(Still) Hard to Be A Soldier's Mom
The news of the soldiers killed and missing this weekend had me running to the reference sources looking at Our Guys' FOB and outpost info and the location of the attack as reported by the media. They're geographically close and our worry is intensified. Last night my soldier called to wish me Happy Mother's Day (it was Mother's Day where he was...) and we talked about the incident. We talked again of the code soldiers have in such cases. It made me shudder... as a mom... that we ask our young men (and women) to even consider their mortality in such terms, and knowing the love and guts it takes to promise each other those things.
I could hear his voice tighten and his words came hard and fast. If it was possible, I could hear his stress level increase. I imagined his worry... his thoughts pingponging between the past and the present. I hope he doesn't have to attend more memorial services... hope there are no more condolence calls to young wives and holding young sons and daughters on his lap. I know that he is reliving many of the events of his unit's last deployment in the recesses of his brain... and I know he wishes in other parts of his head that he was there... and me thanking the Lord that he is not... but I still have men I love there... in the fray.
I remember vividly the details of the horrific, mind-numbing murders of Thomas Tucker and Kristian Menchaca and how horrified I was... I still am. I know Noah remembers even if he has never spoken to me about them... I know every soldier is thinking about that today. And determind to find their missing brothers.
And as each of our children called today, I had such a tightness in my chest and tears in my eyes knowing that there are five moms -- one an Iraqi mom -- hearing the news of their sons' deaths... on Mother's Day. And there are three other moms who have heard that their sons are missing... and they're remembering the stories of Thomas and Kristian. There are eight mothers who will not sleep tonight...
And tens of thousands more mothers... and wives... will not sleep because of the news blackout... they know their sons/spouses are out there looking... in harms way... that their men are up against a determined foe who knows no mercy... no decency... it is every parent's nightmare. I have said many times before that every parent (and every spouse) has that nightmare that something will happen to their child/spouse and that they can't get there. My sleeping and waking nightmare is that one of the children need us and we can't get there... to where they are. We lived that once, but I cannot begin to imagine the suffering that these parents -- American and Iraqi -- are experiencing tonight.
Recently I met a mom whose son has joined the Marines and leaves tomorrow morning for boot camp. She's a nervous wreck. I tried to offer encouragement, but I never pull punches with military moms: I try to help them be stronger and tell them that there are many out there who are proud of their children -- how I am proud of their children -- as they should be -- and that I'm proud of them (the parents) for raising such fine people. They are a wonderful, startling, incredible minority... worthy of our respect... and our worry. I tell them it is hard to be a soldier's mom... or a Marine's mom. Today, it is really hard.
All of us are praying that these men are found... alive... unharmed. I am praying with all my might. I am praying for their families -- their moms, their dads, their wives, children. I want them to know we are praying with them and worrying with them... and hoping with them. Hoping and praying. There is no more that we can do.
And we are praying also for the families of those we have lost... whom they have lost... I hope they know we are mourning with them... and that we are so very sorry for their loss... so very sorry ... and grateful... as individuals and as a Nation.
Yes, it is hard to be a soldier's mom.... or dad... or spouse. For some today, it is the most difficult thing they have ever done...
Copyright 2007 Some Soldier's Mom. All rights reserved.
And when the day has all but ended
When the fog has finally lifted
Now comes the night
- Rob Thomas, "Now Comes the Night"