Sharon Jones-Bird: The cost of war
Mother of a Wounded Warrior (Sgt. Richard Watson, US Army Ret. Age 34)
What does a mother do when she is faced with her child’s mortality? Can she just go on with her life as though nothing is wrong? Will she cry until her eyes no longer produce tears and they burn so much that nothing will soothe them? Will she yell and throw things until there is no strength left to vent her agony?
She raises her child and cares for him until he is able to provide for himself. She teaches him by example and any other way she can imagine so that he can one day become a good man. He learns to walk and stand on his own. He learns to talk and communicate with the world around him. He learns to be strong and develops his character. He becomes protective of those who need or deserve protection. He stands tall and proud and believes that all he does is done for the good of his country, family and friends.
He steps up for his country, travels to distant lands and learns to fight and protect. He expands his family to the men with which he is assigned to work and live. His bonds with them are deeper than that of brothers. He shares their happiness, sadness, anger and pain. He endures the horrendous conditions of his “job.” He suffers for those lost when his country sends him to war. He suffers for those who pay the price for the hatred and greed of so-called leaders. Every mission is longer, harder, hotter, colder and more painful. His battle is not finished since he must fight for every benefit he receives for himself and his family.
Every injury compounds with the last until he is no longer the young, proud man he once was. He now limps, aches, curls into a tight ball with hands grasping his head to hopefully relieve the pain. He strikes out at those around him though they only try to care for and protect him. His hands, once gentle and caring, now usually are clenched into tight fists. His anger is uncontrollable, though he tries to control himself. He knows that his friends and family love him, but he cannot seem to restrain himself from lashing out.
Doctors give him little hope. Specialists can’t even settle on one diagnosis, let alone the four or five they toss out at every seizure, stroke or heart attack. How much of a future he has is unknown. They only guarantee is that it will be painful. He is grateful for each day that he can function with some semblance of normality. He cherishes the special moments that he has with his wife and children. He cherishes every moment, though few and far between, that his pain is bearable. Those moments may come to him over the next few years. That is what he has left, moments. For some, the suffering ends with that one last moment, that last breath. For the rest, those still here, the suffering lingers and is shared by all of their loved ones.
To all of you out there who either don’t understand or just don’t care about the repercussions of war, remember that the injuries our young warriors suffer don’t always heal. War seldom spares the warriors, their friends, brothers-in-arms, or their families. It is especially hard for the mothers who brought these wounded warriors into this world with only the intention to improve the world with one more loving soul. Little did we know …
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