Jun 26, 2007

Well, I did ask....

While visiting Future, I read a post where he was interviewed, and in my comments I said I would like to be interviewed as well. We all do this crazy things from time to time, so here are the interview questions sent to me. Gosh, I'm so nervous!

1. Let's first address the painful. You lost your Son in the Iraqi war. You wrote a beautiful tribute here, starting with your pregnancy with your Son, and ending it with "But, one thing I can't do Travis, I can't say Goodbye. Not yet, babe...Seems just yesterday I said hello." If you wish, will you describe your feelings in the hours, days, and weeks immediately after you got the news, how have you coped since, and what you would tell any other parents in such an awful position?

Its a feeling of unreality. A feeling that this is not real, none of this is happening. Inside you are screaming so loud, such a primal thing, but outwardly you really don't know what to do. You want to run, and keep running, hoping somehow you can escape the reality that is being forced on you. But I had EJ. I think that is what kept each of us sane. From truly going ''away from here". A few people stopped by to pay their condolences, the local Foreign Legion called me every hour to ask me to do this, and would I be in this, and they were kind, but I couldn't make decisions. The local VFW also were kind, and made requests for my appearances at this or that, and I kept saying, I didn't do anything. My son, my son is the one who gave his life.

At night, I walked and cried. I was staying with my son and his girlfriend at the time, and because I don't like people to see me cry, I did my crying and walking at night. I arranged for a local newstation to come out and talk with us because I wanted all of Travis' friends to know. I wanted the world to know of this young man's passing. I guess I still do. I kept thinking that God had made a terrible mistake, that he was supposed to take me! I kept thinking each night I would wake up in the morning and it would all have been a nightmare.

As I was not the surviving next of kin, I had no funeral to arrange, nothing of that sort to deal with. I had no say so over how the funeral was arranged period. I waited for phone calls. For when he would arrive at Dover Air Force Base. I spoke with my daughter-in-law, 7 months pregnant, who was an absolute mess, and tried to be comforting. She was upset because the crazy church in out west was going to protest his funeral, and I said, "They're crazy. What would Travis do? He would moon them, right? Throw rocks at them." She said, yes, that's what he would probably do. So, we never saw the protesters. I won't describe the wake. Or the funeral.

Someone in the neighborhood brought us a card, and a cake. Jonathon came by on several occasions and that was comforting, but he too looked so lost. And then he was gone. To San Diego, and then he was gone. My sister died. My son's girlfriend took her life.

I haven't coped well. I tried grief therapy, I tried counseling, I've tried a lot of things. But just seeing a box of Keebler Club Crackers, hearing one song by Green Day, driving by Macdonald's and seeing the play area, I immediately see that young boy right there, smiling up at me. Advice? For other parents going through the same thing? Connect with others like you, start a support group in your home, reach out to those going through what you are going through. You have to be able to talk to someone about how you feel, how much it hurts, and so do they.

I've sent flowers to the families of local fallen soldiers, to the funeral homes, after reading their obituaries in the newspapers, and then sat back and wondered what the family thought when they saw those flowers? Someone surely said, "Who's that?" "I don't know!" "Might be someone Uncle Robert works with."

And I thank every one I see in the military for his service to the country. Its the least I can do.

2. In this post, you wrote: "I wish I had been in Arlington when Bush made his big speech. I would have brought a big bag of dog turds and chucked everyone of them at him." Were you able to have 30 minutes face to face with the President, what would you tell him, or ask him, and would you have the press cover that thirty minutes, or would you wish it to stay private? Two parter here...what's your feelings about Cindy Sheehan, her struggle, and the general way she handled it?

