I have been thinking a lot about the moms who had sons in Noah's unit that were killed during their deployment this last year. I have corresponded with a few of them over these last months, but don't know quite what to say to them as Mother's Day looms. My heart aches with grief for all the mothers who have lost a child in this war. American. Italian. Polish. Canadian. Iraqi. I'm not sure I would ever be able to celebrate Mother's Day again if any of our children died. It just would not be the same.
I mentioned to my girlfriend Ella over lunch yesterday about how my whole perspective on life changed once Noah went to Iraq... and how nearly losing him put my own mortality into perspective. How it crystallized and intensified my love for my children (which I thought impossible for I love my children more than my own life!) When I mentioned that it would be impossible to celebrate Mother's Day if I lost any of my children, she said how that might be unfair to my other children.
Many of the mothers that lost sons or daughters in Afghanistan and Iraq have other children. But how can I wish them a Happy Mother's Day? I know it won't be. I know that they will be thinking of their sons and daughters not with them. Of course, that's my motherly perspective. I am reminded of a story -- an analogy -- I heard many years ago about a mother grieving the loss of one of her ten children. A man told her how lucky she was that she still had nine children left. To which she replied, "Well, you have ten fingers. Which one would you be willing to have cut off?" When he looked at her aghast, she continued, "After all, you would still have 9..."
This year Mother's Day has a whole new meaning for me. Last year, I got flowers from each of the children, including flowers from Noah while in Iraq (isn't the internet a wonderful thing??) But having had to face his mortality for the second time in his short life, I count myself incredibly lucky this year to be celebrating another Mother's Day with all of my children (although none will be here in Arizona with us.)
There should be Mother's Day. We should celebrate the love and sacrifice of our mothers. However, if I were a Gold Star Mother, I'm not sure I could celebrate. Not in the traditional sense anyway. I send my heartfelt sympathy to the mothers of our fallen heroes this Mother's Day. In all honesty, the thought of these women losing their children makes me cry. There are no words that will heal that wound. But to those mothers, I say "We honor you and your children."
And to those mothers who have children in harm's way this Mother's Day, know that we are thinking of you... I know exactly what that's like and have described the whole "worrying and waiting to hear" as a constant mental asthma attack -- gasping for any news, any word... to have an IM, to hear their voice, to get a letter or an email. Know that we salute you this Mother's Day and stand with you.
I have guilty twinges celebrating Mother's Day when I know that these women mourn and that these women wait. In the past, I really felt a part of Mother's Day -- it was my day after all. I don't feel all that important this Mother's Day and all I really want is to talk with each of my children tomorrow... to hear their voices. To have them say that they love me. It's all I'll ever want for Mother's Day from now on. I am so grateful to have them here with me.
Last year I extended my wishes for the mothers of Iraq, and those wishes still hold true. I want a better life for their children. But added to that, this year I am wishing for all mothers of America's soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines that this is the last Mother's Day any of our children needs to be in Iraq or Afghanistan or any place someone is shooting at them. I know that's all probably pie in the sky given all the madmen still on the loose and all the tribal, ethnic, religious and other fighting going on in the world, but I wish it any way. I want my children -- sailor and soldier, medical student and American worker -- to be safe and living in peace every Mother's Day from now on. What I want for Mother's Day... Peace.
Copyright Some Soldier's Mom 2006. All rights reserved.