Kari Bales Speaks to Supporters

Kari Bales told me she immediately started an email to me that first day she read my letter. She told me that she started and stopped many times, hovering over the “send” button, coming back time and time again to complete her message. She said there were just so many things running through her mind those first few days that it was difficult to know exactly what to say. She knew she would send it someday, when she had the right words.

When she finally did send it, the door opened for us to have a conversation about how I came to write the letter, and how she came to read it. I told her about my mother and I sitting around the kitchen table, crying as we thought about the loneliness, remembering our own experiences of frustration when we didn’t have the information we felt we needed. When I talked about the necessity of dealing with the absence of information in military life, we shared one of those “YES, I TOTALLY GET IT” moments that military spouses often share. Then she explained how a co-worker encouraged her to read the letter, and she described seeing it for the first time through tears.

It was one of the most meaningful exchanges I’ve ever had.

But this isn’t supposed to be my message. It’s hers. So here it is:

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When I read your letter I began shaking and crying. You had so eloquently summed up all of the questions and emotions that I had been feeling since my whole world had been turned upside down. I am not looking at the news very much these days. Instead I read your letter every night before I go to bed and let all of the supportive words and prayers sink in.

I came back to your blog today to read the wonderful sentiments, blessings, and supportive comments that your audience has left. I know that there is a roller coaster ride ahead of me. I am so overwhelmed, appreciative, blessed, soothed, cyber-hugged, supported, loved, cared-for, in awe and thankful for all of the comments that your readers have shared. It was brave of you to write such a letter and all of the readers who chose to reach out are brave as well.

I am taking every day as it comes, enjoying our children and taking deep breaths.

I will continue to come back to your letter everyday, and read all of the comments and soak in the support. Please let everyone know I am feeling their support and understanding. Thank you.

Sincerely, Kari Bales

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The comments for Kari Bales will remain open, and I will keep approving them, as long as you keep writing them.

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CNN Video of “Open Letter to Kari Bales”

To go directly to my “Open Letter to Kari Bales” click here.

Late Sunday night I sat bleary-eyed at my computer trying to find a way to write what was on my heart. I knew I couldn’t write from the perspective of Kari Bales; there were too many unknowns. That story would be a work of fiction, and there was already enough fiction circulating. I breathed deeply, closed my eyes, and I imagined: papers, official visitors, tears, frantic calls … the administrative details alone seemed overwhelming. But once an image of Kari Bales’ children crossed my mind’s threshold, I began to cry. As a mother, I began to weep for that instant where she realized she was the one standing between them and this moment.

Many of you cried, too.

The words that made their way from my fingertips to the screen brought unexpected media coverage, and because of that my words eventually found their way into her heart. For that, I am so grateful. What every writer wants is for their words to make a difference.

Thanks to Carol Costello and the producers at CNN for chosing to highlight this issue so positively. Here’s the interview.

CNN Kari Bales

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