Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
Dear Wartime Widow;

You don't know me. Well, you do; I was your neighbour, we lived beside each other for two years and I watched your huskies while you were on duty in Afghanistan. I spoke with your husband daily and gave treats through the fence and cried a little when I woke up one morning and saw your eldest dog had passed away, the others huddled close to it as if to keep him warm. Your husband, he had the same name as my daughter and we chuckled whenever this not-so-strange occurrence came up in conversation and his hair was red like fire.

I used to watch him, a Goliath of a man, digging the garden in your backyard, rebuilding the fence line, laying down boards just underneath the surface of the earth to keep the dogs from digging in to our yard. I helped at midnight when somebody thought it was funny to launch fireworks in to your backyard at the dogs, I'd give you clippings of my climbing vines so you could plant them on your side of the fence and we could have a matching screen of leaves. Through eight seasons and one pregnancy for me, we lived side by side and rarely spoke; your husband was much more outgoing than you; kinder. That's not to say you weren't, but you must have seen things in your service that you can not un-see, it hardened you, made you silent.

The day we received the news was a hard day, a long day. Your dog had died yet nobody was there to deal with the corpse. The stench, the other dogs, the winter and the cold. Once you returned home and realized your pet was gone to another world, dimension, you probably felt as if it was the end of your world to lose a loved one. Thirty minutes later your phone rang and you were likely relaxing with tea or coffee, a good book or the television. Your husband, your lifeline, your eternity was shattered in an instant with that one ring, pickup, and hello. A landmine or a suicide bombing or a car bomb had taken his life and now you were left down two things you loved, and you hold your daughter close as you hang up slowly and try to figure out how to explain to her that her father is never coming home again.

You tried to sell your house, I tried to bake you cookies. I tried to be a good neighbour and talk to you,  comfort you…but I couldn't do it. So two years later, I will write this letter to you. I will tell you everything I wanted to say that day, everything I wanted to be able to convey; I will tell you I am sorry. The cookies that I intended to bake for you (or was it a cake, and does it matter now?) mean absolutely nothing in the broad scheme of things, I know, and my words mean next to nothing as well, but here they are. I watched the funeral procession, the whole town showed up to honour your husband, I continued to feed treats to your remaining dogs, and I watched you through your window from my backyard as you went through the process of mourning. I want to tell you that your loss effected me, outside your home, outside of your life, and that I will always remember your husband just as you will, only in a different way.

On this day, at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh month I will write to you to tell you that I remember. I remember every day I ever saw him, I remember when you asked for a discharge from service yourself, I remember your dogs. I will always remember because my daughter has the same name as your gentle giant and every time I look at her, I will know that somewhere out there, a man was brave enough to fight for something he may not have understood but in doing so, and in dying for it, there is not a day that goes by that he won't be remembered for what he did.

Sincerely,
Your Neighbour.
My computer recovered the letter. This one is what I wanted to upload.

This is for %Letters-To-Myself's prompt: Letter to a Soldier.


War sucks.
11/11/2010.
:iconpoppyplz:

This is also for #Live-Love-Write's prompt "Remembrance Day".

Other words and letters: For your reading pleasure.
Add a Comment:
 

Daily Deviation

Given 2013-11-11
A true story for Armistice Day: Dear Wartime Widow is by ^pullingcandy. ( Suggested by doughboycafe and Featured by neurotype )
:iconcloudymidnightstars:
I cannot even begin to describe how this affected me when I decided to read this wonderful, but sad tale of a story. It made my eyes slip a couple of tears out, made me feel sadness through-out my body as I read this beautiful, yet amazing piece of a narrative. The only things I can say about it is that it may need details of what had happened to the person's next door neighbor, and maybe to make it a little bit longer. Other than those two little things, this can make a big impact on anyone like it did to me.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
9 out of 9 deviants thought this was fair.

:iconworldwar-tori:
First I don't know how I never read this before, but either way it's quite amazing. I definitely cried a bit. (by a little I may mean I left in the middle of a tissue).

I like the short simpleness of a lot of it but I do have a few questions;
1.) Assuming they were both in the military? Maybe I'm just being slow, but in the beginning it seemed like she was in the military then suddenly it was him?
2.) You mention the dogs a lot; were they a vital part of what you're conveying? I have nothing against dogs but I wonder if there's more.
Which leads to > you said in the first paragraph that the eldest dog died, is this the same dog in the third?
These are mostly just questions that I'm wondering as the reader.

