Well, my old nemesis is back. I am exhausted, running on empty, but my mind won’t settle. I let my mind wander down the labyrinth never knowing which twist or turn I will follow.
Tonight, my mind turns to December of 2009. Shane came home with his meager belongings from Fort Benning. Home. Shane was home for ten days before heading to Fort Campbell to become part of the legacy of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), “Bushmasters” Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment.
Shane came home with freshly washed uniforms and linens, but I needed to rewash everything. I needed to send Shane off with uniforms that smelled like home; I know it was silly, but it was important to me.
As I was separating Shane’s articles of clothing (I have no idea why I needed to separate anything because everything was a shade of green), I couldn’t believe my eyes. I picked up a piece of cotton. At first, I thought it was a hand towel, but then I realized that it was Shane’s bath towel. And then my eyes welled up with tears; I couldn’t believe that the Army expected my Shane Michael to dry off with a ratty towel. I would have never kept this towel, it would not have passed muster, even with my rags.
I was offended, I was insulted, I was saddened that was what Shane would have to use to dry himself after a shower. Oh, but wait, back then I still assumed Shane would be in a position that he could shower.
A shower to me is an every day experience. A time to wake up, a time to contemplate, a time to tell myself that everything will be okay.
When Shane was in Afghanistan, a shower was a luxury to the Bushmaster brothers. Maybe, Shane thought that towel was a luxury. I never got a chance to ask Shane about the towel situation, but there are a lot of things I will never get a chance to ask Shane.
So, the next time you are stepping out of the shower and wrapping yourself in the luxury of an Egyptian cotton bath towel, let your mind relax. Take a moment to swaddle your mind with the knowledge that our military personnel make many sacrifices to help maintain and secure our freedom in this land that we call, “the home of the brave.”
Shane, I hope you are swaddled in luxury in the afterlife.
I will continue to “put one foot in front of the other.”
Always and forever,
Shane’s Mammy and Beth’s Momma