24 September 2007

Lone Soldier

Over the course of the weekend, there was a singular death of an American troop in Afghanistan.

In consideration of the lives that have been lost since the "war on terror" began, a small number. In reality, much, much more than that.

I didn't hear of this death as I usually do, half-listening to CNN, my emotions numbed to the reality of what each loss means. I heard of this death from my sister, who called me at 12:48 a.m. this morning. She paused before she spoke, which made my heart leap.

"We got a bad phone call." I sat up straight in bed as I listened to her faltering voice.

"Why?" I had questioned, "Tell me."

"Because M was killed."

I listened to her crying, and we sat whispering in the dark, speaking in hushed tones of the horror of it; the car pulling up the driveway, (did his parents hear it approaching and know what would follow?) the knocking, the hesitancy with which they probably opened the door, at that hour, the most likely instantaneous realization of what those men standing in front of them meant. The rate at which your world could crash around you.

I thought of my nephew, how inconsolable I would be were this fate his. I thought of my children, how I was unsure if I could move on, having to say goodbye to them, having to think of how they died, having to wonder what it was for.

I've used my blog to speak of how I feel of this war; to mock the president with FARK headlines and dictionary definitions, a counter of the costs of this war keeping a running tally of the fiscal expenses. Those expressions seem trite and small now.

It's one thing to speak of it from a distanced space, it's something different to speak of it while imagining the gravel crunching under the feet of the men knocking on your door to tell you your son is dead, imagining your phone ringing to make you aware that the child you held and boy you played with is no more.

The ripple effect of his death will exist forever; multiply that by all the others lost, and what is that number? I don't know the exact answer, but I do know that it adds up to all of us.

Godspeed M.

43 comments:

flutter said...

Godspeed

b*babbler said...

I'm so very sorry. I'm Canadian, and while we have had our losses, nothing has been on the magnitude of what your country is currently experiencing.

Every weekend I watch the Sunday morning news with George Stephanopoulous, and take a moment to reflect as they pay tribute to those lost that week.

I can only hope that with a leadership change next year that perhaps, finally, the losses will lessen, and there will be no more feet crunching on gravel, or another destroyed family.

PDX Mama said...

I am so sorry. So very, very sorry.

I know that numbness you're talking about. We develop armour to it all. We don't want to think about it. Every day the count goes up and I try so hard to not let in, to not think about what a mother or father goes through in getting the worst possible news about their baby.

I am so sorry for your family's loss.

Jennifer said...

I am so deeply sorry for your sister and brother in law's loss and that of his brother and his family. The imagery your post created brought such a sense of loss to me and many tears. I will remember this family in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing their story. You are right...it makes it all the more real and sadder yet.
Jennifer

Becc said...

I heard about MB on the news this evening. We had another from IR die just a few months back. Now one of Lance's dearest friend's son is being sent into the heart of Baghdad tomorrow.

The soldiers were put on a buddy system and told to look to the man next to him. "One of you WILL NOT be coming back.", they were told.

Lance's friend buried his mother today. Now he and his wife will pray for their son.

slouching mom said...

Oh, no.

It's a tragedy.

And a travesty.

Blog Antagonist said...

Senselese tragedy is the very worst kind. My condolences to your brother-in-law's family. I hope some day they will be able to heal.

Lawyer Mama said...

I'm so so very sorry.

My brother is heading to Iraq at the end of the year and I'm terrified. But it doesn't seem real yet. I hope that it never does in the way that it does now for your BIL.

((HUGS))

Kellan Rhodes said...

This, of course, made me very sad. I am sorry to your sister and her family! I am sad for all of us.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Thanks for the horrific reminder that these soldiers are NOT JUST numbers. We've become so immune, so numb, to the actual-ness (I think I just made that word up) of it all.

Sincere condolences.

Bean said...

I was going to blog about it, but knew that you would do much more justice than I ever could. I shake my head every time I hear the rising numbers of the death toll on the news...numb to it all just like we all are. But this...this made it hit home.

Godspeed M. Thank you for your ultimate sacrafice.

ALM said...

I'm so very sorry. But thank you for reminding me that there are people behind the numbers.

jess said...

Oh, this is so very hard to read. My baby brother is in Iraq and I worry so much about him. My thoughts and prayers are with your sister and her husband's family.

KC said...

Oh, Jenn. How horrific. How wrong this all is. xo

Ally said...

Oh, Jenn, I am so sorry.

Mamma said...

Would that not one more life is lost in this ridiculously contrived war.

I am so sorry for your family. The anger I feel at the war does not diminish the sadness I have when I hear of the death of yet another soldier (or civillian for that matter).

Godspeed indeed M. You will be in my thoughts tonight.

