Honoring and remembering the sacrifices of Mothers who have lost a son or daughter to war.
This is an email a Gold Star Mother, whom I’ll call “A.”, sent to me in 2006 after I asked her for a note for the condolence book I was putting together for a Mother whose son was coming home by way of Dover Air Force Base… in a flag-draped casket.
Subject: Do I tell them?
Date: 1/25/2006 2:18:05 PM
Please help me!
What do I say to her on the loss of their son? Do I lie to them to try to make them feel better? Or do I tell them the truth and what lies ahead?
Do I tell them that their life as they once knew it, is over, that they will never be the same again? Do I warn them that each passing day their hearts will break all over again? Do I tell them that the many stages of their lives are now only in two stages… before he died and after he died?
Do I tell them that they will never be happy again, that there will be days that they’ll laugh, but happiness will elude them? Do I tell them about the days that all they’ll want to do is scream? Do I tell them that the other days all they’ll do is cry?
Do I tell them about the nights they’ll listen for his footsteps on the porch and wait for the door to open? Do I tell them when they go to bed at night, they’ll pray that when they awaken in the morning they’ll find it was all just a horrible dream, or pray that they don’t wake up at all?
Please tell me, what do I say to them? My heart breaks for them, and all I can say is, “I know what you feel, I understand and I know the depth of your pain.”
Love as always,
As my heart broke and the tears flowed for both of my friends, whose sons’ had died under similar circumstances in Iraq, I didn’t know what to say to her…
“A.” had lost her son, a Marine, in 2005 near Karmah, Iraq. Almost a year later the grief was still there as if it was just yesterday when the car pulled up in front of her home with the Casualty Officers bearing the devastating news about her son’s death.
Since 2001, at least 6,820 active duty Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen have lost their lives while serving our Nation. Some during combat – hostile and non-hostile, and some during their recovery from war injuries. This number doesn’t include DoD civilian employees who were in the combat zones, nor does it include Veterans who died after completing their military contracts who served during this time period. I don’t know if it includes active duty stateside deaths during training or after duty hours.
4,478 United States service members from 2003 thru 2012 died in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation New Dawn (OND), combined, according to the defense.gov website (http://www.defense.gov/NEWS/casualty.pdf).
In Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), according to the above site, from 2001 thru September 25, 2014, and including Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Yemen, there have been 2,342 US military deaths.
All I know to say is, “I’m so sorry…”
But that doesn’t bring the sons and daughters we loved before they were born, back to us. Does it?
The following organizations are just a few supporting our Gold Star Families.
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
Gold Star Dads of America
Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.
Love and Hugs,