There is nothing quite so wonderful as a loving and caring mother. I didn't have one due to her mental illness and alcoholism, but I slowly healed the hurts by giving of myself to my children the kind of mother I had wanted in my life. It really does make a difference when you give out of love the things you missed out on in childhood. In time the child within me healed by the love returned.
I don't feel sorry for myself anymore about my difficult childhood for without that time spent in an annealing crucible I never would have been able to withstand the challenges life had in store for me down the road. Things happen for a reason sometimes. That doesn't mean that I am unaffected by other people having horrid childhoods for it does reach deep inside me making me wonder what a person could have become with love and support in place of stress, abuse, neglect and anger. It is a tribute of personal strength to overcome such a childhood and go on to lead a productive life.
Two holidays during the year are the toughest for me: Thanksgiving and Mother's Day. It is that empty place at the table, that voice that won't chime in with a quip during a family conversation, that hug that was uniquely his, that voice I will never hear again. My two remaining children feel the loss of their brother in those areas too and do all that they can to help me past those moments when loss sneaks up and takes my breath away. For that I am eternally grateful.
As I write this the current death toll of our soldiers stands very close to 3400 with 25,242 wounded. I think of those mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives and children and how they too, feel on holidays with that empty chair at the table, the phone that won't ever ring again, the voice forever silent.
My thoughts move on and I think of all the mothers in Iraq and Afghanistan who in the last five years have lost sons and daughters to George's Meatgrinder™ of a war/occupation. They might not celebrate a Mother's Day such as we do in this country, but I'm sure there is not a day that goes by that they don't miss their children as much as we miss ours. The god-awful death toll in that country insures they have plenty of company in their sorrow.
I think of all the exhausted mothers sitting at home, worrying day and night if they will hear that knock on the door for I was once there, but not nearly so fearful, during Gulf 1. Time stood still for a short time by comparison to the repeated tours being endured this time around for so many families.
And then the next ripple in the pool of thoughts moves on to mothers throughout time who have watched sons march off to countless battles under someone's banner for a cause conceived by men believed right, when in their hearts, the mothers knew no cause was ever really just enough to warrant the spilling of their child's blood. No, there is no mother that ever looks into the eyes of their newborn wishing they will grow up to be cannon fodder.
As we evolve as humans we seem to specialize in ever more deadly ways to kill and maim one another. And as we build the arsenals of annihilation we seem to lose the capacity to speak and find common ground to get along in this world. Our ability to instantly communicate with any corner of the globe withers in the face of such unskilled political leaders this country currently endures. If our skills and desires for peace were truly balanced with the ability to make war or defend ourselves then the world would be a far better place - except for the greedy war profiteers.
I’m grateful to Cindy Sheehan who one day sat down by the side of a road because she just wanted a question answered and thereby unleashed a pent-up outpouring of frustration and rage at this shameful war/occupation. You may not approve of everything she has done or how she went about it while she was swept up in the tide of cultural celebrity, but the fact remains she was heart-broken and deserved answers she never got. Her humble act gave a voice and a symbol for us to let loose our cries for peace
I pay homage this day to everyone who has ever written a letter, held a sign, marched in protest, spoken out, gotten involved in political action because you all are truly the patriots of our time.
So with a mixture of sorrow and joy I give you my thoughts on this Mother’s Day, 2007, with the hope that by next year at this time more will speak of peace than war to the point that we can end this travesty and bring our troops home.
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