Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 170

Mom – Day 170

I didn’t mention it on my Blog last Friday, but Friday night some of Zach’s friends came over to the house to have BBQ and a campfire. Zach’s friend Shane was over. He has been home on convalescent leave to give him time to heal. He is still wearing his back brace ☹ His friend Chelsey said it felt a bit funny to be over the house without Zach but it felt good to have familiar faces over at the house.

Today we had the opportunity to speak to Zach. We have been trying to call him for two weeks but we haven’t been able to get through until today. We spoke for some time about all sorts of things. We did speak politics/war – same stuff and very depressing and then we spoke about what a tour means for our military personnel. It is weird how one branch of the military can have a 3 month or 6 month rotation and another branch 12 month (the Army just went from 18 months to 12 months). Then we spoke about other little things – that was nice.

I love you Zach

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dad 171

Had a great day today with Lisa, Marjo and Stefani. We went to Portland Head light I had never been to a light house (crazy since I am from Maine) before and it was beautiful. We saw a couple of light houses. We looked at the old armaments that protected the mouth of the river that leads into Portland. Beside the Head light is the old Fort Williams which was an active fort until 1964. It was there among the wondrous beauty of the ocean that Lisa and I saw a bench dedicated to Christopher Alexander Cooley who was killed in Iraq. This damn conflict is never far away and the repercussions that are going to impact an entire generation. There have been children born and who are now 8 and for their entire lives we have been at war. Let's fight to win this thing or at least reach an idea of winning to bring them all home!

Let them fight or bring them home!!!

I love you Zach, you are superman, and I miss you!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 172

Mom – Day 172

I am back to reading and watching the news about all that is happening in Afghanistan. It is nice to have the Internet because otherwise I don’t think I would get any news. The TV stations hardly mention the war anymore; I think most Americans don’t even think about it. I think most of our students in our schools don’t even know what Memorial Day is about. On a lighter note, Seth Wescott, the 2006 / 2010 Gold medalist went to our school – he graduated from our H.S. – and he wrote a nice note that he autographed for Zach.

I love you Zach and I miss you

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dad 173

I talked to Zach today, he said he was sitting on guard duty watching some others playing I think he said volleyball. He said it was nice, and things were good. He was a little down because one of his close buddies Dane Wittig was going home on emergency leave as his Father in law was in bad shape. Life just goes on doesn't it. President Obama heads out on yet another vacation choosing not to honor veterans by visiting Arlington on Memorial day, while he has ordered thousands more troops to the war zone. Life goes on. We as a nation must not forget even if our president does not have our military as his priority, so remember our veterans and those serving - every day. Let us not forget the price being paid for freedom by so many. Life does go on, and it stands still, but for me it is one day closer one more day .... For me those serving are our number one priority and will be until each and every one of them return home safely. My prayers are with all those serving especially my son Zach.

You are superman, I love you bud!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dad 174

A great night with great friends - dinner and lots of laughter. I needed it and I know Lisa needed the best part is I think George, Barbara and Shane also needed it. Thanks to our exchange kids Marjo and Stephanie who provided some interesting entertainment.

Zach you are always on our minds and our thoughts and prayers are always with you.

You are superman! I love you bud!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 175

Mom – Day 175

I wanted to make a correction from my Day 180 blog: Wendy Paffenrot is a military MOM, not a military wife. I know that she can really relate to what I am going through.

Tonight I had all of these things in my head to write but I decided to check on facebook first. I have not been able to get in touch with Zach until now. I will catch up with the blog later.

The blog is like a life thread for me.

Love you Zach

Dad 175

Tried to call Zach a couple of times today and was never able to get through. Though it is hard I have to realize that time and distance can make it difficult to get phone calls. Amazing that 60 years ago those including Zach's Grandfather left for WW II and never talked to families except for the occasional letter for nearly 4 years. Every time I think of that I always am amazed. So we will continue to try to reach Zach and know eventually we will get through!

But the calls of my prayers go out and reach him every day!

You are superman, I love you Zach!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 176

Mom – Day 176

I wonder if our young men and women would still volunteer to serve their country if they were told some of the following: there may be times that you will have to go without equipment essential to your job; there may be times when you won’t eat, not even MREs;
there will be many times that you will look at the enemy and know that you cannot do anything; there may be times when you will feel that the US government will have you feel abandoned; ……. I do think many of our men and women would still volunteer because they believe that the good in our country will eventually prevail – I don’t believe that our soldiers should be used as a political game piece when what the government wants for an outcome is not clear. Are our military in Afghanistan to win, to triumph over Al Qaeda and the Taliban?