Let's start with Cindy Sheehan first. At the beginning of the war, the woman was pretty much treated as a joke. An anti-American, unhinged by the grief of her son, and now, that she has given up, washed her hands of the whole mess, she isn't thought about at all. But, how many people have come over to her way of thinking? Ummmmmmm....a lot! The way she went about it, parking her ass outside the White House, and then outside the ranch, made a statement of sorts, but one more of dogged determination than anything else. Had she been able to stand at a podium, composed, well-dressed, and state her case, I believe she would have made a greater impact. As much as I hate to admit it, in today's visual world, wandering around looking like a homeless person, isn't going to get you much attention. It's cruel, but its true. She needed someone who knew about the media, the ins and outs of it, to help get her message across. She needed a Press Agent. Or at least someone who could pass for a press agent. And, I will admit, there are aspects of the Cindy Sheehan story that are just too painful for me to look at too closely right now.

If I had 30 minutes to speak with George Bush face-to-face, what would I say? The press could be there, I don't care, I really don't give a shit. I'm not sure I know 30 minutes worth of curse words, but I would start out by saying "What the fuck is your fucking problem? Are you insane or are you just stupid? Do you know there is such a thing as foreign policy, and diplomatic relations? That sometimes, that is the best way to go? That you don't always start with the big guns first and then decide to sit down and have a chat?

What else did you do besides few lines of coke? Did you happen to drop a few hits of acid, and now you're stuck in a He-man flashback? Do you realize that you have made the US the biggest target for terrorists ever....ever? Canada would probably like to take a few pot shots at us right now, you stupid motherfucker, fool, knotheaded, Texas redneck!! Is there anything that comes out of your mouth that isn't a lie? Would you be willing to take a lie detector test? Its one of those things the cops know, you've seen them on TV...God, how did you get elected? Why haven't the people stormed the White House with pitchforks, and clubs, while you climb on the roof and get struck by lightning or some such shit?

Did you really ever go to school? Or are you taking crash courses here at the White House somewhere? Would you like to see a picture of my son? Do you know why he went to Iraq? So his 4 year old son wouldn't have to! Even he saw the long term effects of your idiotic war on terror in Iraq. He was a corpsman, supposedly protected under the Geneva Convention. You know, Mr. Bush, if you would quit toting your bible and actually read the damn thing, you might see that to be the man you claim to be, you need to learn humility. Like saying I fucked up. I fucked up big time. And I'm sorry. If you were a good man, like you think you are, you would step down, and take that thing you call Cheney with you. And the rest of your crew. Let the aides handle it for awhile. God knows, they can't do worse.

You know France still might have that Guillotine. A little oil, hell, it would work just fine. Actually, what you need Mr. Bush, is a good old-fashioned, down-home, southern style ass-whooping. Come on, there's some boys out here I want you to meet.....

My God, what were you thinking? In my eyes, you have become no better than the infamous dictator you sought so desperately to condemn.

3. In your profile, you wrote: "About me? I'll let you figure that one out." But it turns out that hunk of a Dish repairman guy isn't married - the wedding ring is just to keep the wolves at bay, and he shows definite interest, but he says "I can't seem to figure you out." What would you tell him to keep the spark smoldering?

Not much, because when he says, "I can't seem to figure you out." in my mind I see DO NOT PASS GO DO- NOT COLLECT TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS and a whole host of similar conversations. "What does that mean?" "You're always so sarcastic!!" "Are you laughing at me?" "You want to do what!!! Now! In the car?" I would probably say, in my most sincere voice, "Bye, bye, now, and don't let the door hit ya' where the good lord split ya!" I don't want to own the guy, I just want to use him for a few hours or so...maybe twice a week. Oh, how shocking!!!!

4. You are one of the most talented story tellers I've ever read. Pick what you think are your five "best works", and give a brief explanation for each as to what your criteria/decision making process was. Please give links to the posts you choose.

Wow, thanks for the compliment. I needed that. My five best pieces...Gosh, they are all so good...hey, don't throw rocks, that's not nice! You could poke somebody's eye out doing that shit!! Let's see.

1.The Family Christmas Tree I chose this one because it makes me laugh, and brings back some of those great memories. And its true. The writing could be wittier, and just re-reading it, I can see a re-write in the making, but this will do fine. I still picture the man on his front porch in his underwear, now the proud owner of a truck load of new cats.

