Jezebel: What can a civilian say to a wounded soldier?

Jezebel: What can a civilian say to a wounded soldier?

I have a piece up at Jezebel today, about something that’s very near and terribly dear to my heart: the conversations, or lack thereof, between returning servicemen and servicewoman and civilians. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot since one of my friends came back from Afghanistan severely wounded from stepping on an IED.

When he called to confirm our plans for the evening, he said, “I’m not that mobile, because I’m still on crutches.” My heart fell, and I asked, as casually as I dared, “What happened?”
A few weeks after our hasty Facebook chat, while out on a patrol in Kandahar Province, Anthony stepped on an IED. He had been deployed for three months. He lived, but only just. He lost one of his legs below the knee, and has since had god knows how many surgeries to stitch up the other damage that was done that day.
Those of us who don’t come from military families or know many people in the military don’t have a script for conversations like this one. We have scripts for the I’m Engaged! conversation, or the I Got Into Grad School! conversation. We have scripts, too, for less celebratory conversations like the I Got Laid Off or the I’m Pregnant and I Think I’m Having an Abortion conversations. We do not have — I certainly did not have — a script for the I Stepped on an IED and Lost My Right Leg Below the Knee conversation. 

You can read the whole thing here.


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