Losses and Gains During a Reunion
--- Guest post by Cynthia Stein-Rader retired US Army and military wife
My husband LTC Troy Rader had been deployed many times, but this was the first time he was leaving me and our then 3 1/2 year old son behind. Until that night in October 2010, we had not told Jason of the deployment. We had watched too many children becoming depressed months ahead of time in anticipation of a parent leaving. That night, at the motor pool, we told our son "daddy is going to Afghanistan to save soldiers". In a strange way we knew he understood. He didn't cry, he smiled and told his daddy he loved him.
Our long awaited reunion!
That year was tough for other reasons because my parents’ health had started to decline and we were at Fort Drum and they were in Virginia. I was now, mommy, daddy and caregiver. Many long drives to Virginia in good and bad weather made me appreciate how much I missed my husband. He was the support network, super dad and super husband.
As the year went by, my father's health worsened. But some good news had arrived. I was in Virginia when I got word that my husband would be returning earlier than expected with the 10th Mountain Division Headquarters. My dad seemed stable enough for us to go back to New York to welcome our hero home. I dressed in Red White and Blue and Jason had his welcome home sign. We were so excited. When I saw my husband the emotions ran strong. When he picked up our son I felt a sense of ease and tears rolled. I stayed home for two weeks and told my husband I was headed back to see my dad. He said he would come down soon. My father adored Troy. Unfortunately it was bitter sweet as my father passed before he could see Troy return. One of the last words my father asked where Troy was. I told him, that he had made it home from Afghanistan, that we were safe and that he will take care of us. That moment made me so grateful for all that we had and that my husband was home with us, safe and sound.
**Tune In to the premiere of "Coming Home" on June 13 at 10/9c on Lifetime.