December 07, 2004

Memorial services and then cake eating contests

I made it back safely this morning, finally got to enjoy that Blackhawk ride thanks to one of my ward mates who helped hook me up with a Space A flight back. I hopped off the Chopper this morning over in Camp Victory and was promptly met by 3 of my buddies. Apparently there was quite an argument over who got to be there to pick me up. We then went on to breakfast as I was STARVING, of course, everyone I knew at the chow hall was quite curious as to what happened to me LOL.
I made it back just in time for the other soldiers memorial service today, which was held by the lake here on Camp Slayer. It was a very moving and emotional thing. You know, up until this point, it was easy for me to believe that it wasn't real, that it was just a haze. Between the drugs and the pain, my thinking was rather blurry. But being there this morning, seeing and hearing, brought it all home for me. I so wanted it not to be real, why did I walk away from a wreck that killed a comrade and friend? Unfortunatly it is very real now, and now comes my real challenge, in that because the drugs have worn off, I am now deathly afraid of the nightmares I have already seen bits and pieces of. I can see them in my mind when I close my eyes, I see the truck slamming into the wall and it scares me all over again.
Today has been filled with well wishers though all over the BN, and tonight my company had a small welcome home party for me in our day room. Somehow along the way we ended up challenging two of our guys to a cake eating contest with a half of a carrot cake. OMG it was soooo funny. We have been joking with each other all day, as it has been very cathartic, but this was (Pun intended) the icing on the cake. One of them has a flight in the morning and I don't think he will be feeling too well ROFL;-D
Well, I am safe back where I belong, ready to redeploy home shortly.


JUST A MOM said...

Hey girl, you are still here because God wants it that way. Everything that happens, happens for a reason. One thing has great impact on many others, we can not know what, or who, your friends death will impact many.

When your dreams come, know they are to learn from, not to haunt you. Hang in there!
Home is just around the corner!

Sean from DocintheBox said...

Hang in there, from the surface that you're showing to us, you're handling it well. As a medical guy, I know humor is the best medicine and you have that in droves. I'll be back out there in January with a new unit that's already deployed. Likely to a different base then you are at so I can't pass greetings. Take care!

John C. A. Bambenek said...

Just wanted to wish you a speedy recovery, though I know it's unrelated to this post.

Kat said...

Well, ma'am, I for one am happy you made it back to your camp and are doing so much better.

I don't want to say anything too trite or sound like I have a bunch of answers. Nobody really does. Clinically, what you're feeling has a name, but the layman's term is "survivors guilt" and happens to a lot of people that survive a fatal incident.

I think you'r a pretty smart cookie so you know if it bugs you that keeping it in only makes it worse, so when you are ready to deal with it, I suggest a really good friend's soulder, a pint of ice cream and a box of kleenex.

Nothing like a good cry and a good talk to clear your mind. When you'r ready of course. it's always at your own pace and own need.

GrandpaT said...

Is this a great country, or what? We are so blessed to have people like you on our side!

Margaret said...

I was hoping you'd get to come to Landstuhl, here in Germany! I told my friends there about you and your blog. They were lookin' out for you.

If you do happen to come here, let me know and we'll roll out the red bath rugs for you!!

Get well soon!!

Zoe Brain said...

G'Day Sgt Liz.

Glad to see that a fellow Aussie gave you a helping hand. Ta for all you and your unit are doing over there in the Sandbox, sorry that it sucks sometimes.

Re: nightmares : if they persist and become more than a mild and very unpleasant inconvenience, get some professional help. Not all wounds can be fixed by stitches and dental work, and in Australia we'd no more leave simple PTSD untreated than we would an open leg wound. You sound as if Post Traumatic Stress Disorder won't be a problem to you, but if it is, for Gawd's sake speak up and get it fixed, no need to suffer un-neccessarily.

Should you ever end up in Canberra, Australia, please give us a contact. I know quite a few people who'd be queueing up to buy you a round.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery, sympathies about your unlucky mate, AEB

Kevin Cesarz said...

Glad you're OK. Read your blog often.
Thanks for your service.

Kevin Cesarz
Toledo, Ohio

kindy819 said...

I'm real sorry about your comrade, but I'm glad you are doing alright. You are very lucky. I'm 16 years old, and I'm thinking about doing what you're doing. Hearing about it makes me want to be over there so much to help our country. I'm still a bit young, and have lots of training to look forward to :P but I would love to be a Marine. If you have any advice or comments, let me know please! I'd love to hear from you I'm staying updated on your site. Hope you feel better soon. God Bless

~Jen~ said...

I can't imagine how difficult that memorial service must have been for you. I am so sorry for your loss.

You'll remain in my thoughts and prayers.

(I'm so glad to hear that you got that Blackhawk ride!)

AFSister said...

