in anger I heard them say” This a line from an Oasis song and one of my favorite bands. Apropos of not looking back….I went to see American Sniper. My husband as some of you may know spent Many many years covering the Middle East for an American News Network. The toll it takes portrayed brilliantly by Bradely Cooper based on the real life character Chris Kyle had me in tears throughout. Why? because after all these years after 9/11 we as a nation changed and it changed hundreds if not thousands of lives in fields far and away. The law of physics states that for every action there is an equal reaction – So here’s mine:
This movie was the first war movie to touch on the subject of how the wife and family deal with the absence of a loved one in harms way. But it also touched just- on how war affects relationships and the heavy toll it takes on both sides to sustain hope, love, faith and normalcy in what in reality feels like an imitation of life.
Being a Journalist covering wars or just bearing witness to them via a lens is tantamount to being a soldier albeit a soldier in the war on Free Speech whether through words or pictures or both journalists and their families too, suffer from battle fatigue.
But very few films or books talk about the family side. So I want to tell you that My story Is the Story that needs to be told but isn’t because its Not Sexy- its real and raw and ugly.
When your husband who is in a war zone calls you – you can only talk for a few minutes at a time. I would have been lost without email (at least we journalists had that). Still one begins to feel estranged and that estrangement becomes anger and then rage and finally the feeling of being and nothingness begins to consume you.
Being a single mother to any man who is in Harms way is hard but harder still when raising children. I raised 2 sons by myself. My sons paid the price of Not having their father around like other kids did. But mostly they had to grow up faster to fill their fathers shoes. I never put pressure on them and thank God they lived a privileged life financially- but that is when they also learned at an early age, that Money does not buy happiness.
When you’re married- but not- as one woman pointedly told me – you become invisible – your married friends evaporate overnight. You are the third wheel. And so it was the gay community in Miami Beach that supported me for most of my husbands long absences. I was an outcast and my children God bless them had good friends to support them but those – same friends (their parents rejected me).
In American Sniper Sienna Miller is always So sympathetic and loving. She never shouts or raises her voice when telling her husband how she’s lost him to the war and how she is all alone to raise the children. So I OBJECT to this false portrayal of how a wife of a soldier or in my case a journalist wife – reacts when the deployments continue unabated.
American Sniper is a story of an American Hero…but the real hero’s least we forget are the families who suffer and continue to in silence without being represented truthfully in movies or films.
Being left to wait worry and wonder, if and when my husband would return may be buried in My past now that he is retired – but it is all too present and real for a lot of other families still today; and so I salute those women and children who keep those home fires burning even though their stories remain at zero dark thirty.