When you have loved ones at war, there are certain events and phrases that will literally knock the breath out of you and cause involuntary curse words to escape from you. Last night I had such a moment.
A friend emailed me a "Velvet Hammer". That's what the 3rd Brigade of the 3ID calls a notification to their families that one of their own has been lost. They never give the name and they never send them out until the family has been notified. But just seeing the words "Velvet Hammer" in the Subject line literally takes my breath away and makes my heart skip a beat. And the dreaded "shit" word escaped from my lips. "How can this be?" I think. "It's too early." Then I reprimand myself with, "100 years from now would still be too early." I held my breath and am thinking, "damn! damn! damn!" as I opened the email and quickly scanned the text to find what unit.
It was not Our Guys' unit, but a companion unit. But it was their BCT (Brigade Combat Team). I don't know the circumstances or the location. It doesn't matter. A soldier has died. I don't know if Noah knows, he's on a special assignment out of state for a few days. I hope when he hears the news that they tell him the unit and the soldier's name. It will not bring him much comfort; I hope it does not send him into the memories that haunt him.
The news kept me awake for hours last night and I tossed and turned... I couldn't stop thinking about this soldier's family... Did he have a wife? I can feel the pain of his parents... his siblings... I can imagine the reaction of his aunts and uncles and cousins. I'm certain the news flew through his high school friends in the community where he grew up. Somewhere there is a family in shock, crying and inconsolable this day.... every day for the rest of their lives.
I couldn't keep from thinking about the memorial service for Matt Bohling and thinking that this soldier's brothers -- still Matt's brothers -- would be attending another in the Sandbox and at Ft. Benning... I couldn't stop the memories of Tommy Byrd's funeral from flooding in and the recollection of the grief and the faces of his wife, his brother, his parents -- especially his mother -- cause tears to come to my eyes because somewhere out there tonight is another family engulfed in that same grief.
Our hearts go out to this family... our thoughts and prayers will be with them accompanied by our hope that they find peace... and that the Lord has flung open the gates of Heaven and welcomed this soldier Home with loving arms.
Copyright 2007 Some Soldier's Mom. All rights reserved.