DEAR ABBY: Since the moment my oldest son, "Ryan," enlisted in the U.S. Army, our family has been concerned he would be deployed. Although Ryan graduated from high school near the top of his class and had prepared for university, his plans were thwarted when deployment orders came to face off with ISIS in a combat engineer role. He leaves soon for the Middle East.
Abby, I need your insight in understanding why I am not falling apart. My other children are, my relatives are, and people I speak to are stunned that I'm holding it together. I try to explain that I support my son and must be strong for my family, but am I in denial? Everyone else is falling apart while I, who adore him and can't envision a life without him, seem to be holding steady.
What's going on with me? Am I a flawed mother? I feel like I'm disappointing others who would prefer to see a soldier's mother grieve and agonize over her son's departure, anticipating the worst. Your thoughts are most welcome. -- BAFFLED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR BAFFLED: You are not "flawed." Not everyone handles emotionally charged situations in the same way. While you may be numb with shock, you may also be calm, stoic and not show your feelings openly. It's also possible that you may be "postponing" any negative emotions until if and when it's necessary to experience them. My reaction is that no one should judge you -- least of all yourself right now.