Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I'm A-Raging

The milk of human kindness flows very drudgingly through my veins at times. I know this, and usually am pretty good about hiding my blackened, shriveled heart. But I had an encounter last Friday night that has been bothering me to no end, and I am not sure I am right in how I reacted.

A few of us were meeting at the VF*n*W, putting the final touches on a fundraiser we were having on Saturday night, and there was also a fish fry going on in back, so folks were passing back and forth between the canteen to the kitchen. A woman stopped and asked if the Ladies Auxiliary President was in the building. I told her no, but I was past president, could I help her with anything? She said she was interested in joining the Auxiliary and starting a support network, since her son was in basic training.

I proceeded to tell her about the things our Post does for the troops, i.e. sending boxes constantly, our adoption of a local National Guard unit, helping a local soldier who has been at Brooke Army Medical Center for three years now, etc. The more I talked, the more of a funny look she gave me.
“Well, that’s not exactly what I meant,” she said. “I was thinking more support for me, being a mom and all.”
At this point, I leaned forward in my chair with my hands clasped in front of me on the table, and ask her what kind of assistance she needs.
“Oh, I’m just so worried about my boy! He’s never been away from home, and I can’t call him, and my God, they’re probably going to send him to Iraq-“
“-and I just can’t cope with this right now, he shouldn’t have joined the Army, this war is so wrong, I just know there are mothers that feel the way I do that I can talk to.”
There was more, but I couldn’t listen anymore.I didn’t say anything, just sat there feeling my ears turning red. One of the guys I was sitting with, a Gulf War vet, said, “You know you’re in a VFW???”
“Well, yes, your organization is supposed to give me the kind of help I need, right?”
At this point I laid my hand over Rob’s, and told the woman, yes, there were three of us that have sons in the military and that I would talk to them and see what they thought about starting a group.

Anything to get rid of her.

Well. We have been through three deployments, and will have a son deployed again by January. And never, EVER have I ever considered showing any kind of doubt or worry to a complete fucking stranger. And my two friends? Marine moms. Nuff said.

So…am I completely insensitive, or was my perception that this woman was whining about oh poor me right on the money? Because she never asked about us sending anything to her son if or when he deploys.

Oh…and she kinda looked like Cindy Sheehan, but more hippy-ish in her dress.


At 10/25/2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nah I think you were right on. I would've suggested phone cards or something that could keep her in contact with her son. Maybe you could've asked her to be specific and if she said the wrong thing (like, give me money to go do my hair so that I forget that my son joined the horrible military) maybe you could've redirected her to a more appropriate group? I think you handled it spot on. Read my blog- I think I'm coming into a rage of my own, I might even unlock this one for your loyal readers :) it is THAT entertaining.

At 10/27/2006, Anonymous rsm said...

you were spot on and handled the situation with style.

Have no fear, though, this woman is going to be scampering to get as much news coverage as she can as a victim of all of this, thereby embarassing her son for some time to come.

You have to wonder how someone like that raised a boy willing to join the military. I wonder if she is divorced.

At 10/29/2006, Blogger Tammi said...

You done good RM. Very VERY good.

And IMHO you are spot on with your assessment. Holy Cow. Yeah, I got nothin' I can add. Other than good for you!! You really did handle that just right. IOU a beer or 5.

At 11/02/2006, Anonymous Realist said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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