I volunteer with my local chapter of Blue Star Mothers but as a spouse I'm considered an associate member. These mothers have embraced me with open arms and even though some of their children are my age, they treat me as one of them. About two weeks ago I got an email asking if I would be willing to travel with another mother to visit the family of a fallen hero and deliver a condolence book. Yes. Sgt. and I went to a local charity event last night so my parents had BG all weekend and today was the day we delivered the book; there were two other mothers and myself.
The family lives about two hours away from me so I threw the iPod in the car, opened the sunroof and hit the interstate. I met the other two BSMs there and was able to look through the book before we knocked on the family's door. This was the first time I had been done this and I had never seen a condolence book done by the Marine Moms group who put it together. It immediately brought tears to my eyes. I don't know how many pages it had in it but all letters, notes, poems, etc. that had been sent in for this fallen Marine had been scrapbooked and cataloged in a nice leather Marine scrapbook. I ran my fingers over the pages and I looked intently at his picture. I prayed God give us the strength to present this to the family and that our visit go well.
We lined up and knocked on the door and the father answered with his mother standing about three steps behind him. We introduced ourselves, shook hands and they invited us into their home. They are not originally from our state but their other son and his family live there so that is where they brought their some home to rest and decided to make a new home for themselves. P presented the book to his parents and his mom ran her hands over the emblem on the front and graciously said thank you. They flipped through some of the pages and put it back on the table and said they would read through it later. It was a bit awkward at first with everyone on the edges of their seats not sure whether to get comfortable or not. After about 15 minutes or so, their other son and family stopped by and everyone relaxed a bit. This family. Wow, what to say about them other than they are incredible and that isn't even the best word to describe them. They told us of their son's 19 year career with the Marine Corps and all the places he had traveled and tasks he had done. His dad said no matter where he was, if there was a conflict he felt led to be there. After he finished up an overseas assignment, he asked to be sent to Iraq and he was. The exact words of his father were, "If he said it once he said it one hundred times, 'This is where I belong and if something should happen to me, you know I died for what I believe in.'" That brought them comfort.
Our conversation was about him and his life, Sgt. and our family and the careers and tours of the two mothers' sons. We told them about our work with BSMs and my work with Soldiers' Angels. They were very appreciative of our visit and the work that went into the condolence book. Before we left, his dad gave me a hug and I hugged him tight. I hugged his mother tight. I told both of them early in our visit that their family was a part of our family and I was proud to have met them. I thanked them for allowing us into their home and his mother hugged me again and held my hand. She told me she would pray for Sgt. for his upcoming tour. I thanked her.
We were at their home for about an hour and a half. There were a few tears shed. They shared some pretty intimate details with us. We laughed. We hugged. We left.
I've not done a lot of things in my life I consider to be amazing but this visit I will call amazing. Their spirit. Their love. Their dedication. I am proud to have met them. I am proud they chose to invite us into their lives so openly. I am proud to have been able to be a small part of the healing of their souls. It renewed so many things within my soul and my heart. I didn't know what to expect on the drive up but I think I left a better person than I went in. I've always felt that if one person benefits from the things I do, even just a little, it makes all the time and effort worth it. These fine folks proved that to me today.