Helplessness in the Face of Tragedy
I felt it once before -- on a very personal basis -- when Noah was wounded. He was there... we were here and the feelings of helplessness were like no other. Completely powerless to do anything in the face of unspeakable fear and tragedy.
Noah called this morning in great despair and again I was overwhelmed with these feelings. Five soldiers in his unit were killed in an IED attack last night. Fox news infers that they were Marines. They weren't. They are Army.
Noah and his friend Dave (who was wounded in the same attack as Noah and is just back at their U.S. base as well) called from the car on the way to the home of one of the hero NCOs to help his wife and the other wives of these fallen. Noah and Dave are not just consumed by grief, but by guilt. "I should have been there, Ma. I shoulda been there..."
Noah and Dave were just at Sgt. B's house on Thursday night with Mrs. B, their boys, and some of the wives of their comrades still deployed who were all there to comfort Mrs. B on the loss of her husband... They are already scheduled to attend the memorial services this week for two of their comrades... and now some of the wives who they joined in comfort this week may need comforting themselves... I tell Noah how sorry I am, I know how much he loved those Guys... I tell him that he could not have helped them and that his new mission is to be there -- where he is -- for his friends' families... that the Guys in Iraq must have felt some comfort knowing that Noah and Dave would be there for their families if anything happened... I hope these words are of some comfort to my son... but in my heart I know they are not...
I feel helplessness in not being able to comfort him in this time of great loss for him and his brothers and their wives, their children, their mothers, fathers, girlfriends, siblings... I can not begin to imagine the feelings of powerlessness that Noah, Dave and the others feel to be here and not there... I know there is nothing more I can say or do to make the pain any less for the families or for Noah or Dave or Capt. C., or the soldiers still fighting in Iraq...
I have heard from the mom of a tank driver in the same area who feels guilty because they drove the road just hours before and they didn't see the IED... they didn't capture any terrorists planting the IED... my son and Dave feel guilty because they think maybe if they had been there maybe they would have seen it -- stopped it... I feel guilty because I'm glad my son was not there knowing it could have been him in the driver's seat or in the gunner's place.
Another milblogger asked me, "What can I do?" I asked Noah the same question, "Is there anything we can do?" "No, Ma. There's nothing anyone can do right now." All we can do now is pray for the souls of these departed heros... Pray for strength for their families... Pray for the healing of the spirits of the comrades so helpless in this situation (those here and there)... And pray for the safety of our soldiers until they all come home. Please remember these heroes and their families in your prayers.
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