I remember the second night James was home. He was asleep; I was watching t.v. A story of a fallen Marine came on; his grieving widow (she couldn't have been more than 27 years old) was telling his story. And I fell apart. I almost always cry when I hear of such a death. I cry out of empathy. I cry out of pride. I cry because someone should. That night I was crying out of all of the above - and for the first time in a year, out of guilt. Mine, after all, had come home alive.
It was one (in the growing list) of feelings I didn't expect to have when he returned - an almost incredulousness and surprise that he made it out of his situation alive. I had been bracing myself for a year. And when he called from Germany, I was washed with relief. And then - then here I was - with him lying in the bed next to me and I was watching someone else's tale of grief and sacrifice. And I couldn't help it; I felt guilty.
I feel more grateful than guilty now. But I still cry. And today I cried again when a fellow blogging friend told us that her husband's good friend was killed on Sunday (read her "all gave some; some gave all" post). I didn't know him. But I'm proud of him. And my heart is heavy for everyone who loved him and knew him.