Wednesday, July 05, 2006
HOW FAMILY AND FRIENDS COPE WITH LOSING A LOVED ONE IN WAR
Since Sergeant Kelley L. Courtney gave his life in Iraq in October 2004, it has changed the lives to those left behind to carry on. Of course Kelley left behind a mother, father, grandmother, wife and two small children whose lives will never be the same. But many people do not know that he left behind two brothers, one of whom is Sergeant Donavan Courtney, age 27, that is also a Marine and another brother that I do not know well. In addition, Sergeant Mark Foley, my son also age 27, has been left behind to carry the burden of loss of war.
It is hard to listen and read the words of patriotism offered by politicians and other writers that have no grasp on what it really means to have someone give their life for freedom. It is so much more than ideals of fireworks and marching bands and floats in a parade and pinning of flags on lapels. Donavan or Donny as we call him has divorced from his wife, and they have two small children and now my son Mark is getting a divorce from his wife. Some may say, well divorce happens all of the time, so what is the correlation. Well as Mark's mother, I know what these past two years have been like for him. For instance, I talked to Mark last night before we were going to shoot off fireworks with his little brother Matthew. It was eight o'clock, and Mark who now lives in Virginia was going to bed.
I know my son, and I could feel the pain in his voice, when he said "it's one of those days." Fourth of July is not the same for any of us anymore, and I don't know when it will be or if it ever will be. I thought about going to visit Kelley's parents yesterday to take some flowers, but my husband said that they would probably rather be left alone. I do not call them either because what can I say to make things better for them. Will my words just seem meaningless or will they welcome the call? Mark keeps Kelley's Marine photo on his wall, and sees it every day. I have thought about suggesting that he put the photo away, but who am I to tell him how to handle the grief and guilt he feels for the loss of his friend.
Perhaps time will heal all of our hearts, and allow us to move forward. The candle shown in this writing depicts the light of Kelley that will always burn in our memories. Sometimes, my words seem bitter when I am critical of those that write what seems to be shallow patriotism on Memorial Day and the Fouth of July, and I want them to know so badly what freedom really means. But, truthfully, I do not really want others to suffer with this heart breaking pain. God Bless.