Friday, February 29, 2008

More of a comment today than a recollection. I had to take my 82 year old mother-in-law to a new doctor this morning and during her examination, he noticed a pin she was wearing on her shirt. She wears this pin every day. She got it during the ceremony at Timonium on Memorial Day, 2005 (I lost mine immediately). It shows a helmet, a rifle and a pair of boots with the American flag. It's about an inch or so high, so not tiny. Dr. S asked her what the significance of the pin was and, since she did not hear him, I answered: "My son was killed in Iraq three years ago." I don't know what he expected to hear, but not this. Nonetheless, he expressed sorrow at my loss and hope that the war would be over soon. I know I choked up a little, but the visit went on and I calmed down very soon.

I don't wear anything that's immediately identifiable as belonging to a Gold Star Mother. I know it's part of my identity, but I'm not sure that's where I want to go with random strangers.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Looking at my most recent entry, I realize that I'm going to have to practice with my new camera a little more! The plaque really is quite lovely, and I really like the relief of the hands holding a folded flag--it is copied from a memorial to Maryland victims of terrorism which stands in the cemetery where the ceremony was held: Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium, Maryland. This is a picture of the memorial that day. And you can see that, indeed, the sun was shining.
In May, we also went to Sergeant Bordelon's interment at Arlington National Cemetery. We met his widow, who talked with us a few minutes about Michael and about the letter he had written us, met again two of the soldiers who had been with us for Thomas's funeral, and met Michael's parents. Though the ceremony was relatively short (the funeral had been held in Louisiana as I recall), I am glad we were able to go. Matthew elected to not go--these things have continued to be very hard for him and, as he was just shy of his 13th birthday, it seemed appropriate to allow him to make his own decision about this. But his sisters and dad and I went, our first visit to Arlington since Thomas's death.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sorry for the long pause: various family members have been sick, and it's all been very complicated and involved many doctor visits, and then the PTA stuff got a little out of hand for a couple of weeks. Things could be described as calmer now, or at least a new routine encompassing all of the changes has been settled and I find I have a few minutes to write. I could be unloading my dishwasher right now but that's always true . . .

Also as a result of Governor Ehrlich's reception, I exchanged phone numbers with a couple of the other November 2004 mothers, Martina Burger (Dale Burger, Jr) and Tracy Miller (Nicholas Ziolkowski). Though we did not immediately start talking on a daily basis (and still do not, though we know where the others are), it was comforting to know we had the option. Another Army mother, Linda Faulstich (Raymond Faulstich, Jr; August, 2004) also gave me her number, all written on the back of the program which listed the twelve Marylanders killed in the previous six or so months, along with the numbers of various staffers in the governor's office. I used almost all of those numbers that year. [Linda gave me permission to use her name, and the other two mothers and I, along with Tia Steele (David Branning ) were featured in a Baltimore Sun article about the November 2004 mothers on the first anniversary.]

Memorial Day of 2005, we received an invitation to a ceremony at a cemetery north of Baltimore, again including the governor, as well as the families we'd already met. This was a public event and I was amazed by the number of people who came. I actually don't remember a great deal about it: there were speeches, the families were given very nice plaques which I shall try to photograph and insert here later, and a lapel pin showing the boots, rifle and helmet of a fallen servicemember was handed out. Again, it was a lovely day. Somehow, it did not rain often in my memory of all that time. I'm not sure what the weather reports about those days would say.