And the more of us who witness what the child of a soldier in Iraq has to endure, the more insight we can have about how wrong it all is. If you've missed any of her story, you can find it in our archives, and also catalogued here.
It's going into a play that I'm directing this fall, to which the cast members contributed ideas, scenes, monologues, whatever they could. Here is Tiffani's piece:
You Don't Know
We are best friends. No, we're more than best friends. You're my dad. You said you would never leave me, that you would never leave my side for anything or anyone, for as long as you lived. But you lied. How could you leave me here? Why would you volunteer for a war when you have a 13-year-old daughter to take care of? Why? What in the world were you thinking?! How could you do that to our family? More important, how could you do this to me?
You don't know what it's like, Dad, to walk around school every day and just think to yourself, "Is he dead?"…"Is he alone…or in pain?"… "Will he ever come home?" You don't know what it's like to have nightmares about a car pulling up in front of the house, delivering a letter that says you're dead.
You don't understand the effects your decisions have on this family! We all worry about you every day and every night, and pray that you'll come home in one piece; pray that we'll be able to see you just one last time. The hardest part, Dad, is not seeing you on the holidays. Not seeing you on Christmas or Thanksgiving…not even on my birthday. You left me here, Daddy, all alone, with no one to turn to. No one to talk to when I'm sad, no one to save me from the fights with Mom. No one at all.
You left me here alone for an entire year and a half. You're not able to come see any of my shows. Do you know how hard it is to have a show and watch every kid run up to their fathers and just hug them? And I sit there and watch…wishing that I could do the same. Just hold you in my arms and just know you're there and are safe.
I would give anything…ANYTHING…to have you back. I hate myself so much for not spending more time with your before you left, and it sucks because you should have wanted to spend more time with me, too!
You have no idea how hard it was for me to watch you walk away and get on that plane, knowing that …that could possibly be the last time I ever see you again. No matter how hard I try to explain this to you, you will never fully understand how much your going to war has affected my life.