A Life Apart: Reflections on a Husband's DeploymentIn a series of commentaries for All Things Considered over the past 18 months, Holly Rossi described what life was like for the wife of an Army reservist deployed in Kuwait.
A Life Apart: Reflections on a Husband's Deployment
Holly and Rob Rossi in October 2003, upon his arrival in Baltimore for two weeks of R&R leave.
Capt. Robert Rossi in Kuwait in May 2003.
In a series of commentaries for All Things Considered over the past 18 months, Holly Rossi described what life was like for the wife of an Army reservist deployed in Kuwait.
June 23, 2003
"When I log on to my e-mail lately, I'm jammed with new messages. It's not unusual that I would be getting lots of e-mail with support from family and friends, but these messages aren't words of comfort or encouragement. They're mostly single lines or even single words from movies, songs and random inside jokes from four of Rob's childhood friends...
"Lately, I'm so grateful to be included on their inside jokes, belonging as one of the guys. Life has gotten so serious with Rob gone, and many of my e-mails and phone calls involve anxiety about really scary things, like terrorism."
Holly on the Escapism of E-mails from Rob's Friends
"The message I've gotten from the Army is that I should keep this disaster to myself, put a smile in my voice when Rob calls and tell him that everything is fine... But I'm afraid I can't do that. I don't feel right hiding this huge issue from Rob because it's too removed from the pattern of our marriage, which is honest and open communication."
"Sending the care packages had become both a habit and a hobby. They were my one physical connection to my husband, a way I knew that I could send him something, even if I knew that it was just a pack of Starbursts, that he would actually hold in his hand."
"Rob wasn't traumatized by his experience, but he was angry, angry at a lot of things but most of all at the fact that even as he was trying to put this experience behind him, he was just stuck in the Army... we won't be able to really put the war behind us until that discharge letter comes..."
"Tours are being extended and the Reserves and National Guard in particular are being tested as never before. It's no wonder, then, that Rob and his fellow freshly de-commissioned officers are wrestling with a decent measure of guilt at their newfound freedom."
Holly on the Mixed Feelings Following Rob's Discharge