By: Kenna Ray Hunter, Army Spouse
It was early morning, May 31st, the day before our first wedding anniversary. I was sound asleep. I didn’t sleep well at all during the night because Eric and I had been texting all afternoon and he told me he wouldn’t be able to talk to me at night like he had been able to so frequently during this deployment. He didn’t say what he was doing or what was going on, but I always worried like crazy. He did say he would text me as soon as he was able to and say he was safe, which made me worry even more. Safe?! What was he doing that was unsafe?! He said it would be the early morning hours, so I waited up until 3 am, worrying.
Truth be told, I hadn’t slept well this entire deployment… that feeling of security and peace was no longer there. I swear it felt like I had just fallen asleep, and was still more than half asleep, when my alarm clock started going off on my phone for work. I hit snooze, over and over again. The last thing I wanted to do was go to work… then I remembered I was off of work and I jumped up realizing it wasn’t my alarm- it was a phone call, and it was 4:50 in the morning. That’s when it hit me… Eric never texted me to say he was ok. I started panicking when I saw it was his dad’s number. It is the phone call that still haunts me to this day. I knew when the phone was ringing that early in the morning that something was horribly wrong. This disgusting feeling came over me and I thought I was going to be sick.
Before anyone could even start talking on the phone I was already screaming at the top of my lungs and crying hysterically because I just knew in my heart they were going to say my husband was dead. It was Eric’s stepmom. I couldn’t even hear her talking through all of my hysterical crying and screaming, “Please say he’s not dead… please God, please God, please God!” I remember not being able to catch my breath. I remember the words “Kenna, Eric is alive, but he’s hurt. He’s hurt Kenna but he’s coming home.”
I don’t remember much of anything else. It was like being under water and trying to listen to sounds. I was in utter shock and a million emotions ran through me in a short period of time. I’m happy he’s alive, I’m scared as hell. What condition is he in? I’m mad that something happened to him, and sad I’m not with him, etc. I just kept yelling, “what happened what happened?!” All I remember her saying was “He stepped on an IED; his foot is gone. Kenna, He’s on his way home.” It was like a bad dream… a nightmare I couldn’t escape from. I screamed, I cried. I punched my computer and I punched our wall. I fell on the bedroom floor, squeezing my stuffed bear made out of an Army shirt that Eric signed for me before he left, “I love you with all of my heart xoxo.” All I remember was that I was hyperventilating…
And that I was alone…
I was on the phone for the rest of the day trying to get to him (and getting nowhere), praying he’d make it. I didn’t know the extent of his injuries, just that he was hurt and lost his foot and was stuck somewhere that seemed like a million miles away from me.
Here are some of my journal entries from that day:
June 1, 2012… Our one year anniversary (3 am)
I still haven’t heard from him… and I still have lots of unanswered questions. How is he going to be now? Eric is so strong, but is this his breaking point? How much pain is he in? Are they taking good care of him? I NEED to hear his voice and know from him that he’s going to make it. I know he’s hurting really bad, but me not being able to talk to him feels like it’s literally KILLING me! I feel like I’m in a crazy daze, almost like I still don’t believe it. I’m still waiting for someone to wake me up from this crazy nightmare. I didn’t sleep at all last night. How could I? I’ve prayed and prayed for good news, but there isn’t any.
June 1, 2012 (9 pm)
A delivery man showed up at my door with flowers and a letter from Eric saying, “Hey baby, I’m so sorry I can’t be there for our anniversary. I love you so much. Be good and I’ll see you soon.” I thought his stepmom sent them to me to make me feel better, so I could not have cared less about the flowers. I liked the gesture but I was ill because I knew they weren’t from Eric. It’s finally nighttime and I still haven’t heard from him. I have laid on my couch all afternoon, staring at the walls… and crying, then telling myself this is all fake… then reminding myself this is real. Repeat. I can’t eat, sleep… function. But I did hear he had been sent to Bagram, Afghanistan and they were trying to get him to Germany. Army officials called me twice today with updates, but no word from Eric.
June 2, 2012
A weird number woke me up at six in the morning. I answered it and I heard his voice “Baby?” I started squalling on the phone and screaming “Babbbyyyyy!!!” I was jumping up and down on our bed… I can’t even explain to you the feeling of relief that went through my body. The first thing he said was “did you get the flowers I had sent to you yesterday?” I said, “those were from you?” He said “yeah, I called my step mom a few days ago to make sure she had them sent to you for me.” Then he said “I asked the nurse what day it was and when she told me it was June 2, I said ‘damnit! I missed our anniversary!” I laughed and started crying again… but that was when I knew we were gonna make it.
Stay tuned for more of Kenna’s story, coming soon… and to follow Eric’s progress, please check out their facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/prayersforerichunter