I see you. I see you sitting there, trying to hold everything together. I see you, wondering how you are sitting where you are. Wondering how this could be your new normal.
Your pain is probably indescribable right now. You lost him, and one of your worst fears came true. And now you are here, ready for the ceremony to begin.
Your children are by your side, they are too young to understand, or maybe they are not too young? Maybe they will remember this day, the day to honor their daddy.
You start to think about what you will tell them about this day, about what happened, about how things used to be. You will tell them about the stories he used to read, about the jokes he used to make. You will tell them about how you two met, your first date, and the day he asked you to be his.
You feel your family and friends surrounding you, but you know they will never truly understand what you are going through. You wish you could explain, but you can’t, and hope that someday, maybe you will.
The past week has been unreal, and you feel like your life is unraveling. What your life uses to be will no longer be. Everything changed and you know that your life will always have a
As the ceremony begins, you thought you would be able to make it through but you break down and are immediately surrounded by hugs from your family. Everyone watching wants to take the pain away, even if there is no way to do that for you.
Music is played, and the traditions begin, and still, you can’t believe you are here. You try to listen to what is being said but all you can think about is your husband, and how many of the things about him you will miss.
And then it is time, time for the part you saw in pictures plenty of times, the part you never really thought you would have to endure. A man in a uniform is standing in front of you, he hands you something and for one second you think he shouldn’t be, that this is all a mistake, that this all really isn’t happening.
“On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Army, and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service.”
And you take the flag and know in your heart how much of a hero your husband was, but you also know that knowing that won’t stop the pain.
As then it is over, the ceremony is over and your friends and family are there to mourn with you. You hear stories about a friend of his you had never met before but knew him during one of his deployments. You see a friend you only knew casually through playgroup, who just wants to give you a hug. You see his father break down, and know that he is dealing with the loss of his son, as only a father does.
As you get in the car, with your son by your side, your daughter in front with her own parents, you wonder how you will ever move on from this. Life has changed forever, and nothing will ever be the same.
So, to the Gold Star Spouse, know that no matter where you go or where you are, the military community has your back. We care and we mourn and we wish you didn’t have to go through this. We aren’t always sure what to say and maybe we will say something stupid but we know that your husband died a hero and he will always be in our hearts.
We will think of him always, of the jokes he told, of the smiles he gave, of the way he talked about you and his family. We will remember him when we think of his bravery and we will never forget the sacrifice he made for his country.
We will think and pray for you often, for your children and we will celebrate small wins with you as you figure out your way through this new normal.
We will tell you, “thank you for your husband’s service” and do our best to honor him through the years, in whatever way we can.
Here is a list of resources to help support Gold Star Spouses and Families:
- American Widow Project
- Gold Star Wives
- The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
- Gold Star Legacy
- The Compassionate Friends
- Grief Solutions
- Snowball Express
- Hope for the Warriors
“What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” –Helen Keller