Christine said...

i just saw a friend today who is leaving for Afghanistan in january. i could barely look at him.

godspeed, yes. . .

Major Bedhead said...

I'm so sorry. What a tragedy. I can't even imagine.... My heart goes out to you and your family.

InTheFastLane said...

I think all the time how every number they give us has a family and people that love them and will miss them terribly. I am sorry for your family's loss.

Not a Princess said...

I am so sorry that your family has suffered this horrible loss. My father in law is leaving for Afghanistan in October. Not a soldier, a DOD supply person. I'm so worried for him and for all of them...

JustMe said...

thanks jenn. moving. heartfelt. appreciate your thinking of us...

canape said...

So very sorry to hear this.

Thank you to M and his family for his selfless giving. It shouldn't have ended this way.

Her Grace said...

My thoughts and prayers are with them.

Oh, The Joys said...

I am so sorry for your family's loss. So very sorry.

jen said...

oh jenn. oh no. i am so, so sorry.

i hate this war so damn much.

Jennifer said...

The father of a little boy and little girl at my son's school was killed last year. It is...difficult...to face head-on the reality of the numbers that are almost casually tossed about on the news. The news reports the number as one sentence in a broadcast and moves on. The little boy and little girl at my son's school live with "a single casualty" every day.

I am so very sorry for your family's loss.

Tuesday Girl said...

Terrible. Just terrible

Janet said...

I can't even imagine the horror.

So sorry for your family's loss and pain.

painted maypole said...

thank you for sharing this difficult moment with us - it helps make it more personal and rea.l i"m sorry you have to live it, but appreciate your willingness to share it.

Amy York said...

I'm sorry for your family's loss. I hate to think of the number of families for which this has become a reality ~ not just something to read about in the paper or watch on CNN like me. It's just awful.

Leslie said...

My condolences and respect to you and your family.

Godspeed indeed.

Christine said...

I don't pray often, but I will for M and all who grieve him.

I'm so very, very sorry.

April Brandon said...

I don't know the words to express my sorrow for your family.

Orangeblossoms said...

Godspeed, M...

Jenn, my heart and prayers are with all of you.....

Justice Jones said...

So sorry. Sending your family hugs and prayers.

ewe are here said...

My cousin recently landed in Iraq (in fact, I just posted about it briefly on Tuesday); it's a phone call my family lives in fear of.

My thoughts are with your family.

Aimee said...

I'm so, so sorry to hear about this.

Prayers for all are going up right now.

MP said...

I'm so sorry for your families loss.
My cousin's son just joined the Marine's. We're very proud of him, yet very scared..he's not though. It takes a very brave person to be a solider.

Nancy said...

Prayers and thoughts for this family.
I am so very sorry for the loss.

Grown men and women, yet still, someone's baby.

Kelly said...

Oh, Jenn. I am so sorry. It's not right, on so many levels. Each soldier is someone, everyone, to a family. Wishing some peace for your sister and brother-in-law, and for your family.

Candace said...

this is my first time at your blog. I don't know what to write. this is an awful loss. there are no words. thank you for posting.

Hol&J said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you. (I found you via OTJ.)

Anonymous said...

I want to thank everyone for thier thought and prayers. Now please read on and I pray that you will see my point of view.....

You wonder what it was for? (paragraph 10) FREEDOM? We Americans are so spoiled and have no idea of the horror's that other countries are going through and furthermore what other countries have GONE THROUGH in the past 100 years. Do you not think that the HUMANS LIVES that we protect are any less valuable than your own? Because they weren't born to freedom, that they don't deserve it? If you really are concerned for soldiers and thier families, start defending them verbally! We can complain about leaders all day long. It took more than one person to get us where we are today, do you forget how and why this all began? 9-11 people. I know you all have the right to your own opinions. But PLEASE DO NOT INSULT MY SONS SACRIFICE BY WONDERING WHY HE WAS FIGHTING AND WHAT IT WAS ALL FOR!

Yes the loss is unimaginable, every day I wake and wish it weren't true, I cry every night because I can't pray for my own son's safety and well being anymore, but I can pray for the rest of them. My family' hearts are broken, my heart has a huge hole in it, but yet I can walk and breath and have the freedoms I enjoy, because of men and women who understand that this freedom is more than just a bunch of people voting on things, it takes ACTION. I am so profoundly grateful that I had the gift of Matthew for 27 years. I would never trade it, ever... God only lends them to us, we must remember that!

So hug your family members tonight and remember the others who are fighting for our values and giving others hope who may not have had ANY before.

ARMYMOM
Cheryl B
In Memory of SFC Matthew Blaskowski
KIA 23 September 2007