Hey Lizzie! Glad you're back with your unit. Bonding is a good thing. Last week I left a comment about the emotional injury setting in, and that when it did, you'll have lots of shoulders to lean on.
Well, I guess it finally hit at the memorial service. What a tough thing to come back too, but I'm sure it will help you get through the nightmares. Grieving together as a unit and seeing you as a survivor of that accident will help you all get through this difficult time.
If PTSD gets too tough on you, I would take Doc up on his offer as ask for some help. No shame in that, girl. You've been through hell and back- you earned your tears.

No_Newz said...

Nothing like familiar faces! Glad you are getting better! Thanks for your service, it means more than I can express.
Lois Lane

Eric said...

SGT, I don't know if you posted your fellow soldier's name. From the open-source news, I would guess her name is SGT Cari Anne Gasiewicz. I apologize if you didn't post her name for a special reason. I just wasn't comfortable calling her the 'other soldier in SGT Lizzie's IED incident'.

Everytime one of our servicemen and women loses a life, it's a sharp jab. As a former 96B, I guess the feeling is just a little bit sharper whenever it's an MI trooper.

Mummy said...

Well since you just HAD to go back I am glad you did make it back in time for the memorial. I know it was hard I am trying right now to write something to send to Cari's parents somehow there just isn't a card out there that will do. This wasn't exactly a Hallmark moment.

Tragic_Saturn said...

Hi -- I don't think I've ever posted here before, but I just wanted to say that I hope you're feeling better.

BurtB said...

You hang in there, lizzy girl.

and remember, if you even feel that you might want to talk to the base shrink, go ahead. There is no shame. That is what they are there for.

Ric James said...

Saw the note over on Smash's site that you'd returned - I'm glad you're back. I understand fear well you sound like you're doing all the right things to learn to work with it. All of us back here in the States are proud of you, we wish you well, and await your safe return to us here at home.


Alan Kellogg said...

Yep, another Smash referral.

Can't say much more than, remember. Remember the friends you lost, and be sure to tell your kids (if you have any) about them. Hell, be sure to let people know about them, and what they mean to you.

Never try to repress the pain. Let it be. Let it pass. It will. Not entirely, but it will ease as time goes by. Let it. As you should never try to suppress your pain, neither should you pick at the scabs. Let yourself heal.

Good luck to you and your friends and comrades. You and your work are more appreciated than you know.

Dann said...

Sincerly and humbly.....thank you for your service.

Inbound via Instapundit


Anonymous said...

Good job Sergeant, you make us proud. Now is the time to take care of yourself, your soldiers are depending on it.
- Sgt Hook

Prodigal Son said...

As one of the people that got to pick Lizzie up from the Heli-pad when she got back the other morning, I can attest to the fact that she was still Lizzie! High good spirits, sarcastic, and happy to be back. I would have to say she needs a shrink for a second notion on that last one but ... at least she is now here again with her extended family, people who care bout her and love her.
Lizzie like I told you when we brought you back .. I am glad you are back with us, and the same old you! ;)
You know I love you and I am always here for you dear!

Marguerite said...

Lizzie-- I almost went into the military many years ago. I didn't do it. I am a mom of eight kids now and I live in Alaska. I read your blog and I imagine myself doing the things you do and I cannot fathom doing it with your panache. I admire you and I am grateful that people like you are serving and supporting each other.

Trouble in Shangri La said...

I am in awe of your bravery. You may not see it as such, but you are one of the bravest people I've encountered online. To keep one's sense of humor in the face of circumstances that would destroy a lesser person is an amazing thing.

KLaManche said...

Sgt. Lizzie -
I wanted to thank you for providing insight into the final hours of Sgt. Cari Gasiewicz's life. My family and I are very close with her family. We grew up together, went to the same church and spent countless summers on the softball fields with our parents coaching us. Your entries have provided me with a bit of solace - knowing that she didn't suffer long. I also appreciate your candid accounts of the various memorial services that were conducted on behalf of Cari. I know that Cari's family truly appreciates all of the love and support that the Army has provided them during this tremendously painful time in their lives. She will be sadly missed by all who knew her. I hope you continue to recover in such a speedy manner. Stay strong! On behalf of myself and the rest of my family, thank you for serving our country. Safe travels and come home soon.

SGT RMM said...

Hiya! I read this part of your blog quite some time after the
IED incident. You spoke of nightmares and such. These are feelings of PTSD. I highly recommedn that you find and safeguard all of your medical information related to this event.

When you do get out of the Army, you should really get to the DAV or VFW and have them take your info down, so you can file a cliam with the Veterans Administration for compensation. I was retired from the service due in part to PTSD related to a Service incident.

I got help and treatment, you will also need this. Do not try to cover it up, as it will only worsen. I wish you the very best, and hope you get home to the World in one piece.

Sincerely Yours,

Sergeant RM, USA, (Ret.)

powder said...

Damn I remember when this happened. We almost got blown up by a VBIED a few weeks earlier, in the same area as your incident took place. That spot was a cat1 hotzone for IEDs and such.