The whole family is going to go to Grandma's house for dinner. This place is crowded with relatives that I have not seen in a long time. Relatives make the trip here from L.A., and sometimes all the way from Georgia. We seem to have one of those families that all congregate on the holiday's, and the place we meet always seems to be at Grandma's. The kids are either outside or downstairs watching a movie or playing cards. The adults are upstairs where Grandma has the women working in the kitchen, and the men are setting up the table or down at the shop talking about their most recent projects. We all sit down to dinner together and my grandmother begins grace. However, in the midst of it, she breaks down and begins to cry quickly excusing herself from the table and leaving my grandfather to finish. .
Afterwards, as we begin to eat, we talk of things that are going with our families, usually like how Grandpa is recovering from his most recent surgery, how well work is going, etc. This year there is a new topic of conversation at the table: how Tim is doing. Tim, my older brother, joined the Army in January, and is currently serving in Iraq as part of the 82nd Airborne Division. While this was not an unexpected topic, it certainly is a sensitive and stress-worthy subject for us. While our family is no stranger to military service- my grandparents are both veterans and my grandmother's brother was killed in Viet Nam- with Tim currently in Iraq, it seems to become a different kind of story entirely. Instead of past tense, overly dramatic war stories, the family is dealing with the stress of the very present aftermath of the current situation overseas. In this I have realized that there is no easy way to deal with a loved one at war. It will always be difficult to put a loved one in harms way, especially when they are so far away.
The worry is not only over the conflict overseas, but also for the situation in America.