For Karilyn Bales, the collection of posts was a “time capsule.”
She detailed her pregnancy, with her husband a world away. She described the pit she got in her stomach from missing him. She wrote of her disappointment after he was passed over for a promotion.
But mostly, Karilyn Bales, wife of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers last week relayed the simple anguish of life as a military wife, tending to a home with two young children, with a husband summoned for repeated deployments. “Bob left for Iraq this morning,” she wrote in her family blog on August 9, 2009. “Quincy slept in our bed last night.”
Though much of the family's online presence appears to have been removed in recent days, the fragments that remain capture the daily travails typical of any family with a loved one stationed abroad.
A little less than a year ago, in March 2011, Karilyn Bales wrote on her blog that her husband had not received a promotion to E-7, sergeant first class. The family was disappointed, she said, “after all of the work Bob has done and all the sacrifices he has made for his love of his country, family and friends.”
More often, she focussed on ordinary struggles. She described surprise phone calls and solo doctor's appointments, attempts to clean the house while her husband was gone, and the “bad dreams” she woke from after a nap on the day he left in 2009. She recalled discussions of baby names with him while he was away, and celebrating Easter one Sunday early, so that Robert Bales could decorate eggs with their daughter, Quincy, before leaving home again.
In 2006, while she was pregnant with Quincy, Bales wrote that though she was careful not to wish the days away, “I only want the days to go by fast when it comes to Bob coming back home.” A few days later, Bales wrote about a common tic she shared with her unborn child: “I get the hiccups all the time these days, I always think that Bob is thinking about me.”
Bales' post from March 2011, about the Army promotion, appears to have been the blog's latest entry. In it, she explained why she maintained the site in the first place. The collection of posts was a “time capsule,” she wrote, and she hoped that her children would one day “enjoy reading about the decisions that Mom and Dad went through during their lives.”
With a relocation expected, she said, the family's coming months would be full of change. “I am hoping to blog about it and look back in a year,” she wrote, “to see how far we have come from right now.” — New York Times News Service
(Elisabeth Bumiller contributed reporting.)