We visited over coffee on a Saturday, talking about two young boys who died in two different wars, in different branches of the military, four decades apart.
She lost a son; I a brother. For her, it’s been three years. She goes through her days with a deep sadness that will always penetrate her heart. My mother, gone now for 13 years, lived with the grief for the last 30 years of her life. Mothers don’t raise their sons to be soldiers.
Alex died in Iraq, killed when a roadside bomb exploded. He and 5 others died right there in that tank. You think of tanks being formidable and safe. Tony died while charging up a hill, hand-to-hand combat, barbaric and senseless. Alex was brought home to rest on American soil. Tony was left behind somewhere on a hill that now grows rice.
And so we have two boys, two mothers, two stories, two lives that never had a chance to be. There is no way to make sense of it and no way to come to grips with the insanity of war. All we can do is our best in lifting one another up. Giving each other hope. Letting those we care about know it. For when they are gone, we don’t have another chance to tell them. Our precious children and husbands and wives and friends – hold them dear and whisper soft words of praise. Squeeze their hand. Give them a hug. Say I love you. Say you are special. Say you are my friend. Say, having you here on this earth makes a difference in my life.
If the circle of love is strong enough, I believe anything is possible.