Other than those few things I love the way you wrote this, it seems like in a "chaotic" state of mind, I don't mean that negatively, but like it started planned and then simply spilled after the first few words, which is actually great in letters I think.

That being said; again it is seriously amazing and I couldn't help but feel it too. Great work my dear

:heart:
TORi

*** please do not pay attention to the stars, the critique is in what I wrote.***


What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
1 out of 1 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

Please sign up or login to post a critique.

:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Powerhouse.
Reply
:iconaprilfloat:
APRILFLOAT Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2013
No words can express how one feels at a loss of a loved one whether that be thru war or otherwise. Yes! the unexpected loss sometimes has a more profound affect. As we remember the soldiers, sailors and airmen that gave their lives and to those that continue to serve our country and others we should always be reminded that they do so for us all. To be Free and enjoy what we have. A loss of a loved pet as a family member too can be hard. You have managed to wrap all the emotions that come with the loss of loved ones in one finely written letter to your neighbour whom ever that may be. It was very heart warming. As a veteran, and one who has lost a wife and pet over the last year, thanks for this. 
Reply
:iconworldwar-tori:
WorldWar-Tori Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013   General Artist
Oh; I failed to add congratulations on the DD, you definitely deserve it :love:
Reply
:iconlou-in-canada:
Lou-in-Canada Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013   Traditional Artist
How beautifully written! I enjoyed reading that. Congrats on the well deserved DD
Reply
:iconharmlessangel22:
harmlessangel22 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Student General Artist
Wow...just...just wow. This is beautiful...even if it is sad.
Reply
:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on your well-deserved DD!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconlainloveplz::iconflyingheartsplz: :clap::clap::clap:
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you very kindly.
Reply
:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're very welcome, dear!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconsweethugplz::iconflyingheartsplz:
Reply
:iconthe-fire-magician:
The-Fire-Magician Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Student General Artist

I truly enjoyed reading this letter.  I am happy that you decided to write this letter.  Congratulations on getting DD and have a nice day.

Added to favorites.

Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you so much for taking the time to read it. :)
Reply
:iconthe-fire-magician:
The-Fire-Magician Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2013  Student General Artist
You're welcome! :)
Reply
:iconblueeyes0001:
Blueeyes0001 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
This is well written! Great job on it and congrats on the Daily Deviation!
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank  you very, very much.
Reply
:iconblueeyes0001:
Blueeyes0001 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
you're welcome!
Reply
:iconsilverinkblot:
SilverInkblot Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
=doughboycafe You didn't even give me a chance to send it through DLD! :lol:
Reply
:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Professional Writer
I want it to win all the things :noes:
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
xD
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
!
Reply
:iconsilverinkblot:
SilverInkblot Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
It was sent to me yesterday, and today I see it in the footer :XD:
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
:heart:
Reply
:iconlleonard5902:
lleonard5902 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013
My other half is deployed and veteran's day has always struck me as only a happy holiday to those with family members who are already retired from service. I loathe it personally. Something about the glorification of what is for me the worst circumstances of our time together. Or maybe just because I'm reminded. But I love that you focused on the ones left behind at home. The wives and children and husbands, even neighbors, that are left to wait and cling to news when they can for years at a time are far less glorified so thanks for that. Your piece is beautiful. 
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
It's true, they are far less glorified. You're welcome, but really, the thanks goes to you for taking the time to read it. Thank you.
Reply
:iconmiabia100:
Miabia100 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
i cried. Thank you for writing this.
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for reading it.
Reply
:iconmiabia100:
Miabia100 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
C:
Reply
:iconlostgryphin:
LostGryphin Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Congrats on the DD - touching message
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for reading. :)
Reply
:icontomatogrower:
Tomatogrower Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Your literature moves me.  I'm happy it's been recognized as a DD.  Congrats
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for saying so. :)
Reply
:iconbobraw:
bobraw Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013
i am a vet of nam. i can relate to withdrawing from the world when you live that life.it's hard to open up.you hurt so much because of what you saw. you made me look back.i' still asking why? do you know? reads as if personal event.
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for taking the time to read it. :)
Reply
:iconpsycocat:
psycocat Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
A very nice letter.  Touching and sad.  Congrats on the DD
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you very much.
Reply
:icondkenreeks:
dkenreeks Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Professional Writer
Those whom have seen warfare first-hand are rarely so eager to see yet another battlefield.

Those who have had family members who serve (or have served) in the military...especially in combat operations...never truly desire to see them have to return into the malestrom that is warfare, especially modern warfare.

