Thursday, August 16, 2012

"Moore's OK"

This post has been weeks in the making. I tag up to it and run, unable to collect myself. I don't know where to begin, how to fast forward, or how to wrap it up. I'll start with these blessed words that I heard first, when answering my phone to my son on the other end, 10 weeks or so ago:

"Mom. Moore's ok..." I was crying before I got out the words "what happened?"

"He's on his way to Germany. He's ok. Afghanistan. Roadside explosive, his buddy stepped on it. He's ok. We're waiting for more news."

Steven Moore, or "Steebmo," I dubbed him when I declared he needed a pet name, was my son's gunner in Iraq. The first tour was hellacious, and this young man saved my kid's life on more than one occasion. When they were released for leave upon returning home, Steebmo opted to join Brian in my home, before they went to visit his Mama.

Best Mother's Day Ever, 2008.

We celebrated their coming home in ridiculous fashion.
Lord, I wish I could do it for each and every one of them. 

Hey, while you're home on leave, resting up from a year in hell,
would you mind blowing the pine needles off of Grandma's house?
"Yes ma'am. I'd be glad to."
(Holy shit, I actually put them to work.)

He and and Brian served another year in Iraq, in '09-10. Upon their return, Brian was moved to Ft. Hood, Texas, while Steven and his new family went to Ft. Lewis, Washington. Steven touched base with me early this year that he was going to Afghanistan, but I lost track of his deployment date.

I was merrily blogging, a month earlier, about how I was in a place in this world that I had little left to worry about, all the while I had soldier babies in Afghanistan. I feel a punch in my stomach every time I think of it.


Moore is ok. I've been hesitant to tell his story, or to bother him or his wife too much, for fear of sensationalizing his injuries, or just getting in their face when I can't imagine what they have been through. Of the hundreds of troops we've sent packages to, my Steebmo is the first I've known personally that has been injured. How it completely undid me is fodder for another post.

He has a broken finger, artery damage in  his arm, and lower tissue damage. He is home with his beautiful wife and children now, and begins physical therapy soon.

His comrade lost both of his legs that day. When I finally got up the nerve to ask my son about him, he said, "it's crazy, Mom," and we both sobbed like babies.

Steven's wife has kept us as much in the know as we need to be. I have utmost respect for her, and her protecting her family and her husband with gentle updates that they needed space.

She is Mama Bear, and yet has taken the time to share with me that:

The rest of Moore's company, still with several months left to serve in Afghanistan, has lost 20% of their troops to injury, death, PTSD, and suicide. Morale, as you can imagine, is very low.

That the rest of his company struggles now, trying to hold it together in the midst of these statistics, has brought me roaring out of my place of complacency. A Toys for Troops APB has been put out on the wire, and cookie bakers came out of the woodwork.

Five platoon leaders of this company have cookies galore coming their way, along with a letter asking them to check us out, contact us, and if they think us worthy, to send us the names of their troops.

My message remains steadfast: we might not be saving the world, but if we change the direction of even one lousy day, we've made a difference.

We remain, warriors for warriors.

Stay tuned. 

(Love you Steebmo & Kesha!)