Monday, January 07, 2008

Gaining perspective

Last night, TCB and I had a painful (for me) discussion about money. I've been shopping my way through the stress and grief although I'm actually spending less than I did before I was married, but still more than anyone should ever spend. On anything. Anyway, in his quiet, unassuming way, TCB asked if I had enough money for the huge pile of deferred (by several months) car maintenance Esme the Escape now desperately needs and I said, "Well, I think so, although I haven't looked at my balance in a while." He then asked, "What happened to your bonus (from August)," and my brain exploded. I started to try to explain about stress spending and that I was doing much better than in years past and that I'd been super-good before October when I thought I'd be moving and...well, you get the picture. I was honest-to-God sobbing: great, heaving sobs. My poor husband was on his lunch hour and had to get back and was trying to bring me back into the Land of the Reasonable when we had to sign off. I went to bed sniffling and had a terrible time getting to sleep.

Because I'd fallen asleep with CNN still on the television, I woke this morning to hear that a U.S. Navy ship had been attacked by Iranians. My eyes flew open to see his ship* pictured on the screen with crawling text underneath talking about objects being dropped in the water that might or might not be explosives. And that they'd gotten within 100 feet of the ship. Only then did I hear "Straits of Hormuz" but the damage was done. [The Straits of Hormuz are between Iraq and Iran, so that's a different area of operations from TCB's ship.]

My worst nightmare since he left has been a repeat of the incident with the USS Cole in 2000. Seventeen people lost their lives in that attack and it left a gaping hole in the side of the ship, the mental picture of which stays with me to this day. It was my birthday, you see...a happy-go-lucky day in that happy-go-lucky period before we all lost our innocence on 9/11, and I was sitting in a huge soaking tub in a hotel in Reno when that picture popped up on CNN. A chill passed down my spine as I thought about those poor sailors and their devastated families, and I said a silent prayer for everyone involved.

Now it's my husband that's out there with scary people wishing they could blow a hole in his ship. It shouldn't really matter because any loss of life, any threat to our security as a nation should be enough. But it's not. I'm telling you right now, it's just not the same thing. Sitting on your bed and realizing that you didn't tell your husband that you loved him at the end of what might very well be your last conversation ever is not the same thing as watching and feeling sad because someone's lost their life.

Oh, and P.S. to whoever is responsible for the weaponry on my husband's ship: If anyone unidentified and/or unauthorized - and I really, truly mean anyone - gets within even 200 feet of that ship, for God's sake, FIRE.

* It wasn't actually HIS ship, it was another ship of the same classification. But that's something you can't tell unless you can read the numbers on the side, which I couldn't.