I love you Zach

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dad 177

Zach was on line today talking to friends. It is weird how he mentions finding IED's and enemy combatants in one minute then joking with his friends a short time later. It seems odd yet natural and I know it aids Zach's morale and he and all the soldiers need all the morale boosts they can get. I miss Zach so much and would really like to go fishing with him! It is something I look forward to when he is back at home and in college. Lisa gets so stressed about Zach and the war but it is no different for a dad it is hard and it is real every day! I look forward to every piece of information about him and little notes from him. It is one day at a time and I hope and pray the days go quickly!

Zach you are superman and I love you!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dad 178

One day at a time, didn't get to talk to Zach today, it makes it hard to head into the week. My faith is strong, and my love is unwavering. We will try again later in the week. You are superman, I love you Zach!

Day 178

Mom – Day 178

Zach I miss you. I have not seen any action on Facebook for a while. I ran out of phone cards and since I cannot get them in town, I have to wait. I hope I hear something soon.

Love you and miss you Zach

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dad 179

A warm sunny day not too hot, but just a beautiful spring day! Was at a wedding today and a gentleman recognized my blue star pin and asked who and I had deployed and where, he was a veteran of the gulf war the second gulf war veteran I have met in the past couple of days. There are so many that have given so much for this country it is sad that more people don't appreciate those who are willing to serve. I feel fortunate to have met so many people who do care that I try not to think of those too ignorant to understand how freedom is secured and protected.

I did receive a call from Susan Collins office concerning a letter I wrote and I had a long talk about equipment and the rules of engagement. I believe our rules of engagement are interfering with our troops ability to fight and are putting them at greater danger. Let them do their jobs and fight our BRING THEM HOME!

Zach you are superman and I love you bud!

Day 179

Mom – Day 179

Today I am grateful for another beautiful day. I should be outside but I really have some work to do. I know that I have been down the last few days but I think that is how it is going to be. Every day will be a struggle. Today I feel better. I hope I can speak to Zach this weekend. In just over a year, Zach will be out of active duty and better yet, in less than 179 days, he will be out of Afghanistan.

I love you Zach

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 180

Mom – Day 180

Today one of my colleagues made me cry at school. I was so touched by what he did for ME. My colleague, Jim, contacted his sister-n-law, Wendy Paffenroth, who is a military wife and told her about me. She does not know me but she sent me this bag of gifts. She sent me a shawl and beautiful words to go with it. The shawl – “prayer shawls…made for centuries as a universal & embracing symbol of an unconditionally loving God. They wrap, enfold, comfort, and give solace, hug, shelter, mother & beautify the receiver. “ Wendy also gave me some of her poems, this is part of one of her poems that is titled, ‘Patriotic Shawl”, …….This shawl I was given while you are away, will comfort and sustain me until you return to my arms. Although this shawl will never take the place of your hugs, I know that when I am wrapped tightly in it, I will believe that it is you – who is hugging me. The days will pass and you will return safely to your family as many people have prayed for that wondrous day. While we are apart, and I feel the need to be near you. I will wrap myself in my “American Shawl” and draw on the great memories we share. God bless my Volunteer. Amen”

I love you Zach

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 181

Mom – Day 181

Today the weather has been fantastic! I had a great day. I spoke to Victoria and I just relaxed, something I don’t seem to do often. Although the day was great, I feel nostalgic. I know what the word means, and that is why it is weird. I am home but I don’t feel home. I am comfortable but it is not the same. I am trying everything to make me feel better. I do feel better BUT …. I am saying ‘no’ to things at work, trying to make my life more manageable; I am working out; eating better; listening to music again; BUT I still can’t stop crying. I think sometimes that there must be something wrong with me, why can’t I control ME, my emotions. I hate feeling vulnerable. I DO know that I will get through this, I also know that I am impatient but that is the way it is so I have to suck it up.

I love you Zach

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 182

Mom – Day 182

Yesterday Specialist Wade was buried and in Afghanistan seven US troops were killed. The number killed in Afghanistan is around 1,000. A suicide bomber in Kabul killed five of the seven troops. Kabul is supposed to be a safer area! I can’t wait until Zach comes home and when all of our troops come home!

