This is about our family's journey to a new norm after our son Chris was seriously injured in an IED explosion while deployed to Afghanistan. I chose the title "A Misfit's Mother's Journey" to honor some small way all the amazing young men in his squad, "Martin's Misfits". I owe a debt to these amazing men who worked together to save my son's and his buddy's lives and to the young man who sadly lost his life. This is a debt I can never repay. I hope you will find inspiration in our story and admiration of the young men who understand the consequences and are still willing to risk life and limb in the hope of protecting others.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
As I sit here watching Chris do his PT, I wish I could figure out how I really feel. There are so many emotions. Watching all these young men in here brings me to tears. There are so many that had, have and will go thru so much at such young ages. Amazement that they knew the consequences and still volunteered to put themselves in harms way for others. Pride in the ones determined to overcome. Sadness for the ones that haven't been able find their way thru the darkness yet. As I watch Chris throughout the day I guess the main emotion I feel is thankful. Sometimes I feel guilty cause some people I've talked to don't understand why I'm not more angry. Why should I be, it won't change anything. I love my new reality cause while it may not be what I imagined his future to be like, at least he still has one and he can be hugged by all his family and friends! ♥
Tears of joy flow down my face. I am blubbering like an idiot and not for the last time today I surmise. Today the town of O'Fallon, our family of the heart, military and Road Warrior family members, friends of friends and complete strangers came out in droves to show their support and love for Chris. To say thank you for his willingness to fight for our country and the sacrifice he made. Prior to joining the Marines Chris worked at a take n bake pizza joint, Papa Murphy's, and eventually I took up where he left off. The owners Steve and Aaron have always been so good to Chris and I and have cared a lot about our family. So it didn't really surprise me when Aaron called early on saying he wanted to do something for Chris. Both Papa Murphy's and Orange Leaf support fundraisers often but this time Aaron wanted to take it a step further and have a fundraiser for Chris. He wanted to donate 20% of Papa Murphy's sales for one day. I knew how much our family and friends loved us, but this showed just how much our community as a whole support him. Our day started off just like the rest of our days were going to start; full of doctor appointments, physical and occupational therapy. The sky was bright blue, free of clouds and the sun was shinning bright providing the perfect amount of warmth as it always does in San Diego. The texts and tears began early. I knew word had spread around our circle of friends and through out the military community on Scott so I was prepared for a good turn out, but not for what ensued. A line began forming before Papa Murphy's even opened up at 1100. From then on it was non-stop, the phones rang off the hook and at around 2:30 they had to stop taking call-ins because of all the orders. The line ran down the sidewalk of the strip mall and even wrapped about the building at times. People waited up to 90 minutes in line to get their order. My friends talked to those around them while waited and many reported some of the people they met didn't even know Chris or us but wanted to show their support for this brave young man. Hearing and seeing all out pouring of love and support from our community touched my soul and heart so deep I couldn't stop crying all day. It was so busy that they ran out of dough at 6:30, yet people still wanted to come in so they could drop of a donation. Since the beginning of his career it has always made Chris uncomfortable when people would buy his meal or do something nice for him because of his service. He sees what he does as a job, no different from what anyone else does. He joined because he loves it and to serve, defend and protect his country and his family. The reasons behind why he joined makes it hard for him to understand the reason why others make those kind gestures towards him. We spent a couple hours that night discussing the day's events and he slowly began to understand. Many of those people are military, prior military, military family members and people who just appreciate what these brave young men have chosen to do for our country. Many see what he, and men like him, has sacrificed and want to say thank you in some way for being so brave and making that sacrifice, so they or their loved ones didn't have to. To him it is a HUGE gesture, but to them it is a small one and often they wish they could do more. We are so thankful for their support. Knowing it is there makes what we are going thru easier in so many ways. It provides the foundation we need to know that he can walk this path, but when he stumbles there will be many hands to help him up. That support drives him to be able to pass it forward and help those coming along behind him. He wants to do what he can to make their path is an easier one to walk. Just as those that came before him helped clear the path he now walks. Thank you Aaron and Steve for your support of our family. Words cannot express just how all your kindness, understanding and patience means to us.