Saturday, June 21, 2008
The past couple of weeks has been particullary hard. My son's Company lost 3 soldiers. Sgt. Cody Legg, Sgt. Shane Duffy and Spc. Emard while engaging insurgents in firearms and grenades. When I heard the news, my heart sank...I knew one of the fallen soldiers. Before they deployed, my husband and I flew out to see our son on base. There we were met by my son, Spc. Emard and shortly thereafter his family. We pretty much spent 4 days with them. Emard was a character. He seemed to like tuning up his mother with various things, I think just to get a rise. It was funny to watch but you could tell he loved his family. We also met his sister and niece. Cute baby and a nice mom. My son took to the niece. For most of the time he took care of the infant. That was interesting to see how interacted with the baby. He even volunteered to change her diapers and then telling everyone who was within earshot he just changed his first diaper. It wasn't even his child.
The one thing a parents dread more than anything else, is to have 2 uniform military personell show up at their doorstep. This is something every parents truly dreads; the notification that their son or daughter has been killed. It is my understanding that if they show up in dress uniform, the soldier is dead, if they show up in bdu's, then the soldier is seriously injured. Either way, no one wants them at their doorstep. When I got the news, all I kept thinking was how very sad I was for the families. Knowing that 3 families out there just had their whole life torn apart.
The wonderful thing about being a military parent is that if you are fortunate to establish contact with other parents in your child's unit you form bonds. I always laugh to myself of how strong the mothers' bond tend to be. For me, the bond has come from some of my son's friends. Some that I have met prior to deployment, some by phone, and some on a website for Proud Army Moms. Once we find another mom who has a son or daughter in the same unit and/or base, we kinda cling to each other. I have several mothers that I talk to either by email, personal pages or by phone. We help each other get through deployment. Sometimes we employ our soldiers to pass on information for us to another soldier for another mother. I have always told my son to never underestimate the power of mom.
When the news broke out, so did a lot of emails from mothers. "Is your son ok?", "how is your son?" and we all cried. We cried for the mothers who lost their sons, we cried for our soldiers and we cried for us. I've heard that funerals are for the survivors and death is harder on the survivors. The ones that are left behind are left with survivors' guilt, anger, sorrow and the feeling of being lost. Soldiers face PTSD, Combat Stress, Suvivors' Guilt and the grief you feel when you experience the loss of someone close. Everybody suffers and feels the loss. Parents also feel some guilt because while no one wants to wish losing a child on another, you silently pray and thank God it was not your child, and then you feel guilty again. This is normal and I think all parents of military personell goes through this. Now because it's someone you knew, you must now mustard up the courage to call the mother and tell her how sorry you are. This is real tough to do because about this time you realize, you could've been her and this was your child. We military moms must be strong so we make the call. We get off the phone and cry some more.
Attending the funeral is another tough one. You mourn for the family, you mourn for the fallen soldier and you mourn for yourself and your child. You think about what if this was your child. How would you handle this, could you be as brave as the other mother... You then stop yourself, because afterall, this day is not about you or your son, it's about the "other" mother, the one who is now receiving a folded US Flag. Taps begins to play and the gun salute.
I went home after the services and was completely exhausted, both physically and emotionally. I cried some more, I miss my son, I worry about him. I worry about his mental state after going through and seeing the things he's seen. I cried some more and I'm ready for him to come home, I miss him, I love him. I thank God he's still here.
Army Mom Out
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I don't know where to begin as my heart is breaking. June 4, 2008, my son's unit A Company was hit hard and lost 3 soldiers. Legg, Duffy and Emard. I personally knew Emard and his family and he will be sorely missed by his family, brothers in uniform and friends.
I spoke with Emard's mom and she is a wonderful woman. In spite of her loss, she shared concerns with me regarding his "brothers" in Iraq he left behind. She wanted me to let my son know they need to carry on with the work that they do and to no blame themself for his early departure. Wow, I'm not sure I could be so strong to think about others in this great time of sorrow. She told me she would also continue to pray for them all.
My son is having a difficult time with Emard's passing. There is a certain amount of blame he has for himself eventhough there wasn't anything he could do or the reality of it wasn't his fault. But these are the things that soldiers go through when they lose one of their own. Everyone in the military world feels the loss. The families, the friends, and the fellow soldiers. It's hard on other military mothers as well. It's a reminder to us all how short life can be and how dangerous these deployments are.
In some ways it makes me angry. Angry that there are people who haven't given this war a second thought, or who trash these troops who are fighting and dying on behalf of this country. Emard wasn't old, very young man, but old enough to make the ultimate sacrifice for his country. It also reminds me how it angers me to hear those who say, oh your son isn't in Baghdad, then he should be safe. Well tell Emard that, he wasn't in Baghdad and they came under serious gunfire and grenade attacks.
I'm fighting back the tears as I type this so I will close for now. I ask of you while you go about your day and you complain about the traffic, your day at work, your spouse, whatever, remember there are those fighting for you to keep the freedoms we all take for granted. Stop and say a prayer for the men and women fighting for you and the sacrifices they make and their families make.
The picture above is of Duffy and Emard, both KIA June 4, 2008. Not pictured is Legg also KIA, June 4, 2008.
RIP and God Bless.
Army Mom Out