I love you Zach

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dad 183

A beautiful warm sunny spring day here in Maine. We got home - Lisa went to the gym and I took Jack out for a long walk nearly an hour and a half of walk time. Lisa had bought some wild salmon so I seasoned it and prepared it on a cedar plank to be placed on the grill. Lisa made a wonderful green salad, and her own dressing from the balsamic and olive oil we bought at the cooking store in Portland. I guess you could say it was nearly perfect it was - and wasn't! Even as we are at the half way of 365 it is still very hard to know our little boy our own ET who we jokingly say we found on the U Bahn tracks after a UFO crash is still in Afghanistan.

It is harder for me to as time goes when I hear of so many service people say we can't win because they won't let us! THEY who is the they it is our own government acting through our military leadership! If they don't want to let the military win by any means necessary then BRING THEM HOME, the point of a "war" is to defeat the enemy - to "win". If that is not our goal then we should bring them home! NOW!

Please keep the prayers going, for the safety of our military and for their expeditious and safe return home. Zach you are superman, and your mom and I love you with all that we have in us.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dad 184

"You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done." Ronald Reagan Time to do all that can be done. Lets finish the job and bring them home! Zach you are superman, and I love you!

Day 184 con't

Mom – Day 184 (second part)

Mary, I am sharing your comment - it seems like our government is not listening to their military men and women fighting - they are not listening to what they are saying - I am not sure if they care, maybe it is all a political game for them?? "this may be the casket Robert helped load onto a plane while waiting in Kuwait. He said it was so sad and so very hard to do that job. They were waiting to leave and were called upon to assist with a dignified send off. So sad and so senseless.. Robert has said Mom we will never be able to win this war. They wont let us do what we need to do and we are not just fighting the Taliban etc etc."

Day 184

Mom – Day 184

Today was a warm, sunny day. We had dinner on the deck and then Galen made a fire on the deck. It was so tranquil. I wish I had my family with me. I miss times like this with my family. There are so many things that we take for granted in life and usually this is one of them. Soon Zach, and my daughter Victoria (and others) will all be together around the campfire outside. Right now I am just waiting for that day.

I love you Zach

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 185

Mom – Day 185

Today the flags were at half-staff for the funeral of Spec. Slack. He died May 6th, the Thursday before Mother’s Day. That Sunday, Wade’s mom never had the chance to hear those words, “Happy Mother’s Day”.

Today Galen and I had a chance to speak to Zachary. We spoke to him for a bit over an hour. It was nice to hear his voice. We did speak a bit about military stuff, which can be somewhat depressing, but we also spoke about ‘normal’ things. It felt good to talk to him about regular things. I tried to bring him up to date with everything happening here. It made my day to speak to Zach ☺

I love you Zach

Dad 185

All I can say is it is time to end the madness. I have never been one of these peaceniks or liberals who protest the war - but I do protest politicians who influence how a war is fought. Now it has become apparent that due to the rules of engagement, (funny how they call them rules - rules of war) our military members are at a decided disadvantage. What is the purpose of war if it is not to defeat the enemy. Hearts and minds for what - we are leaving in July 2011, we told them we were!!!!!! I'm tired and more tired of hearing of soldiers who are killed or maimed when a more aggressive effort by our "leaders" may have prevented some of the casualties!! Enough! I will be glad when my son leaves that hell hole! All I can do is pray for each and every soldier, airman, marine and naval personnel in harms way!

Zach you are my hero, you are superman, and I love. Dad

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 186

Mom – Day 186

Yesterday I couldn’t really write in the Blog and I asked Galen to do it. I didn’t even want to read it yesterday. Yesterday, Wade Slack came home to Maine in a casket. He only had a little over a month left to finish his tour. The day before he died Zach was with him; Wade’s unit was called in to do their specialized work. Joe Whalen, another Maine boy from Wilton is now mourning his friend. – Wade Slack came home to Maine in a casket! How dignified is that? I cannot imagine the pain his parents are going through. Only those who have lost a child can understand that pain but I can only imagine that that is the worst pain that could exist – I think hell would be more comforting.

The news of his death is just like another day. We as a nation, just accept this. Why? This war has become to PC (politically correct), how can our military fight? The Taliban knows all of our rules of engagement, we tell them! They know our deadlines, they know where we can fight, how we can fight, and the list goes on. We have given them our playbook and they are laughing. I wonder with all of these extra troops, are they actually sending more troops to fight? If I were to guess, the answer is no. The left hand and the right hand are not communicating. I also think that there are many many targets (Taliban) that have not been attacked because of all of the PC rules of engagement. I wonder how many of our military has shed blood due to all of these missed opportunities. Once again, I believe that if our men and women are out there fighting for the beliefs of our government, then let them do their job – if NOT, send them home. If President Obama and General McChrystal would send one of their children outside of the wire to fight, would they think our government is doing everything to let them accomplish their mission and come back alive and in one piece? If the answer is NO – which I believe it is – then shame on them.

