As I shared yesterday, I am involved in a program that writes letters of support to the families of fallen service members.  I have only been doing so for three weeks and have so far written 11 letters.

That in itself is enough to make me pause and still my heart for a moment, but today, as I sat to write my letter, I found myself truly feeling heartache. See, today, my letter was to the parents of Brandon Meyers of Plainfield, Il.

Brandon was a Marine- like many his age, he joined the Corps. right out of high school. He served two tours in Iraq and returned home to his family in November  of 2010. He loved cars and motorcycles. He loved his sister and his parents. He planned to attend community college to become automotive technician.

He was my daughter’s age.

He was plagued by PTSD and struggled to come to terms with the memories he could not forget. He didn’t sleep. He left a note for his family saying they would be better of without him. That is what took my breath away- how extreme is someone’s pain that they would think their family would be better dealing with their suicide than their behavior. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I don’t say that in judgement but in sadness.  I realize there is no way to understand what was going on in this young man’s head- and I hold no judgement about what he did. My heart just breaks that he was in such emotional pain.  That he made this choice.  That his world was so black he could no longer see the sun. It is the absence of hope that kills the soul. I pray for his family and hope for them.

I have a dear, dear friend who lost her son. We don’t talk about it. She is a strong woman and has spent her live committed to helping people in need. I know this- there is no one else in my life who is as attuned to my moods,

so willing to reach out and say Hi- (even if that is all she can do-) so I feel seen.

so willing to stand and look you dead in the eye at your darkest moment and say “Hey. I’m here.”

It is this same friend who once told me she made a commitment to be open to the everyday miracles in her life- and she is.

So often, she is blessed with joyful memories of her son in the actions of her grandchildren and others.  Her life is filled with joyful laughter and  her days with purpose.  And that is truly a blessing.

I tell myself it is out of the losses in her life that she has learned to live. I envy her spirit in a good way and strive to follow her example.

That is my hope for the Meyer’s family. That they are able to find joy and laughter in the memories of their son to balance the ache that will forever live in their hearts.  I ask that you send up a prayer for the Meyers family. And for all of the veterans striving to find their way back from the memories that haunt them.  I wish you peace and  hope that you can again find your place in the world. That is my prayer for you- that you cling to hope to lift you from the darkness. That hope reminds you of the joy you bring to those around you and gives you strength to shoulder on. I pray for you. It is my hope, that you can unpack the torment you carry in your ruck and leave it behind. I pray for hope.