Thursday, October 22, 2009

Operation COURAGE (from Vino in Vo)

From Vino in Vo by Christy Krueger

C - Concentrate on the things you can change, not on things you cannot.

O - Open up to your spouse and the social support groups near you- FRG, peers.

U - Uphold a positive attitude- even if you have to fake it sometimes.

R - Retain family routines- eat at the dinner table, keep your son's football practices.

A - Activate yourself- exercise, travel, keep your mind busy.

G - Grow- develop, strive, and continue individual and family goals.

E - Examine the rumor mills. They are probably incorrect.

An excerpt from Vino in Vo about COURAGE: "COURAGE is the operational blueprint in surviving the deployment blues.... Read them. Live by them. And when you're in an emotional black hole, read them again and live by them once more. While our men fight the war over there, we must win the battles here. ... Keep your chins raised high, and go be an Army wife."

I think certain things happen to you when you need them the most. I was going through a weird time when this book fell in my lap (Thanks Shannon!). Reading it took me a while, but only because I needed to soak in the words and apply them to my life. It's about three Army wives living in Italy while their husbands are deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Three completely different women. Three completely different personalities. Three completely different histories. And how they make it work without their man.

I want to give the book to Lucy. But then again, I don't. It's not a happy book. It's sad and sticky. I spent the whole time waiting for someone to die. Debating which husband was okay to spare in the story. And I cried. A lot. But I needed to cry. Does that make any sense? At that time in my life, I needed to cry about these things. I needed to cry about the idea of losing my husband, in a metaphorical sense. Is it odd that a chapter in a book shaped the ideas and outcomes of the next two weeks of my life? It did. It's an amazing book. Speaks volumes about the ways women cope with the world, not just Army wives, but all women. Speaks volumes about the importance of friends and support systems. I've never had a lot of friends, one or two close people sometimes, mostly men, oddly enough. But now, I have the best friends in the world. I have a group of women that I know I can go to when I need a little hug. And it's amazing. I joke about "Army wives clubs" and secret handshakes, but these women will be my best friends forever. No matter where they move or what they're doing. Are we in a secret club? No. No secret handshake. But there's a look. A look that we all know. It's sympathy and empathy and a constant invitation for dinner or coffee all rolled up into one simple glance. It's being able to pick up the phone when you haven't spoken to her in weeks and start the conversation right were it ended. It's knowing that right now matters, because your life can change with every breath you take.

The COURAGE thing is oddly simple in my opinion. I think it takes far more than that to get through a year without your husband. The courage that Army wives (or girl friends and fiances) hold is so much more than that. But I thought I would post it. I know a few people out there that are floundering, that need a little push in the right direction. This book was my push. I hope you find yours.


Michael Shawn Keller said...

Wow, Great post Sara, I hope many read your advice and are strengthened by it. I really believe in carma and I know that you will be okay because you are putting optimism into others thoughts. Let your husband know that many have him and you in our thoughts and prayers and are proud that he is keeping us safe!
Best wishes,
Mike Keller

Sara said...

Thank you so much for your comment and kind words!

Tonja +Jere + Kids said...

this was inspiring, great post girl!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post, Sara. I'll be looking for this book on my next trip to Barnes & Noble!

Chrisy Krueger said...

Hi Sara!
I wrote Operation COURAGE to give Army wives a foundation that would help them survive their spouse's deployment, so I'm glad to see that your spreading the word. And, I have to say, that I read this blog a few months ago and some things you wrote gave me a push to write more--so thank you! Please, if you have a moment, write a review on Amazon. Readers depend on the thoughts of others. Thank you again for writing this blog.