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Has War Apathy Set In?

written by Jennifer See
on August 30, 2010

A friend of my daughter's came over to play the other day. I am friendly with the mom — not great, let's-go-on-vacation-together friends, but good enough where we tell each other things about our families and schedules and keep each other up-to-date about life in general.

After dropping the girl off at home, I got an email late that night from her mother, saying, "Why didn't you tell me your husband was deployed? Please let me know if there is anything you need, at anytime." Obviously my daughter said something to her daughter about her daddy being gone, a detail I had failed to mention in the past few weeks.

Oops. My bad.

I think with this being my family's fifth deployment in six years, I really haven't given it much thought, or at least, not as much thought and at the same level as I have in the past. With the war raging on and no seeming end in sight, I'm almost embarrassed to say that I really don't talk about my husband's deployment to many people.

It's groundhog day-ish, at least on my end, and I'm sure, even 1,000 times more so on his.

When I do tell people that my husband is deployed, I feel like lately a glazed look falls over their faces. They just don't know what to say anymore. Maybe that's why I keep it so quiet, because after nine years of these soldiers going overseas for multiple tours, what is there really left to say?

My responses to people's reactions, anyway, are getting a smidge too flip. One neighbor asked how I liked being a single mom. I smiled big and said, "It is the best!" She wasn't sure if I was serious or kidding, and couldn't skedaddle away from me quick enough.

Another person asked why he had to go overseas again. My response? "Uh, because there is a war going on?"

I think the reality of it is that we're all tired. We're tired of saying goodbye, tired of waiting for people to come home, tired of figuring out what to say or what to do for those enduring yet another family separation. I don't need another casserole; what I need is for my family to be together again, without another deployment lurking around the corner.

So we sit quietly, and we wait. And wait some more. And we avoid telling someone that our spouse is gone because maybe, just maybe, living in denial helps us cope with the grim reality of the situation. And besides, many of us are simply running out of witty comebacks.

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