I love you Zach and I am sorry but I will worry about you all the time. I love you and my job is to try and take care of you the best I can – so right now all I can do is pray.
Love your Mama

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dad 187

Sometimes as a parent of a child deployed to a war zone it is hard to describe how you feel! It is never all ok the worry is a constant companion who is always lurking. This is especially true when you learn of soldiers who have been killed and when they are so close your heart is in your throat for the day! I cried when I saw the images of the arrival of Specialist Wade Slack, whose body arrived in Maine today. He is from Waterville a town not too far away. I guess Joe Whalen an area soldier who is also in Afghanistan, knew him. Spec Slack specialized in disarming bombs especially the Improvised explosive devices. After talking to Joe, Zach realized he had also met Specialist Slack and they were on a mission together in the days prior to the day Specialist Slack was killed. My heart goes out to his family and my prayers are all I can give. God bless them! Please if you read this blog today I ask you to say prayers for all of the troops and especially for the family of Specialist Slack!

May this all be over soon. You are superman, I love you Zach! Mom loves you and a whole nation is grateful!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 188

Mom – Day 188

Today was a beautiful day and I realize that today is a day to be thankful for. I am trying!!!

I love you Zach

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dad 189

Well I picked up the snow mobile for Zach and I am continuing to search for another. I am so looking forward to us riding together next winter, it is sort of crazy but I am hoping the summer goes by quickly because I want to share that time with him now!! You are superman, I love you Zach!

Day 189

Mom – Day 189

I am home in my driveway and I can’t stop crying. I look up at the American flag and Zach’s Airborne flag flying and then I look at all the yellow ribbons on the trees. I can’t wait until Zach takes them down! The ribbons look kind of faded now but the ribbons are not faded in my heart. I wish I had some magic pill to stop the pain in my heart but I can’t, I guess I just learn how to cope with it at times. BUT I know Zach will be home in no time and all of this will be forgotten. I also know that I should thank God that I have some great kids.

I love you Zach

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 190

Mom – Day 190

Yesterday’s email from Zach was so special. I never knew that I had such an impact on Zach. My brain does tell me not to worry so much; after all I know he has a smart head on his shoulders. It is just hard to tell my heart that. I am starting to cope a bit better. I am sleeping a little bit more and today I didn’t cry – not yet.

I love you Zach

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 191

Mom – Day 191

“hola madre! happy mothers day mom, I couldnt get on the internet till now sorry. I hope you have had a good day ma. I miss you so much, and although this day growing up was one of the scariest every year (and your bday) now i wish i could just be there. You really dont know what you have till its gone. Each day however is one day closer and it makes being home that much more special. I'm doing well here mom, you need to stop worrying so much. You and dad where the ones who raised me right and I have a good head on my shoulders. I will be fine. Thank you mom for your love and support my whole life even though sometimes at the time it didn't seem like it but you have always seemed to know best and have always been there for me. You and dad are the two most inspirational people in my life. You have always been such a hard worker doing so many things for other people like the costa rica trip one of the best trips of my life. Also another great attribute I got from you is being adventurous. Taking risks, seeing the world, doing things you have never done. This might be why I'm an entrepreneur now and why in a few years Ill have my own multimillion dollar business. We only live once so try new things see new places and the biggest thing is do what makes you happy. Thank you mom for helping me be who I am today miss and love you so much.” Zac Dalrymple May 9 at 11:14pm

I love you Zach.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Day 192

Mom – Day 192

Today is Mother’s Day and I survived. I woke up and went out with the dog. At the start of my walk I cried and then I walked 3 miles. I felt okay. I enjoy walking because it gives me time to think and feel. On my way back from my walk I bumped into my husband and he wanted us to go home – at first I thought it was odd that he came to walk and then he didn’t walk, but I didn’t question it. When I got home I saw a beautiful kayak on the front lawn. The kids got together with their father and bought me this for Mother’s Day. What was nice was the fact that they coordinated their effort to do this for me. Maybe I didn’t have my kids here, but they thought of me ☺ Dal made a great meal and our friend Carol came over to share the day. I woke up depressed and teary eyed but it turned out to be a good day.

