Deployed husband’s ‘void’ inspiration for poem

by Kelly Deichert
Air University Public Affairs

12/17/2010 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- A stocking is missing over the fireplace at the Fees' house this Christmas.

"There's a void," Arvilla Fee said of her husband, who is deployed to Baghdad.

Though he won't have a traditional Christmas, she's making sure Maj. James Fee, the director of operations at the Air and Space Basic Course, can still celebrate
the holidays. She sent him a special gift - her poem read on a DVD.

"I had the lines running through my head for a couple of days," she said.

"I write, that's what I do," she said. Mrs. Fee was a teacher for seven years and wrote more than 100 poems and 20 short stories. But this gift isn't for her husband alone.

"I wrote it for all the spouses who have husbands gone," she said. She wants the spouses of deployed Airmen to know they are not alone, and others are going through similar experiences.

In addition to the poem, the Fees' children Jennica, 6, and Alec, 3, will make ornaments for their dad. "He loves the homemade stuff," Mrs. Fee said.

The family is halfway through Major Fee's first deployment and stays connected by sending lots of packages, cards and photos back and forth.

"He has a whole wall full of stuff they've drawn and sent to him," she said.

Skype also makes the absence easier.

"We can see his face, the room he's staying in."

Though they're spending Christmas apart, Mrs. Fee knows her husband will enjoy opening his stocking Christmas morning, finding gifts from his family and maybe even a special NASCAR gift from Santa.

A military wife's Night Before Christmas

By Arvilla Fee

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, except for a spouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
Except for the one she had to mail over there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds
Their teeth were all brushed; the books were all read.
She pulled the warm comforter up to her chin
Wishing her husband could be with them again.
Her eyelids closed tightly and she drifted to sleep
Remembering all of the promises she said she'd keep:
To enjoy Christmas day and to make the kids smile,
To spend time with her family and relax for awhile.
Then in her dream her husband suddenly came back
And entered their house with a big Santa sack.
He tip-toed his boots across the great floor
Laid down the sack then closed the front door.
He stood there in uniform, as if out of place
But slowly a big smile spread over his face
As he looked at the cookies and milk on the shelf
Placed there for Santa, reindeer and elf.
He ate every crumb and drank every drop,
Knowing this house would be his only stop.
Then he placed every present under the tree,
Thinking no one could hear and no one could see.
But she'd hear a rustle, some strange little noise
And knew it could not be her sleeping girl or her boy.
Treading softly downstairs, her eyes opened wide
At the sight of the stranger with a bag by his side.
She gasped; he turned, and her eyes filled with tears
Could it be, she wondered, could he really be here?
He held out his arms and hugged her in tight.
"And now," she thought, "Everything will be right."
But she woke with the morning, and his pillow was bare;
She had so hoped the dream would make him be there.
She prayed, "God keep him safe all through this day,
And give me the courage for how strong I must stay."
Next year he would be here and not just a dream,
Once more united, a whole family, a team.
They would set out the cookies and milk on the shelf
Then wait by the fire for Santa, reindeer and elf.

We wish you a Merry Christmas - for Jamie
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And wish you were here.

We're sending hugs and kisses
We're sending hugs and kisses
We're sending hugs and kisses
And wish you were here.

Now bring yourself home safely
Now bring yourself home safely
Now bring yourself home safely
And we will be here.