2.1996 This post is actually a composite of several different experiences I had during the years between 1996-1998. When I finally moved in with my dad it was in June of 1998, and I had just gotten out of this relationship. I choose this post because it actually might help someone in a similar situation. Give them a much needed wake-up call. The whole sordid tale would take many pages to write, and ties into one of my other choices.

3.She needed fresh air This post actually scared me! And I was there. Everyone has a demon or two in their past. Some secret, some skeleton hanging in some family closet. This was mine, or one of mine. It didn't occur to me until a few days later that I once told a therapist , referring to my abusive relationship, "Jesus, I lived with the prowler, the man outside...!" That, my friends, is what is called some heavy shit.

4.Twas the Day after Christmas I picked this one, well, because I like it. And, to me, its a pretty real portrait of how most adults feel the day after Christmas. We plan this huge event, the most extravagant day of the year, and the morning after, we kind of look around, and think, What happened? And, invariably, some parent will say, "You're bored?!? Why aren't you playing with all that new shit you got yesterday from Santa? I mean stuff? You know how hard Santa had to work for that shit, I mean stuff?"

5.Things I have Said to My Children I chose this one because it was a very simple concept, but brought back a ton of memories, all of them funny. When I forced my oldest son to read it, and he got to the part about the four wheeler catching on fire, he became the 14 year old kid again, launching into yet another version of the whole escapade.

5. Everybody has those "I can't believe I just did that!" social moments in their life, when they want to just crawl in a hole and die. Describe three of detail, please.

1.When I was 21, it was like me and a group of my friends? And we were hanging out and stuff? Like having a good ole time, smoking reefer, listening to music, busting our eardrums, man, acting sooooo fucking stupid, man, it was unreal, and then I turned to this guy, and like, I told him, you know, just joking, you know, to kiss my ass, right? So, he breaks all bad and shit and says, "Well, make it bare...". So, man, I can't believe this, but you know what I did? Like I did, man! Just yanked them drawers down, and, man there was my ass, just shining. It was so freaking cool! Ya should a seen it, man! His eyes was bugging out, and, course, I had been, like sunbathing every spare moment I could find, you know, with the baby oil and iodine, and there was this black light burning, I mean, man, you had to have a black light back in the days, so's anyway, I guess my ass pretty much glowed! So's, anyway, I like turned to the guy next to me and, I says, man this is funny, I says, "Your turn!" And , damn, if it didn't go around the whole room that night. Damn if we didn't all see some assholes , I mean, for real! Shit, yeah, everybody dropped their drawers. Man, we all showed our asses, and, like we saw a few nuts, too. And I ain't talking crazies, either. It wasn't until the next day, you know, that I got to thinking that, wow, everybody saw my ass last night. But it was cool, cause like all everybody said was, "Wow, you have really got a white ass, girl..."

2. I was on vacation with my oldest sister. She was 15 years older than I, so there was somewhat of a generation gap between us. We went to a club I had heard of, and she immediately hooked up with the this tall silver tongued stranger, the ballroom dancer, the mysterious James Bond type of guy. Along comes Mr. Sailor Boy and sits down beside me, and after a few drinks we decide to take off. I tell my sister, and she said, "Well, I'll see you back at the hotel." So, Sailor boy and I spend a some time getting to know one another back at his motel for an hour or two, and talking and whatnot, and he takes me back to the hotel. I reflect on my wicked ways, hoping my morally correct sister can't tell by looking at me that I've led myself astray, again.

I decided to pop in the bed before she gets home, but too late, there's the key in the door, and her smiling face. Which suddenly looks puzzled. "I just got here myself, "I say, to fill the silence, smiling brightly. "So, then why is your blouse on inside out?" she asks. Busted.

3.When I worked at the hospital, a good friend who was an RN, and I, were responsible for transporting a patient to the third floor. We had his paperwork in hand, maneuvered his bed out of the room on our floor without killing anyone, and moved out the unit doors, stopping at the first elevator we came to. After much turning, and haggling, while a small crowd gathered to watch the show, we finally got him backed up as far as possible in the elevator, but the end of the bed, and his feet were still sticking out the elevator doors. We did some more maneuvering, but there they were, sticking out the elevator doors. I was somehow terrified the doors are going to close, the elevator go up, and poor Mr. So-and-So would be on the third floor and his feet would still be on the second floor, and we'd be responsible for this poor ill man becoming footless. Well, maybe not me, because I wasn't an RN. Insane, yes, but the mind does run on at these times.

