers, chow halls not handicapped accessible and other Soldiers having to take care of those who have had surgeries and are sent back to the barracks to recover. And in their brand new, 53 million dollar barracks, the Soldier has changed rooms three times for issues like no cold water in the shower and his fire alarm going off for three days (while the work order got passed along to several different people). What a joke.
I am tired of saying goodbye.
I am tired of the Army.
I am just so tired and ready for this to be over.