I've been getting comments, on a subject that I feel strongly about, so I'd like to clear some things up for the naysayers.
I am in the process of joining my FRG's (Family Readiness Group) CARE team. Before I go into the comments I've been given, here is a brief description of what a CARE team is/does:
The purpose of the CARE Team is to offer short-term care and support to Families of deceased and seriously wounded Soldiers/Civilians until the Family's own support structure is in place.
CARE Team volunteers provide assistance that complements the assistance provided by the Casualty Assistance Officer (CAO), Chaplain, and Rear Detachment Commander. The focus of CARE Team volunteers' efforts is on providing practical assistance and emotional support to the Family on a short term basis so that the Family can continue to function while dealing with a traumatic event. The actual support provided depends on the Family needs and command guidance but can include:
*Call Support *Home Care Assistance *Childcare Support *Meal Support *Transportation *Assistance to visiting Family *Other Family Support
Now that we got that out of the way, I want to tell you how alarmed I was at some of the responses I got from breaking the news to my friends and family.
I posted this simple status on my facebook, "I'm now volunteering with my FRG's Care Team! Wish me Luck!" and it was as if I'd said, "I'm going to do drugs! Wish me Luck!" I'm not even sure some of the people who responded have any idea what a Care Team does.
Call me crazy, but I want to have an active role in this Army life. Most of my friends are not actively involved in their husband/significant other's career, and so in some ways I don't expect them to understand. However, It's not like my Husband works nine-to-five in a cubicle. I can't just decide I want to take a job in another state, I can't ask him to quit his job, or transfer somewhere else because there is an opportunity for me, we can't just "quit" when it gets too hard. My Husband works for the US Army, we go where they tell us, when they tell us, and I'm sorry, but I refuse to just go along for the ride. Any chance that I have to be involved, you better believe I'll be first in line, notepad and pencil in hand.
I will admit, working with a family who just lost their Soldier or are going to have to adjust to living with a seriously injured one doesn't sound like a sparkling or glamorous job, but it is a necessity for which I feel I am genetically programed to carry out. I am calm under pressure, I don't buckle at the first sign of tragedy, in fact, I put on a brave face and let out the most compassionate me when I'm needed most. I've always been a friend you can come to for advice, a shoulder to cry on, the strong one. It makes me feel good to help people, if it's something I can do, why wouldn't I give someone I care about the effort?
We are a country at war, a war that my Husband and his fellow Soldiers are fighting now. Death is a reality of that. Casualties are a part of this life. Some people are more than happy to live in a cloud of fantasy, but the truth is, not all the Soldiers are coming home the way we want them to, and I can not ignore this fact. I have to live with the grim reality that my Husband may get hurt or killed over there. I like knowing that if the worst thing in this world happens to my Family, I wont be alone.
The Care Team doesn't knock on doors and tell people the bad news, they don't give counseling or advice to the grieving families. They just make everyday life easier. Someone to pick the kids up from school when you can't get out of bed. Someone to make sure you and the kids are eating, and getting clean laundry and dishes. Someone to pick your Family up from the airport and bring them to you so that you can cling to each other. Someone to make sure your bills get a stamp on them and make it to the mailbox. I want to be that person for my fellow Army wives, because I'm more than capable, and because I would hope, that if anything were to ever happen to my family, someone would want to be there for us.
So, to the people that have been saying things to me like:
"Why would you want to have such a morbid task?"
"That's just going to make you more paranoid while Josh is gone."
"Yuck, can't someone else do that job?"
"You're crazy girl, that's just not a job anyone should VOLUNTEER FOR"
I CAN AND WILL BE VOLUNTEERING, BECAUSE I FEEL CALLED TO DO THIS, BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN COMPASSION FOR MY FELLOW MAN, AND BECAUSE SOMEDAY, WHEN YOU NEED SOMEONE, YOU'RE GOING TO HOPE SOMEONE GIVES A DAMN!
I understand if you feel concerned for me, if you think this might be a huge undertaking, but watching someones kids, or making a meal for a Family so that they can concentrate on more important tasks, really doesn't seem outside of my abilities. I just wanted to inform my friends and family, so that you can have a better understanding of what I will be expected to do.
I'm sorry if this post seems angry, it's not meant to at all. I did warn you all that this blog is a place to speak my mind freely! :) On that note, until next time, consider yourself Nicked!