The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

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.

IT WAS A TUESDAY |

September 11, 2012

Name: RN Clara Hart
Stationed in: a civilian military hospital in the U.S.
Email: clarahart2@yahoo.com

Eleven years ago today my life and many others changed in ways we did not want and will never be able to forget. Last night sleep came fitfully, filled with nightmares of death and destruction, and I was up early this morning. I made it out of the house, to the gym then off for a long, hard run, all in an attempt to block the memories.

I thought it didn’t hurt as much this year; I went to the memorial last night, sat on my friend’s bench and felt empty. No tears, no sorrow, simply empty. I thought I was better, remembering the first time I walked into the Pentagon Memorial with friends Troy and Christine by my side. I wouldn’t have made that visit had they not been with me. That day pain brutal and savage attacked me, wrenching sobs from deep inside. Yesterday’s visit was bleak and cold.

I’ve devoted the past eight years to taking care of our war wounded troops and their families because of this day. It’s been my attempt to give back to those who serve our country. Now my heart is scarred with memories, of lives lost and forever changed by war. A mind damaged, slow to heal, I’m on hiatus from being a wounded warrior caretaker, a job that was once my solace. 

A friend from FDNY checked in this morning. A military co-worker emailed. A former patient’s family member called. Suddenly I am no longer empty, the tears now welling in my eyes, the pain, once sharp and destructive, is now an ache I cannot get rid of.

It was a Tuesday, a bright, cloudless clear-blue-sky day. A day exactly like today.

Comments

I knew you would be here today, Clara. Time does pass and your feelings seem to be changing too. You have given so much and it is only right that you step back a bit to care for yourself. You are also a wounded warrior. Healing takes many forms and its own time.

I have read so many of your entries over the years, struggling to give the best care you could to patients and families alike.

Thank you for checking in today. Sending love and support your way always.

Thank you Clara HEART for all you do!!!!!!!

Clara you have been through a lot and served this country at it's best. Im sorry you have to relive the memories sometimes, and that you are scarred for life about war. War is a terrible thing, and you are very strong person to go through it like this. Blocking the memories is very difficult also.

That is very thoughtful of you to devote the past eight years to help wounded warriors and their families. You do so much for others, but you need time to care for yourself too. Because you help wounded warriors all the time, but forget to help yourself. The memories will always be there, but healing will take time.

Thank you for serving this country and god bless!!!!

Clara

First, thank you for doing what you do.

God has placed you where you are for a reason. Give your pain to him, and continue to work through Him.

God Bless!

Clara,
You do an amazing thing by taking care of people whos lifes have been affected by the war.You are a strong person, I admire what you do. If you ever doubt it remember God put you where you are, and with him beside you all things are possible.

Clara,you have made a difference to the lives of the soliders in the most effective way possible, I take my hat off to you.

It's hard to deal with tragedies. Sometimes you feel everything at once, other times you think you should feel something but like you said, all it feels is empty. Then wouldn't you know it, everything comes out when you least expect it. Either way, I'm sorry for the grief you are enduring and I also appreciate all you have done and are doing for this country.

Dear Clara, What an Angel you are! My heart swells for you! Although part of me believes you were there for a reason, and I sure you touched many with your caring heart, mind, and soul. I bow to you...with all of the appreaciation and thoughtfulness I can share. I am in college now to become a RN - I could only hope to be just like you! You ARE AN ANGEL sent from above! Bless You!

Clara,

I would first like to say thank you for all that you have done to give back to our guys. I honestly do not have the strength or courage to do what you do. Secondly, and maybe I'm just talking out of my backside here, I think that feeling empty about something so significant is worse than feeling the pain from it. That being said, I hope you are well and that I will see more posts from you in the future.

Thank You and God Bless

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