01 July, 2006

A Very Happy Anniversary

Yes, it commemorates a terrible day, but the fact that he's here to celebrate what has happened in the year since makes this anniversary very happy indeed.

I missed the actual date (wrapped up in moving), but it was just over a year ago that CPT Chuck Ziegenfuss got his "ass splattered all over Al Abarra province." In a beautiful post the normally uber-tough-guy Chuck looks back and catalogs all the good things that have happened during his year of continuing recovery:

But other things have happened in this year. I came to truly appreciate and understand the depths of love, and inner strength that my darling wife has. The trauma I suffered physically and emotionally cannot begin to compare with the ordeal she faced in putting me back together again. When she finally smartens up and sees what a rat bastard I am, I’ll miss her.
As for me, I am so glad I can still call him friend. At the MilBlog Conference in April finally meeting him and Carren face-to-face was something I can't put into words. Carren and I kept hugging that weekend as if we'd had months of hugs stored up for each other--which we did; she felt like a long-lost friend or sister to me. And Chuck pulled me aside and gruffly ordered me to "spill!" as he inquired what was going on with me that had me writing such dark stuff on my blog in March/April and threatening to quit (I'm doing much better now). It felt so good to see him for myself, to touch him, to know that he really was recovering.

They're both such wonderful people; Carren's strength and dignity should be the standard for anyone facing tough times, and Chuck's attitude of gratitude and ability to look for the silver lining in what has in many ways been a year of hell is beyond inspiring. Since I read Chuck's blog long before he was wounded, I can't credit his wounding as having drawn me to them. But being allowed the privilege of watching and supporting them through this has impacted me in professional and personal ways that will reverberate through my life.

Happy Anniversary, Chuck! It was the day the "sons of whores" (as you put it) tried to put an end to you. But it was also the day that set you on an amazing course that has enriched both your life and ours--and others you will never know, and that we celebrate with joy and gratitude. You've had quite a trip (and it still continues); I'm so honored to be a small part of it.