run for the fallen

there’s no way to prepare for it.  there’s no class they teach us.  there’s no book we can read.  there’s not even really a panel of experts we can seek out and ask how to prepare for this.

it’s the one thing every military spouse dreads (and i’m sure those of other first responders can relate).  it’s a simple action.  a simple knock on your door by two soldiers dressed in their dress uniforms.  and you know why they are there before they even say the first word.  it’s the moment when your whole world comes crashing down around you.  and there’s nothing you can do to prepare for it.

it’s been nearly three years since that day.  i got a text message from my g.i. joe saying they were going to ‘black out’ which meant all communication was to seize at his location because something had gone terribly wrong.  it would be 24 hours before i knew what had gone terribly wrong in our world.  i knew it wasn’t my g.i. joe, but i when my mum called me into the living room and asked me if marcus was from the area, i knew immediately just 25 miles west of our house our friend’s world had come crashing down around her.

what i didn’t know for months on end until my g.i. joe came home was that day, april 28, 2008, he was suppose to be right where marcus had been.  but for some God-given reason, God had other plans that i am so thankfully for everyday.

i made some meals and took them to jules and heather, her sister, who happen to be married to marcus’s best friend who was now accompanying his body home one last time.  in the coming days there was a memorial, the body arrived to full honors complete with a spray-over from the fire department and full police escort.  and then came the 21-gun salute and the folding of the flag.  and there through it all, i stood by jules and heather and knew this was as close as i would come to preparing myself for that kind of day.

later that august a group of soldiers decided they wanted to honor their fallen comrades.  they wanted to run from ft. irwin in california to arlington national cemetry in washington, d.c.  and along the way, they wanted to dedicate each mile to a special fallen comarde.  and they called upon us, a nation, to dedicate just one mile in august to the memories of those who gave their all for our freedom.

i’ve done three runs now.  and every year, that one little mile seems to be the longest mile ever.  i always make a t-shirt for lil man and myself and on the back make sure to add the names of those we’ve lost.  for the last two years we’ve worn marcus’s name along with jake’s, a friend of mine whose death was played out in the media (he was one of the three soldiers kidnapped from his base in iraq and killed in the triangle of death as the media reported it).  this year i added another name.  and as i walked today (lil man skipped today because he had soccer, and that’s a ‘daddy & lil man’ thing) i knew i wasn’t walking alone.  not just because i was physically surrounded by others, but because i knew marcus, jake and now jason were there, smiling down and cracking jokes (you know that lady needs to be wearing some bigger shorts, please).

and so, there is no class, no book, no panel of experts to prepare us for that knock on our door or for the news that will bring our world crashing down.  but, for one brief long mile in august, we can show the world that we are more than army strong and will carry on despite our loss.

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  1. I just can’t imagine having to anticipate something like that everyday, hoping it doesn’t happen. You are very strong!!

  2. What an awesome run, to remember those you have lost. I can’t imagine being affected like that.

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