Spin Your Story : Farewell To Military Service & A Sister’s Wish

Guest post by Sylvia Hall.

Farewell To Military Service & A Sister’s Wish

My brother Sergeant Isaac Rodriguez has served 8 years in the United States Marine Corps. Today he bids farewell.

He is a recipient of two Purple Hearts
and memories to last a lifetime.

Soon after the dreadful 9/11 horror my baby brother, my parent’s only son, unexpectedly decided to join the Marines. I felt an enormous amount of pride but also selfishly wished someone else would volunteer instead. Someone else’s baby brother.

Basic training. When he came home we greeted him at the airport with applause and loud cheers. People gathered around us to join in and we were incredibly proud. He was different, but the same. He was stationed in California and soon after deployed for his first time. I had numerous long conversations with my Mom as I helped her prepare for his deployment. One minute I was fine and the next minute I was fighting back the “what ifs”.

Reality hit. Hard. I struggled with watching the news like a hawk to not wanting to see any of it because I would fantasize the worst. I’d talk on the phone with my family and act optimistic and brave when I sensed worry in their voice. Yet, I would hang up the phone and secretly cry my eyes out. We would send him care packages and cards wrapped with love.

Staying in touch. We would receive emails and pictures from him and it meant the world to us. We’d have three-way calls to use his time wisely. Then, he sent a long email explaining his vehicle had been hit by an improvised explosive device. He assured us he was okay. He finished his deployment and came home. We all took a deep breath.

The dreadful call. During his second deployment, Dad received a call that my brother was in the hospital. Dad was in the middle of heavy traffic and coudn’t concentrate so he memorized the number and called asking me to call them back. I remember feeling numb and my heart pounding as I dialed the number. The young Marine on the other line gave me the details and I quickly wrote them down: vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device, he was blown out of the vehicle, had a concussion, in a hospital but okay. I told the young Marine that I HAD to talk to my brother. He explained that it wasn’t possible but I was not taking no for an answer. There was no way in hell I was going to have my parents go to bed that evening without speaking to him. The Marine must have heard the fear and pain in my voice and calmly promised to do the best he could to accommodate my request. My brother was on the phone within ten long minutes. I had a long conversation with God that evening.

Third deployment. It came and went faster than the first two. It wasn’t that we were accustomed to it (you don’t get accustomed to having a loved one in harms way). I think we just dealt with it differently; more calmly and with more faith. Video chats kept us in touch and he returned home.

Not forgotten. I believe the most difficult trial for him has not been his own injuries, but loosing fellow Marines. The loss has been wide and deep. They are lost but not forgotten.

Continued pride. Many of his brothers are still in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some are home for now knowing they may be deployed again. Let’s not forget all the brave men and women who continue to serve our country.

Cause for celebration. Today marks a new beginning. He will marry his fiance within a few months and embark on a new chapter. A life that will be completely different than the last eight years. A life that is like a new canvas, waiting to be painted with brand new experiences and adventures.

My wish. Little brother, I wish you heaps of love and happiness. You have a clean slate. Take the journey of filling your heart with everything that brings you joy. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

I am extremely proud of you and love you very much!

My name is Sylvia Hall. I grew up in Texas and have lived in Washington State for ten years. I am inspired by the power of family, love and connection. I have been married to my husband Teddy for seventeen years. I love photography, crafting, delicious books and am a quote nut. As a relatively new blogger, I am enjoying the journey of expressing and excavating feelings from my heart and putting them to words.

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