My heart is heavy today, so it is only fitting that I wake to gray skies and rain. It helps for me to think the sky is crying as I write the families of fallen soldiers cards of sympathies.
I wasn’t thinking when I opted into the program of writing Gold Star parents- what a bizarre name it sounds almost like they won a prize. I understand that the name is from the Gold Star banners award to the families of fallen military members. I proudly hung a blue star banner when my daughter was deployed. And was grateful the day I took it down when she was home safe.
So when the writing campaign came across my desk I thought sure- I facilitate a writers group for veterans this would be something we could weave in to the program. Little did I realize the frequency of announcements dropping into my email box. When I received the first one, I was excited in a weird way not in a good way but more like an “Oh- this does really work.” kind of way, but then I grew concerned about what to write- so I waited for jus the right moment when I would be able to say something poignant and meaningful- and the days passed and more notifications filled my email box.
It was overwhelming to see the emails- it seemed like a new one each day- when I finally sat down to write them, I realized it was because several of them died together on the same day in the same horrific, senseless rocket attack in Bagram, Afghanistan. They were on the FOB doing their jobs. And then they were gone.
As I read each of the obituaries of these young people I felt as if I was an intruder. Like I am getting a glimpse into the lives of these families at their weakest moment. What can I possibly write to make them feel better?
Nothing- that is what I came away with. There are no words that will ease their grief, make the day any less horrible. I stayed away from platitudes of heros and defending my freedom. As a mom, that would not ease my hurt, offer me comfort. I just put pen to paper and let the universe take over- I am deeply sorry you lost your child. I will hold you in my prayers. I thank you for raising a child who was willing to serve and am beholden to your family for their sacrifice. I hope you can fill your heart with memories of joy to lessen the grief that fills you now.
All I can do is hope it was enough.