Things change when you join a family whose members served, or serve, in the military. You pay closer attention to war coverage, pictures, news footage and reports from the field. You worry when your loved one is deployed. You take it a bit personally when our soldiers are killed. When I heard the report several days ago about the soldiers who had been kidnapped in Iraq a knot formed in my stomach. I didn’t have a good feeling about the likely outcome. When I heard reports about the efforts to find and rescue them, I knew that if my stepson was presently deployed he’d have been among those efforts. I prayed that they would have success. This morning I grieved when I learned that our soldiers from Ft. Campbell would come home in a box. Ft. Campbell is our “home post,” the nearest base to us, and the one from which Ken retired. This hits close to home. This feels personal. My heart is heavy and my tears are hot.
In a few weeks my stepson will be deployed again, and he will reenter what I think of as the field of danger. From the moment he departs, I start to count down the days until he returns. One day closer to safety. One day closer to having him within reach.
I fear there is no end to this conflict, to the heartbreak of families and the grief of a nation. My prayers feel so fragile, and yet all I can do is pray.
To those who have been lost, rest in peace. For the rest, may we be granted peace.