As I start the 3rd year of my blog, Gold Star Mom Speaks Out, I look back and think about where this journey started and where it has taken me.
Two years ago, 2072 US military had been killed in Iraq. Today the number is 3865. Not quite doubled, but close enough. We are no closer to ending this war now than we were back in 2005. The war tally in dollars is currently near $500 billion with no end in sight to the spending. Bush wants more money, $196 billion more, with no restrictions. Democrats were sent to Washington last November to end this war and here we still are. As of November, 2007 was the deadliest year in terms of US deaths for both Afghanistan & Iraq.
Initial voting in the primaries starts in little more than 7 weeks. I wonder what, if anything, will change with a new president. Barring an impeachment miracle, we have 432 hellish days left in the Bush presidency. January 20, 2009 cannot come soon enough; how much more damage can he do to our country in those remaining days?. Healing may begin on that day, but I fear people are so weary of the beating our Constitution and our population has taken at the hands of the Bush cabal. Do we recognize what our country has become? I do not want Old Glory to represent a country of torture and fear and lies.
Ken's friends continue to be deployed to Iraq; 1 Lt Florence Nightingale is currently sitting in Kuwait, waiting for that plane trip home to civilization, after spending 15 months in hell at the Green Zone in Baghdad. Captain Steve arrived in January 07 as the tip of the spear of the surge or escalation, whatever you want to call it; he's looking at April 08 for his return home to his family & loved ones. Captain Seth left for Iraq last Monday for 15 long months for his second deployment. How can you go back when you know you are marching straight into hell again? And for what reason? How do families bear the burden of sending their loved ones time and time again?
3 years ago, at my son's funeral at Arlington, I vowed to Ken that people would know what it felt like to be a Gold Star mother. People would know what it feels like to lose your only child in a war you didn't support. And mostly I vowed that I would not allow the memories and the lives of this generation of war dead or the returning veterans to be forgotten. For surely with only 1% of our population being affected by the war, forgetting would be easy to do. We owe them more. I hope for the short time you stop here, that you stand in my shoes and know that you never, never want to walk in them.
The most difficult thing a parent can ever do is to bury their child. That is not in the right order of things and it shouldn't have been part of the deal. Regardless of how your child died, it is something you never quite recover from. Your life is now before and after the death and it takes a very long time to figure out what your new normal is. I still haven't figured it out, but one thing I know for sure is I miss Ken more than I can say; I miss him every second, every minute and every hour of every day. He is my last thought at night and my first in the morning. My broken heart aches and I know that there is a part of me that will never know happiness again. I don't wish this life on anyone.
Thanks for joining me along the way; I'm always glad for the company and the comments.