Get ready for just about the saddest story you’ll read all week.
War puts an unimaginable burden on soldiers, and readjusting to life at home after serving overseas is never an easy task. But these hardships were especially tough for 24-year-old Kyle Mulholland, who returned home after five years in Afghanistan to find that his wife had started buying the weird kind of cereal.
Kyle Mulholland was only 19 when he was first deployed to Afghanistan. By the time he came home for good this spring, he was ready to settle back into daily life with his wife and 2-year-old son. But nothing prepared Kyle for the shock he soon faced when he went into the pantry to take out a box of Honey Nut Cheerios and instead found a bag of cereal called “Sweet Puff’d Oat Rings.”
“They looked pretty much like Honey Nut Cheerios, but you could tell they weren’t the same,” Kyle said. “They were a little bigger, but also flatter. I didn’t know what I was looking at.”
So sad. All soldiers want when they return home is some semblance of the life they left behind, but often, that just isn’t possible.
Kyle found no solace when he picked up the 38-ounce supersized bag and noticed that the brand insignia at the top looked like the Kellogg’s logo in design, but instead of “Kellogg’s,” read “MealTime.” There wasn’t even a cardboard box around the bag—just a big plastic sack.
“What the fuck is MealTime?” said Kyle of the profoundly alienating experience. “I want my old life back.”
Day after day, challenges piled up as Kyle tried to fulfill his duties as a husband and a father, all while adjusting to a new stage of life that looked increasingly unfamiliar to him. After just a week home, Kyle learned that his wife had been shopping at the weird grocery store down the street instead of the Safeway.
“It’s not a regular grocery store—there’s a cat that lives there, and they sell hardware for some reason. I just don’t get it,” said Kyle, who wanted more than anything to enjoy the life he’d waited to return to for so long. “My toddler begs me every day for another cereal called ‘Leprechaun Shapes.’ It’s obviously supposed to be Lucky Charms, but the leprechaun is purple. I can’t explain that to my kid. Nothing makes sense anymore.”
What a devastating story. Kyle, we are sorry for your struggle, and we thank you for your service.