Last week our neighbor’s son enlisted into the US Navy and began his days of boot camp. His mother messaged me “ How could you do this four times? I was not prepared for this amount of pain –it is excrutiating.” Yes-yes it is. That first step of letting go-the realization of everything that this means, what it stands for ….Excrutiating is a good word for it. I replied, “ the pain will be surpassed by the immense pride you will feel when you see him standing proudly, knowing that he has followed his calling-that he is doing his duty. That is what keeps us from falling apart.”
A few days later I was unable to stop watching the news as the horrors of Chattanooga unfolded. I began praying and hoping that things would not be as bad as it seemed. And now we know that everyone’s worst nightmare came true-we lost five of our nations finest that day.
Every service member knows the day they take their oath that the day may come that they may be called to give their lives in our nations service. We mothers know that too. And that is why it is so difficult to ponder that concept for too long. We know that war is hell and when our children deploy we prepare and put on our body armor at home to cope with all that entails. But we never expect to be ambushed here at home. The fact that this all occurred just a few miles away from where they lived on home soil, not thousands of miles away on a battlefield? It is all too horrible to contemplate.
But this is what I know-focusing on bad thoughts and the negative will hurt me. After so many deployments I know that living in fear only breeds more fear. I know I must look to the light. I will pray for the families of the fallen and look for ways I can lift them up. I will grieve with them and honor their loved ones. I will continually remind myself that God is in control and that I need to practice being brave and being strong even when I don’t necessarily feel that way inside. And I will never forget the heroes who have sacrificed their lives in Chattanooga that day:
Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan
Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt
Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist
Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells
Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Randall Smith
And I will look with hope to the future heroes who keep stepping forward to serve every day, because they have been called to protect and defend this nation no matter what the costs. Onward in their honor and memory.