The sisterhood

This story on The Daily Beast today makes me so proud to be a milspouse — even prouder considering that my friends Alison Buckholz and Lori Volkman are quoted in it!

Conventional wisdom might have held that milspouses would be quick to condemn the alleged actions of SSG Robert Bales and likewise make us unsympathetic to the plight of his wife, Karilyn. But we’re not conventional, are we? Instead we’ve circled the wagons around a woman who is very much still one of our own. We’ve put ourselves in her shoes, done the “there but for the grace of God go I” thing and stepped up to let her know that, as bad as everything in her world is right now, she’s still one of us. And we’ve got her back.

My friend Lori, on her brilliant blog Witty Little Secret (if you’re not a regular reader of hers — and you should be — you may remember my guest blog on her site just before Christmas) wrote a beautiful open letter to Kari Bales a few days ago. Things have taken off since then, with milspouses the world over chiming in to let Kari know that she’s still in the sisterhood.

But really, why wouldn’t we be supportive? Kari Bales, like so many of us, has slogged through the loneliness, exhaustion and worry of deployment after endless deployment. Like so many of us, she’s gotten up each morning to change the diapers and wipe the snotty noses, maintaining peripheral awareness of the war that could change her world at any second. She’s probably sat alone in her house in the wee hours and wondered if the man she sent off to war will be the same man, psychologically speaking, she welcomes home, or if she’ll get to welcome him home at all. But where the rest of us got “yes” or “no” answers to all that pondering, Kari just gets a question mark, likely to be followed by many more months of question marks. She now finds herself in the unfathomable position of having to defend the man she loves, the father of her children, to an entire world that seems to want to see him condemned.

I. Cannot. Even. Imagine.

But I’m heartened that in this huge, virtual world, where most of us live too far from her to spin up the FRG and bring her casseroles and offers to babysit, we’re doing what we can to show support to our sister.

Chin up, Kari. It has to get better — someday.



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