Sunday, June 11, 2006

I see that Slate magazine has story about what it's like to lose your son in Iraq. Maybe I'll try to link to it:

There are interviews with five families--but the interviews are so incomplete. Time passes, it's been 19 months today since my son was killed, and I can still see those men in uniform coming up my walkway. It makes my blood run cold. Flashbacks? I cannot think of that moment without feeling my stomach sink as I realize that I was right all along: he was not coming back to us. I didn't keep them out of the house or deny their mission. I let them in, we sat down, I sent my 12 year old son into another room, and they told me that Thomas had been killed in combat that morning. I told them, I remember clearly, "This is a nightmare." Then my 12 year old returned to the room to ask what was wrong and I told him. We cried. I called my husband at work and told him about Thomas and that he should get someone else to drive him home. I called my daughter at her job and told her the same thing. We called the Red Cross to get them to tell my younger daughter who was in basic training for the Army Reserves at the time. This took longer than expected, partly because Thomas died on a federal holiday and partly because I asked that a chaplain be present when Maria was told.

I remember asking the notification team to call my pastor because I just couldn't figure out how to find the phone number on the front of our church bulletin. I remember calling the people at the store where I was supposed to work that evening--and at that point, I pretty much broke down. I know I called a few people to relay the message because so many of them turned up that evening. From that time onward, the phone rang continually, people turned up with food or comfort. We didn't have enough chairs.

I think this story is going to come out in pieces. It's hard to think about and if I wait until I think I can do it all at once, it will never happen.


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