I immediately grabbed my father and told him of the news, then I called my sister Yvette. Once I had a little more control of my emotions, I reached out for Derek's girlfriend, Krystina. Krystina was down the shore for the weekend, but she came right over and spent the night with us as we waited on news about Derek.
Later that day, I posted on the Army Moms site and the Parents of Deployed Servicemembers site on facebook. The outpouring of love, support, encouragement and prayers has been staggering and completely overwhelming. I am now in touch with several wounded warrior families and a nurse at Walter Reed. These wonderful people have been offering constant prayers and support. One, Donna Griego, also set up "prayers for Derek McConnell" on facebook, As of this morning, there are 1,641 people who have "liked" that page and are offering prayers, words of encouragement, support, etc. It is humbling when I consider the outpouring of support that has come forward.
On Monday, I received a call from Jeff Miles, the afternoon dj on WPLJ (95.5 FM) in NYC. He had been keeping up with Derek's deployment through my posts on facebook and his thread. As a former army man himself, and with family in the service, Jeff was very supportive. He played our conversation on the air at 12:55 p.m. and then dedicated the Goo Goo Dolls song "Not Broken" to Derek and all of the other military servicemembers. He has been in touch with me all week.
Derek was kept in Kandahar for a couple of days, but then moved to Baghram Air Base on Monday. He arrived in Germany on Tuesday and is hopefully coming back to the states this weekend.
Anne and Cori, two new facebook friends, later put me in touch with Heather, an angel in Germany who has been visiting Derek in the hospital and sending me updates.
On Wednesday morning I was able to call the hospital in Germany. An angel of a nurse held the phone to his ear so that he could hear my voice. I told him that I loved him so, that Krystina loved him so much, that the whole family loved him, and that we were all standing by him and would help him. I told him to be strong. I had to jump up and down (a hint I heard from Dr. Laura) to keep from crying too much. My voice broke in spite of all my efforts to stay calm.
Derek's life was never easy, and this battle has been hard so far. He lost his left leg from the hip and the right leg just above the knee. He has blast wounds, a fractured right arm, a skull fracture and kidney damage. He is receiving transfusions and dialysis. At this moment, he lies in a bed in Lundstahl Hospital in Germany awaiting a flight back to the US. I have my bag packed and will be there when he arrives.
I have okay moments and bad moments. I am angry that our children are over there being injured for life. For what? I understood this in the beginning, after we were attacked.... but now? What good are we doing? Our children are being wounded for life and I cannot see a reason.
Anyway, I want to thank everyone for all the love, support, encouragement and prayers. Without it, I don't think I could do this.