I am the only spouse in my state's Blue Star Mothers group. When I joined a year ago, there were approximately 10 members. We are now 80+ with three chartered chapters and two on the way. Not bad for a year's time. As an associate member, I can't hold office or anything like that but I can support. I rallied for a chapter closer to my house because I, and others, were driving 3 hours for a meeting. I found a mom who's pretty close to me and we made it happen. Our first meeting had the 5 we needed to have a chapter and since then we've grown another 10.
Today I was sent an email about a fallen hero from my area; his home of record is near me and his parents are not too far, just across the state line. This hero was in her son's unit until about 6 weeks ago when he and some others were transferred to another unit. He was killed by an IED in Afghanistan. The mom who contacted me has been friends with the hero's mom for the three years since their sons became part of the same unit and have provided support for each other numerous times.
I was contacted to ask did I receive any kind of notification of his death and did I know any arrangements. No, I didn't. I did get the DOD notification and there was a small blurb in the paper where his parents live. I started working on it, though. Actually, a member from another chapter in my state sent me contact names for the PGR who may know something but we're waiting to see where the hero will come home to. He was my neighbor by locale and family by military. I never knew this hero and I don't know his family. I feel helpless. The other mom is flying in from California and is hoping to meet this young CPL when he returns home. I offered to help her find a hotel room, give recommendations or whatever I can. I didn't know what else to say. I told her to pass along my phone number, etc. to anyone who may have a need for it. I didn't know what else to say. This mom got choked up on the phone because her dear friend is grieving terribly. She didn't have the words to finish. I simply told her it was okay. I understood. But, to be honest, I don't. I'm a spouse. I'm not a mom.
My BSM group will be doing the condolence book for this fallen hero. I presented one back in the spring but I've never worked making one. I have begun gathering the materials and the other mom in my group is putting the word out requesting condolences. As a BSM, I've done the cheery: care packages, letters, passing out cards, etc. This is totally new territory for me. I will give my best. I will do my best. My commitment to our brothers and sisters, as well as their families, is unwavering support and to do my best. I hope as I step up to this new layer of duty for a fallen hero I won't fail.
Please keep the family of CPL Joshua Blaney in your thoughts and prayers. By family I mean immediate as well as his brothers and sisters in arms. We pray God will bless them and keep them in his care.