I love you Zach and I miss you

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 193

Mom – Day 193

So I think sometimes that I can smile again and be happy but reality always ends up hitting me in the face. Again causalities, this time close to home. Sometimes I am so confident in myself and sometimes I have no clue how I will continue. I guess this is a low again – I pray tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, on Monday it will be Mexican Mother’s Day – I am not looking forward to either day.

I love you Zach

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day 193 Dad

Went to wonderful play tonight at Mt Blue HS. "The Pirates of Penzance" was great the kids were marvelous! It is amazing what kids can do and the talent they possess! I feel fortunate to live in a country where we are free to live and be, to enjoy and express! I feel fortunate there are those willing to protect our freedoms, "Freedom is not Free"! Thank you Zach and thank you to all those who serve! Zach you are amazing, you are superman, I love you with all my heart and I miss you!!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 194

Mom – Day 194

Zach has not been to his FOB in forever – he is “living” somewhere with a bit less. It is funny because I do tend to hear from him every now and then. I am always amazed how every time I am traveling and I am on my cell phone, in Maine, my calls get dropped – no signal – and yet in no-where land Afghanistan, in their war torn condition, some modern conveniences exist.

I know I like to be informed about everything but I decided to take a bit of a break. I have not been reading every piece of news there is, or watching everything that I can find on the television or Internet. I needed some time away from the chaos. I know that Zach is still in the midst of all of this but even he needs to do things that distract him from the chaos.

I love you Zach

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 195

Mom – Day 195

I am actually chatting with Zach right now on Facebook. It makes me feel so nice to have this opportunity. He just came back from a big mission. I was really nervous but he told me that it would be okay, and he is right.

I love you Zach

Dad 195

After the American Legion dinner last night I felt better, it was nice to be around people who care about our troops and many of whom understand what so many are going through now! I cannot wait for this to be over and to reach a sense of normalcy if that is possible. You are superman, I love you Zach!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 196

Mom – Day 196

I saw Shane today, one of Zach’s best friends. It was so nice to see him. I am always worrying about our boys. He is like Zach, a paratrooper. His last jump was not so successful. I thank God that he can walk. He will have a long recovery.

Shane stopped by the American Legion (he just arrived from Ft Bragg – in his back brace). The Legion put on a dinner and an evening of honor for those men and women who are serving in our armed services. I was so touched by Shane’s strength, by seeing people that care about our loved ones, and by the courage I saw in the room from those who have loved ones serving. It makes me feel good to know that we are not alone.

I love you Zach

Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 197

Mom – Day 197

Today is a hot day. I wonder how Zach is? I often wonder how he is feeling, what he smells, and what he is listening to. Do you ever look up at the moon or the stars in the sky and have the sense that you are sharing that moment with someone? That is what I think about at times. I know Zach is doing something, someplace that he doesn’t want me to worry about – yeah right, how can I not worry. But with that said, Zach is so confident that he gives me strength.

I haven’t really spoken to Zack, but he has left me messages on Facebook about things that don’t really matter. Life is funny, little things that can seem so un-important can mean the world.

I love you Zach

Dad 197

Not much today just feel tired! You are superman and I love you Zach!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dad 198

We never know the turns in the road that life has in store for us! Sometimes all we can do is keep our foot on the accelerator. When our foot gets tired we look to friends and family to help! Never forget what you have, never take it for granted for nothing is guaranteed. Zach I know you are out on a mission so please keep your eyes open and senses sharp! I am always trying to be strong and sometimes I can't!!! Maybe there is only one set of footprints in the sand and someone is carrying me! I miss you bud you are superman and I love you so much!

Day 198

Mom – Day 198

Sitting here in my living room in Maine, the sun is shining and I hear the birds in the background. It is so peaceful here. I am so lucky to have that. In short time, Zach will wake up to the birds chirping instead of the mortars going. It is funny what we get use to and sometimes rely on for background noise.

I love you Zach

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Day 199

Mom – Day 199

What did I find out today – I found out that I might not have to continue with this blog until day 0. That is right, Zach may have the opportunity to leave Afghanistan a month or so earlier than planned. It is so nice to hear this news. I know that the military changes it mind all of the time but I do hope this piece holds true.

On another note, I wonder why I am having such a hard time dealing with Zach in Afghanistan. I think Zach is the one that helps me deal with my anxiety. I am the mom and I am the one that is supposed to help him and yet he is the one that is helping me. He is the one that is teaching me cope with all of this. Why am I so whimpy? I once watched an interview with a lady whose husband was deployed and two of her sons. How can that lady be so strong?

I love you Zach