If my story can help overwhelmed military spouses gain a new perspective, I want to make it available to them.– Krista Graham, Author of Deployment Diaries.
In honor of both Veterans Day and Remembrance Day, we at Lulu want to take a moment, not only to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of our Veterans, but also to acknowledge military families – those who have loved ones currently serving. For some, today can be a very emotional day, particularly if a parent or spouse is deployed overseas.
Krista Graham is an Army Wife and a Marine Mom who recently published an account of her husband’s year of service in Kuwait. Krista was kind enough to share her perspective on Veterans Day, writing and being an Army Wife tasked with “holding down the fort” during her husband’s deployment.
How many family members do you currently have serving in the military?
My husband is a Warrant Officer in the Army National Guard and one of my sons is serving in the Marine Corps. He is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in 2012.
Tell us about your motivation for writing a book.
I didn’t set out to write a book.
My husband was deploying to Kuwait with the Army National Guard. It was his first deployment, so I knew that all of our family and friends would be concerned and would want to know how things were going for us back home. I decided I’d send weekly email updates to them. This was also therapeutic for me because I’ve always found writing to be an excellent way to process my feelings and sort my thoughts. By writing about the events of our lives, I could distance myself emotionally from them and look at them objectively. I could also see the humor in even the hard things that happened to us. Week after week, I wrote these anecdotes. They were circulated among distant relatives and even posted on the Army unit’s Facebook page for other soldiers and their families to enjoy. When I saw how popular the stories were, and how much the other Army wives related to them, I decided to compile them into a book.
What made you decide to self-publish?
I chose self-publishing in order to make my book widely available as quickly as possible. There are thousands of families experiencing deployments right now. A friend told me, “This needs to get into the hands of every military family so they know what to expect and how to get through it.” If my story can help overwhelmed military spouses gain a new perspective, I want to make it available to them.
What advice do you have for other Army Wives?
Keep your sense of humor and a long-term perspective. My priority was to set a positive tone for our five kids. I wanted them to feel secure that I was not falling apart. Keeping busy, doing projects, accomplishing goals, and doing a lot of fun things with the kids made the year a good experience for them. I didn’t want to just hunker down in “survival mode.” I wanted to thrive!
What does Veterans Day mean to you?
Veterans Day means a lot to me — not just because of the significance of the day itself, but because of what it has meant to our family personally. Three years ago, while our son (who is now a Marine) was in high school, he entered an essay writing contest for Veterans Day. He wrote about a Vietnam veteran visiting the Memorial Wall in D.C. The essay was profoundly moving and insightful, depicting the way being a soldier defines one’s life and the conflict experienced when one actually returns from war having survived when others have died. When my son read that essay aloud, his dad was moved to tears. It was a sobering moment for me because that’s when I knew that our son would most definitely join the military one day. He was sworn into the Marine Corps on November 10th last year, at the age of 17, just one day before Veterans Day.
Do you have any plans for another book?
I am always writing something. I have no doubt another book will follow this one. Perhaps I will write about the experience of my son’s deployment next year. I have also begun a series of personal reflections in a more serious spiritual genre. Perhaps those will find their way into a book. I have several projects underway.
You can order Deployment Diaries here.
Follow Krista on Twitter.
Also check out http://mydeploymentdiaries.com