I asked Jessica to blog here when her most recent book was published. She agreed–many thanks, Jess–and sent me this blog, this lovely blog. I did not force her to write nice things about me and am deeply humbled
And here’s her blog.
I was in Iraq five years ago. It’s amazing how fast that time has flown by. It sometimes feels like I just came home. Other times, it feels like it’s been a lifetime or more.
There are lots of memories from that year. Many deeply embedded that I hope I will never forget. The people. The smells. The dust and the dirt.
One memory that stands out is how Jane wrote to me. Pretty much once a week or more I’d get an email from Jane telling me about her day, her cats or what she and George had gotten into.
Her notes were a small slice of normalcy for me that year. Along with notes from Jane, my home chapter of the Austin RWA sent me care packages that they collected up at every single monthly meeting. Something as simple as bottles of shampoo that could make you feel like a woman for a brief shower. Or CDs of new music to remind you that there was an entire year passing you buy back home.
I don’t have the shampoo. And the CDs have long since been burned onto playlists that I still listen to, especially when I’m writing and need to access those memories.
But I still have Jane’s emails. They’re all in a folder on my computer – the same computer I’ve had since that tour. I haven’t reread them but I’m planning to print them out someday and put them in a folder along with letters I wrote to my husband and letters I received from other people during the war. Because those letters that Jane wrote kept me connected to life back home. They were such a simple thing but they reminded me that not everyone back home was going about their daily lives, ignoring the war.
When I came home from Iraq, Jane sent me and my family a patriotic bear. It was her way of throwing us a parade. It’s gestures like that – simple little things – that make such a big difference in the grand scheme of things.
So Jane, thank you for being there for me. Thank you for writing, for arguing with me when I stepped in it and for being such a dear friend through a particularly rough time in my life.