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Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

CHRISTMAS WISH |

December 24, 2009

CHRISTMAS WISH
Name: RN Clara Hart
Posting date: 12/24/09
Stationed in: a civilian military hospital in the U.S.
Milblog: From Our Perspective
Email: clarahart2@yahoo.com

Who would swipe a Christmas tree from a wounded soldier? That was the question we were asking ourselves at work last week. The parents of one of our wounded had placed a small artificial tree in his room. Frequently the only lights to be seen were the glow from the heart monitor and the twinkling lights on the tree. This particular patient lies in a quiet slumber waiting for his brain to wake up and take notice of his surroundings. He has lain that way for weeks.

One morning we noticed the little tree was gone, and we began a feverish search. As the other nurses and I stomped around the unit muttering under our breath “Who in the hell would appropriate a Christmas tree from a wounded guy?” his mother sat quietly holding his hand. The next day his parents brought in another tree complete with lights, garland and ornaments. As we expressed our outrage and offered our apologies his mom said, “There is obviously someone who needed it more than we did.”

Last week the family was told "Santa" wanted their Christmas list. They were handed a blank form and given 24 hours to fill it out. Initially they refused to write anything on it so we jokingly threatened them, telling them if they didn’t we would and heaven knows what could end up on it then. They laughed, mentioning several things, but were unwilling to write them down, saying over and over, “We don’t need anything."

One of the other nurses finally took the paper and began to write. Gift certificates for restaurants (so they wouldn’t have to eat fast food all the time), gift certificates for Target and Wal-Mart (everyone needs toiletries), home cooked meals. It was a collaborative effort, and once we had the list started we left it with them so they could add more items.

The following day they handed it back to us. As they walked away we looked at their wish list. The very first thing on it left us looking at each other with aching hearts. They had written, “Prayers so our son wakes up on Christmas Day.”


Comments

I'll prayer for their soldier

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/28/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

http://www.thunderrun.us/2009/12/from-front-12282009.html

Thank you, Clara. Here is to a better year with less heartbreak for all.

Thank You again Clara.

Wow It often amazes me to see how selfless and giving some people can be. I am truly humbled by the requests of this family, it does not surprise me that with a family like this that this young man would do something as selfless as becoming a soldier. I think we could all take a lesson from this family and their priority's, I think the world would be a much better place if more people had these values.

Clara,
Your writing has been making this old retiree tear up for years every time I read your postings.
Your patients are very lucky to have you, and those like you, taking care of them.
Thank you.

Amazing story! Hearing this brings tears to my eyes. I will keep this soldire and his family in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing.

What a heartbreaking but also uplifting story. To think there is someone low enough to steal a Christmas tree form a wounded soldier is depressing but the parents attitude that someone needed it more than they did if amazing. They have gone through so much to have that outlook.

I have a friend who lost his home.What little savings he had, which was for his move to another country, he paid off debts that were made under his name by a former roommate.He now is scraping by as a live-in au pair taking care of four kids.I was wondering if there was an organization that would help him out for the holidays?

It is amazing how much we take for granted.

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