As for those whom have lost a loved one while they were serving their nation?
A folded flag, twenty-one rifle cartridge casings, and a headstone in a cemetery is rather small compensation for losing someone that they loved.

On this day, we should not only remember those whom have served in our Armed Forces, but also remember that when General W.T. Sherman said that "War Is Hell," he knew what he was talking about!

BTW--check out my poem "Remember The Heroes" on my site here.

All that I can say is that I am glad to still have my Dad around (he served in the Navy as a Hospital Corpman, and saw two tours in Vietnam. He retired as the Command Master Chief of Lemoore Naval Hospital in 1983), and I am grateful that he served.

Stay Deviant, and congrats on your Daily Deviation selection!
--RKJ
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I'm glad you still have your father, as well. :)
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.
Reply
:iconjboweruk:
jboweruk Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013
We will remember them....
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Indeed, I hope we do.
Reply
:iconruntofthelitter:
RuntOfTheLitter Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013
runtofthelitter.deviantart.com…

SALUTE!

ROTL/RuntOfTheLitter

 (gallery upload)
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for the link.
Reply
:iconruntofthelitter:
RuntOfTheLitter Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2013
HELLO! GLAD ya' could view it some.

My BEST to you and yours. ROTL/RuntOfTheLitter
Reply
:iconmarryellen:
MarryEllen Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013
wow....very...intimate? And interesting topic and yeah, you....you have talent :D
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Intimate. Very interesting word to use. Thank you so much for reading it :)
Reply
:iconspider123357:
spider123357 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Student Writer
This is.. It made me tear up. 
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
:) Thanks for reading.
Reply
:iconmizzmint:
mizzmint Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on receiving a Daily Deviation! :glomp:
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Merci.
Reply
:iconmizzmint:
mizzmint Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:glomp:
Reply
:iconebturner:
ebturner Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
She got a phone call? That sucks. I spent 21 years in the Army and a phone call is not the official method of notifying next-of-kin of their loved one's death. She got that phone call from someone not authorized to tell her and whoever thought they were doing her a favor was not, at least in my opinion. I know it does happen though. Sometimes other wives know before the new widow. Someone back in the rear detachment gets word of it and then calls his wife and she calls someone else, and it gets to the wife. I was on duty one night when we got a call of two deaths in Iraq back in 2005. The deployed elements of the unit always have to notify the rear detachment of any casualty to get the ball rolling on notification. But the person on duty has to keep their mouth shut and let the system work. And if your neighbor widow was in the service, I wouldn't be surprised if this is what happened.

I retired in 2006 and still live in a military town. Our neighbor two doors down lost her husband in Afghanistan in Sept 2010. When the notification came, it was two men in uniform as it should be. My wife said she heard the scream while mowing our lawn and called me at work. It was a terrible time. Her husband had just returned to Afghanistan after two weeks of R&R. Had only been back maybe 2 weeks. My wife remembers the day he left, he walked his oldest daughter to the bus stop and after getting off the bus, placed his hand on the window where his daughter had her hand. As the bus drove off, he told my wife, with tears in his eyes, that leaving is the hardest thing.

I only spoke with him a few times. I didn't know him. Our worlds were different. I am retired working as a teacher, he was active. I was enlisted, he was an officer. I worked in special operations, he was in aviation. Not much in common. But he seemed like a good guy. His wife has four children by herself now. The oldest is in...well, I don't know what grade. But she's young I know that. She kept his truck for a couple of years before finally getting rid of it. I imagine that was very difficult to do. She has a "Gold Star" license plate and I know she participates in Gold Star family events.
Reply
:iconpullingcandy:
pullingcandy Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
-nod-
I have a military family, the procedures aren't always clear to me, but I know it was unusual. I felt so terrible for her (as I'm sure you could see). That kind of news is awful to receive in any way.

Thank you for your detailed comment, and your story as well. It's little stories like that which remind us that there are real people working over seas, leaving their families, dying for a cause. Thank you.
Reply
:iconpsycocat:
psycocat Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow.  I don't have words.
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×

:iconpullingcandy: More from pullingcandy


Featured in Collections

literature by WendaVinci

Other Stories, Poems, and Prose by ShadowWolfsConsort

Literary Masterpieces by shunsuixnanaofan101


More from DeviantArt



Details

Submitted on
November 11, 2010
File Size
3.7 KB
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
3,685
Favourites
181 (who?)
Comments
96
×