Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Place to call Home

My name is Josie and I live in a cracker box. More accurately I live in a large house with ten other families. There is no privacy, no quiet, and no room. We are all living on post at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. We each have a different story to tell. A different background. A different outlook on life. We are wives, mothers, soldiers, patients, daughters, and sons. We are your neighbors and your friends. Though we may have our differences, we are all united by one common trait... we are all a result of the war in Iraq.

In October of 2005 my fiance deployed with the Minnesota National Guard. After spending six months in Camp Shelby, Mississippi his unit was ready to head to Iraq. On March 10th, 2006 we were married in New Orleans. After only spending one week as a married couple he was sent to Iraq. Eight months passed. November of 2006 finally came and I was able to see my new husband for two whole weeks of R&R. With a hug and a kiss we said goodbye yet again as he went back to Iraq to finish his tour. Neither of us knowing that in only two weeks our lives would be turned upside down.

On December 19th , 2006 J.R. was injured by a roadside bomb. More specifically an EFP (explosive formed projectile). He lost his right arm below the elbow, his left ring finger, and has lost a lot of function in his left hand due to severe nerve damage. After being medevacked to the green zone he was patched up just enough to stop the bleeding and prevent infection. J.R. was then taken to Germany where he spent a few days. Finally on December 24th, 2006 he was brought to Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) where he was given a room in Ward 57.

Christmas day 2006 I was finally able to be at his bedside. In one second my world had been completely changed. I hadn't slept in almost a week. I was emotionally drained and numb to everything that was happening. There was nothing I could do but sit by his bed and watch as he dozed in and out of a drug induced sleep.

It has now been four months since his injury and life is still not back to normal. I'm searching for a place to call home. A place to say is mine. I've found that at the Fisher House where I have one small room and one small bathroom. It may not be much but it's my own little cracker box to call home.


Tracy said...

Hi Josie! Thanks for sharing your perspective with us. As a person who needs a little time alone every day to stay sane, I'm not sure I'd survive in your cracker box!!

Jason said...

Hey guys! I look forward to hearing more from you guys as you continue on this journey. Stay strong and we will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

ChristianLib said...


Your courage is to be saluted. Know that you and your husband are in our concern and our prayers.

I served in Vietnam, and now have a Nephew doing a second tour in Iraq, and have some understanding of your situation.

Peace and care.

Anonymous said...

hi josie, nice to meet you. i'm linda from glidden, son is in iraq til 12-1-07(army active duty)
please know that i send support your way through my prayers. god bless you and my best to your husband on his road to recovery.

Caty said...


Lately, I have been hearing a lot about soldiers who are at WR who have been, well, abandoned by their wives. I still don't understand that (to put it politely).

JR is blessed to have you by his side. I hope that what the two of you are going through will only make your love for each other stronger.

Both of you be and stay strong! You are in our thoughts and prayers.