Daily Life of a Marine Mom

A Piece of My Heart is home from Iraq


Friday, September 16, 2005

You wake up in the morning and start getting ready for your day. You turn on your tv to the morning news and as you are preparing for a new start you hear on the news the offhand remark (or so it seems to you) from a newscaster that a Marine has died today in a province that you know. It is where your son and most of his battalion is stationed. You try to turn your thoughts to somewhere else, anywhere else, there are a lot of companies there, but you mourn the loss already. You pray. You pray for the lost Marine and his family, you pray for his brothers and friends. But in your heart you know it is already too late for one Marine, for his family, for his wife if he has one, for his children.

Your thoughts turn to *Is it someone my son knows? Is it someone whose mother or family I know?*. Your son's company's family is your lifeline. They are the only ones that really know what you feel, the fear and hope bound together in an endless circle. Memories of your son's gentle, strong, warm hugs and his awesome ways flow unbidden into your thoughts. You grab those memories tight with all your strength as if they were a life preserver and you were drowning, desperately fighting for air. Then you pray some more.

The fear that you feel a litle bit everyday starts to build, creeping into your mind like a thief in the night, pulling your bad thoughts from hidden dark corners and forcing them into the light. If you live in a town, every car that goes by and slows has you cringing with terror, afraid that two uniforms are going to stop in front of your house and get out to come up to your door. The morbid thought that they always send two bashes its way into your head. If you live in the country where few cars pass your house and home, its even worse if that is possible. You won't answer or look if someone knocks on your door in the early morning. You wouldn't be able to, standing frozen with dread as the horrible sound of your night-time terrors come to awful, real life. You listen for an approaching vehicle while saying to yourself *NO NO NO, I can't think like this*.

You pull the hope that you carry from the dark recess the fear pushed it into and you fan it with all the breathe you can produce to bring it back to life. You cry for a lost hero and his family and for yourself. In your heart your own son dies a little death every time you hear news like this. You mourn him for just one moment with your whole being even though you trust in God and his angels to protect them. Then you THRUST that thought away from you and worry about if he was near and saw a brother die. IT CAN'T BE YOUR SON. But somewhere, someplace, some mother is feeling the same way and it IS her son. Your heart breaks for this OTHER family, but still the fear holds your own heart in its clammy, cold, uncaring palms. You wait to hear from your son or from someone else that they have lost their own.

You consider NEVER listening to the news. But you know, you FEEL in every fiber of your being, that every Marine that dies deserves your grief. They laid down their life honorably for you and yours. Maybe they saved your son's life with their actions. You won't, you CANNOT stop listening to the news even though it can bring on the horrible, lost feelings in an instant. It tears you up inside right down to the hidden core of your soul. But you know you have to learn to live with it. You are in mourning for every one of the lost.

Thus you wait ... to hear.



The Marine that we lost was from Eric's battalion. LCpl . Shane Swanberg was killed by an incoming mortar yesterday in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. It was his first tour of duty in Iraq, he had only been there a few days. My thoughts and prayers are with his mother and family as they deal with the loss of this fine young man.

May God be with all our Marines and their families during this time and forever. I will be posting a tribute to Shane soon.

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