Stevie's Journal entries regarding her visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Friday July 8th, 2005
Today started out as normal as any other day~ misty but sunny~a day off for me and my band~ a time to rest from a tour that began last May~ a sweet day in Washington, D.C.~ Except for…this was the day I chose to go to the Walter Reed Hospital and visit with the boys back from Iraq~ a few hours to spread my magic and give away some of my music~ sign some rock & roll t-shirts~ and come back home for an early night because tomorrow we fly to Charlotte for a show and then back here to play D.C. on Sunday… How simple my idea of this day now seems. I look at life through the eyes of a rock and roll fairy princess who lives for nothing more than to sing a song~ break a few hearts~ and fly on to the next city and do it all again…until today.
I walked into Walter Reed today a single woman with no children~ I walked out~ a mother, a wife, a girlfriend, a sister, a daughter, a nurse, a patient’s advocate~ a changed woman~ what I saw today will never leave my heart. The boys of Iraq~ (and a few older ones, too).
And the families~ the father who showed me the shrapnel they took out of his son~ and then took his medals and laid them at his child’s feet~ such a beautiful father…in so much pain, but always hopeful~ his son will make it~ and I believe that…
The father who said - "His eyes are closed, but he hears you. See, his hand is making the sign of "Mahalo"~ his eyes are closed, but those tears mean he sees you~" I made him promise to listen to my music~ he promised. And his mother, I felt her pain more vividly than I have ever felt the pain of a mother’s love in my whole life. I told her I could only imagine what that would be like. I hugged her for a long time thinking that maybe if I didn’t let her go~ we would just wake up from this dream. But war is real~ it’s not a dream~ and I had to let her go. That was hard. I felt some of my spirit leave my body and go over to her; I hope she felt it too…Mahalo, I won’t forget you…
And the mom’s…oh yes, our moms just never give up…they just sit there and pray and make promises to God~ "if you will just bring him back…just take me…" and they mean it. And standing in those rooms with them I meant it too…whatever it takes, God, just do it.
And the sisters…I have a brother. He is 5 years younger than me, but he is still my baby. Even the thought of him being taken from me drains the joy from my body~ and the world would be joyless. I saw that in those little sisters eyes~ "you can’t have my brother…he is too young; we have only just begun to live. So I pray for these boys to gather their strength and their angels about them and come back to us. I pray that these brilliant doctors that surround them are able to work the miracles that are needed here. I place a circle of white light around them~ like a million white candles burning for their recovery and their strength and their determination to come back to us…
Tuesday Night, July 12th, 2005
I finished that last sentence at 3:30 last Friday night. I was so tired, I could write not another word~ we had a show in Charlotte the next day and I needed to go to sleep. But I couldn’t sleep. The faces of my new found injured friends haunted my thoughts~ so I called my mother in Phoenix knowing that she would listen to what I had written and calm me so I could sleep. I read my words to her, as I have done so many times before, and I cried. How could this happen? What can I do? Mom, they are so young, I just can’t stand it…She listened, as she always has, and began to weave her wisdom around me. She said~ whatever it takes to keep war from our shores. Whatever it takes to keep 9-11 from happening again. It’s all about freedom and our way of life. I asked these same questions when I worked at the prisoner of war camp in World War II~ whatever it takes to keep war from our cities. These young men are, in no uncertain terms, fighting for our freedom. So what you can do, Stevie, is love them and visit them and most importantly, tell the world what you experienced so that people know what these boys have given up. Your job here has always been to bring information to the world through your songs~ and to your audiences when you talk to them. This visit to Walter Reed Hospital is another stepping-stone in your life. You had to see it to believe it~ and now go tell the world.
So, once again~ thank you for those brave moms, …and thank you for my own mom, for Barbara, for her words that allowed me to sleep that night. She has always been my "way out", my solution, my great love…
And I will do something. Me and my guitar player, friend, Waddy~ and my dear little assistant, Karen. We will think of something. We’ll start a foundation, we will tell the world what we saw~ we’ll keep tabs on our boys at Walter Reed~ and we will love them every day in our hearts~ and we will WISH THEM WELL.