Lauren Kay Halloran's Memoir Explores her Mother's and her Military Experiences
When she got out of the Air Force Lauren moved back to Seattle for a while as she figured out her next step and applied to graduate school. It was then that she began to have in depth talks with her mother. “As a seven-year-old when my Mom got home, I wasn’t privy to her adjustment struggles. When she came back as a mother of three and wife to a man who had been amazing as a single dad for four months, she was expected to slip right back into those roles. Because she was in the Army Reserves, there wasn’t the inherent support system of a base, or the people who’d been through the same experience. Basically she came back to the same spot she had left. We’d all been spinning our wheels waiting for her to get back there and as soon as she did we just took off running and she got caught up in it. She came to our school and did Veteran’s Day presentations. She brought back traditional Saudi Arabian clothing and my sister and I modeled it before the school, and I just remember feeling very proud. She talked about the things she’d done, her patients in the hospital and working with the Iraqis who came to the hospital to help, and I was just so awestruck by her and I had no way of seeing what a difficult transition it was for her. And so when I got back that was kind of the model in my mind of how things were supposed to work. That plus seeing all these people on base who’d deployed 15 times and seemed totally fine. In my mind that became ‘they’re strong and I’m not,’ and I just wanted to hole up in a room and eat candy and watch chick flicks and cry. I felt like there was something wrong with me. It took finally acknowledging that this is not healthy and self-referring to the base mental health clinic, talking to a counselor there who then ultimately got me to open up to my parents. Talking with my mother was kind of a process of us both opening ourselves up.