Surrounded by red, white and blue Americana in their powder blue Midwestern home, family matriarch Rhonda Jordal says she can deal with most of the fallout of her son Steven’s two tours in Iraq.
Rhonda says she can handle his damaged memory — Steven nearly started a fire recently when he forgot his breakfast on the stove and wandered off to feed the family’s two border collies — his daily headaches, his irritability, the 635 days it took to get him out of jail in Oklahoma City and the mountain of debt the family faces because of legal fees.
But what breaks her heart is that he will not let her hug or kiss him like he did before he went to war. “All the time he was in Iraq all I wanted was to get my baby back home,” Rhonda said, breaking down for the first time in nearly five hours of talking about her son. “But I know now he’s never really coming back.”