People like Denise Woolf are a model of strength and capability, and there are so many like her holding down the fort at home. Woolf believes everything happens for a reason, that her husband’s first deployment, 18 months in Kosovo five years ago, helped prepare her for his and Michael’s joint departure to Afghanistan in September.
When Darren left for Kosovo, “anything that could go wrong went wrong,” she says. Their daughter, then 14, spiked a fever of 104 and underwent months of testing before doctors performed emergency gall-bladder surgery. When Denise sent a message through the Red Cross to her husband, a message came back from his commander: Darren was in Germany having his own emergency surgery for a burst appendix.
Then Michael, not yet 20, got his orders to go to Iraq. Next, Darren Jr. was tackled hard in a football game and had to have his gall bladder removed. Because of complications, he remained hospitalized for 10 days.
While she was at his bedside at Tufts Medical Center, Woolf got a call that her car alarm was blasting in the parking garage. She rushed downstairs to find her windows smashed, her car ransacked, and her GPS gone.
Now her younger son is telling his mother he wants to join the military. “He wants to do basic training this summer so once he graduates from high school, he can ship right out,” says Woolf.
So far, it’s two against two: She and her daughter are against it, while Darren Sr. and Michael support it.
What did she tell her son? “That we’d talk about it after the holidays,” she says.
Bella English lives in Milton. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.