She said her husband was motivated to join the Foreign Service because his father had served in it in Vietnam and often spoke of how important the work had been.
“His experience in Afghanistan was the same,” she said of her husband. “We had both been in war zones before (Sarajevo), so this wasn’t new for him, but Afghanistan was different. He was embedded with the military and working at a high level on the peace process. The work sounded really interesting and meaningful.”
For the relatives of those killed Tuesday, Fernandez said, “I can only hope the families’ pain is eventually assuaged by the certainty that their sons, husbands and dads made the ultimate sacrifice doing what they were so strongly committed to and loved.”
The State Department has support networks online and in person for families with a parent abroad. It also has an office devoted to working with families, including a person assigned specifically to families enduring unaccompanied tours, and provides guidance for helping children through the experience.
On Wednesday, a State Department official said the office had been overwhelmed after the attacks. When asked about reaction from Foreign Service families, the official, who asked that she not be named, choked up.
D’Andrea said that it was support from other Foreign Service families, especially those who had been through tours and understood the emotional roller coaster, that she found essential.
For her 3-year-old, it was more difficult, she said.
“A few weeks before Ted was due back, he said, ‘I just want Daddy home for good!” she said, “and I was luckily able to tell him that he would be.”
Read more from On Parenting at www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/