I have had a setback the last few days. My son had a closet filled with military gear, tactical items, and some of his casual military garments that he stored. He had backpacks filled with field clothing; the type that would help keep you dry in rain and clothing that would assist to keep you warm. There were goggles and vests; helmets and military boots. There were all kinds of handbooks, military notebooks with his handwriting and just everything you can imagine that would be needed for survival.
It was unbelievably difficult to touch these items that he had worn previously and protected us in. I went through it all just in case there was personal items that the family would want to hold onto; I found one small bible that belonged to my daughter when she was about five or six with her name written inside by her childlike handwriting. I am happy I found that for her and yet it made it all the more difficult by the wear and trauma you could tell it had endured.
I know how spiritual my son is, but it was very powerful to find that he had taken this one special item with him to each of his deployments to Iraq; three in total and the last one he volunteered to go with the men he trained. This small bible travelled with him and gave him strength I am sure in his most challenging times.
He had one more tour and again one he volunteered for due to training his men; I didn’t receive the box that came back from Afghanistan, but I know it was filled with his personal items, but with a wedding ring this time.
It was more difficult than I anticipated on various levels and dimensions. It hit me so hard that other than a truck and a Harley my son had no materialistic items left except for a small amount of clothing and the normal items such as a laptop and cell phone.
He signed into the Marines when he was in High School, graduated and left for boot camp that June and because he volunteered for his last deployment to go with his men he was still was an enlisted man in the Marines for another long stint. He returned home, had some good times with his buddies, met and married his wife, started college, and could not help himself but to sign up with the Marine Reserves. He wanted to go with his men that he trained to Afghanistan and I asked him if he was truly ok with this deployment and he gave me the most beautiful and confident smile ever and said “Yes mam”.
Prior to this statement a few days before the “eyes” of our souls locked and he knew and I knew with no doubt this time that he would not return home. Yet he was happy to go, he could not have stayed behind; he had to be with the men he trained and serve his country and the state he loves and his family that resides within it.
So as I prepared all his belongings to be picked up as my heart broke into millions of pieces to see that he had spent his entire young adulthood serving his country with his men and President Bush being his leader and champion, that the things that were most important to him I just let leave my home.
He loved his family and friends and when home we had a great time with him; he knew how to live life to the fullest. He was very clear on his calling, he tried to resist it because we loved him so much and he us; but it wasn’t possible his heart belonged to his country first and foremost which reflects how much he loves us as his family and friends and you too. If you were to meet him you would love and admire him instantly; he is so powerful and full of love.
My tears flowed, my heart continued to break over and over and over; a very important step in the throes of grieving. Pulling myself together, early to bed and back again for two days; listening to well-seasoned souls from my iPod to keep myself grounded on earth and learning to accept just a little bit more and rest in the fact that my beautiful son is resting himself and permeates with love, joy and happiness.
Such a tragedy, but I ask myself how much have I accomplished and the answer is; my son accomplished tenfold compared to me in his twenty-six years.
As much as I would love to have Sunday meals with him and have his family gathering around the table with us and knowing how much I would love his children; I have to admit that he followed his heart and completed his journey with excellence and clarity. What more could a mom ask for, except for more time. Given more time he would have returned to the Marines he was born to be an American Hero.
He is my hero and champion and even through these most anguish moments of torment I know he is right here helping me through it yet again.
So I rest, I reach out into the spiritual realm for strength and a braver heart and I pick myself up and I strive to be stronger each day. I do this for myself, my daughter and I do this for Jeremy too, I want them to be proud of me as they witness the most devastating tragedy one can endure, losing your child.
Proud Mom of Ssgt. Jeremy D. Smith United States Marine Corps