Finally, a helpful voice from the crowd. "You guys know this elevator doesn't go to the third floor, right?" Across the bed, my friend and I look at one another, poor Mr. So-and-So, lying there in a stupor, his feet sticking out of the elevator doors, and both said "Shit" at the same time. What did we do? What could we do? We maneuvered him down the hall to the main elevators, faces on fire, calling each other stupid idiots, and finally transferred our patient to the third floor. The little crowd waved us on our way, one man laughing so hard we hoped he would choke and have to be admitted. I'm glad someone spoke up though, or we might still be there.

So, there are my answers. This was quite the challenge. And I appreciate the time it took for Future to come up with these questions.

Do YOU want to be interviewed?

Interview rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview
someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them
five questions.


Scott from Oregon said...

OK, since you did so well at answering, maybe I should give you a chance at asking...

But I'll need a week to finish up pending stuff...

The Future Was Yesterday said...

Very, very, few people have been able to make me scream, cry, and laugh in the span of a half hour.

You are one of the very few!

Grab on to something. Anything. Just hold on.

And know you're not alone.

Mary said...

That was a delightful interview. Like TUA says it takes you through the whole range of emotion. He's the best interviewer.
We got through his questions now we have sweat coming up w/some of our own.

dawn said...

This was a great interview. TUA is a great interviewer. The one thing I agree with most is that you are one of the best storytellers I know. Thanks for letting us in.

Queenie said...

You move me so much, my sisters son has just come home, they no longer want him. Suppose it was only a knee he lost, but he has a wife and three children to support.
Job prospect here in the UK nil, help from the Army nil.
Reading your post he's lucky, but my how I want to shout. My sister is without a computer, but I know if she had a chance she would be here!!

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Oh debbi,

I agree with every thing said - you tell it straight from the heart, girl - you are one of the most amazing women I know. We all love you, who couldn't?

just me said...

If my son had lived, Queenie, he would have lost an a hand and a leg. Is your sister's son part of the British or American military? Our Jr. Senator, Jim Webb, is doing his damnedest to get a bill through to improve the benefits for returning vets, including the GI bill, medical care and what-not. I am so sorry for your sister's son. But, I am so glad he came back alive. I am so glad.

just me said...

Carol, you do make me blush...oh, shoot, it weren't nothin'...gosh darn...I don't see myself as amazing, I see myself as middle-aged.

just me said...

Future, wouldn't you really like to see old George, climbing to roof of the white house, an angry mob dressed in rags, carrying pitchforks, shovels, sticks, ready to carry his ass off in a cart? And Cheney, too? But, then they would have to cart off Miss Goody-2-Shoes, as well. Hell, they could clean house.

just me said...

Don't worry, Scott, it will take me a week to come up with my questions...I must give this great thought.

Babzy said...

Deb - I now feel like I've known you for years and it's such a privilege. Thank you for allowing us to peer into your life and thoughts. You've been through so much and yet you still keep going. You are a true inspiration.

Enemy of the Republic said...

You are awesome. A post like this deserves a better comment. I will return. Then I will decide about the questions!

just me said...

You guys are two nice. Dan deserves the credit. He asks good questions.

Queenie said...

The British Army, like you said yes he is lucky, I am so glad he's come home. My sister is doing everything she can but its only a small house, and with 5 more living there its pretty full.
We are a close family so I'm sure we will work things out!

Babzy said...

Note to Queenie: If your nephew can swing a hammer or any other trade he would be hired immediately in BC and other parts of Canada. We're very short of trades people now.

Hell if I could swing a hammer they'd hire me too. Doesn't matter that I will be 59 this year. haha

DivaJood said...

Powerful post, thank you. And yes, it made me laugh, scream and cry. Big thank you to Thorne for directing me here!