Today is the Fourth of July, the birthday of my homeland. While many are celebrating with barbeques, I want to take a moment to remind us all that….
Freedom is never free!
It has come not just for 240 years, but for millennia at the high price of human blood. Not just in America but across the globe…and it continues to this day.
The blood of sons…and daughters. Mothers’ tears that never recede no matter how many years they have been gone.
You hear mostly about PanKwake here, because she is the only one of my brood of six that remains at home. But she is merely the youngest of a matched set of six. Today, I want to salute the eldest…Mr. Stability.
About six summers ago, he found himself in a difficult position. He had followed the rest of the family to London on a student visa. After completing his university degree, he had stayed on the additional two years allowed at the time, working for the company that he had while in college. While they were happy to apply for him to remain another three years, he was not.
For several weeks, he would come to my flat after work and pace, talking through his options. We even went to the lengths of doing a decision matrix. In the end though, even mathematics pointed him towards the desires of his heart. To join the U S Navy.
I am proud of ALL my children, but I am especially proud that Mr. Stability made me a proud member of the sorority of military mothers. At the same time, I am eternally grateful that his skills keep him at a desk.
Though many events over the past 15 years have shown us that desk jobs do not guarantee safety. One hundred and twenty in the Pentagon gave the ultimate measure on 9/11. Six unarmed recruiters made that sacrifice. Thirteen in Fort Hood. Fate and death will have their measure no matter where or when. Nonetheless, I am somewhat blessed not to face the difficult day-to-day fears of so many of this sisterhood.
One of the hardest things I ever write is my Sergeant Mike’s Miracle Tours novellas. I cry almost every moment that I am at the laptop, even through the laughter sometimes. Never more though when I am writing Esther’s point of view. The single mother who truly gave her all for her country…her only son…
“It’s a tradition,” Esther Samuels reminded herself as she pulled the box from the top shelf. For twenty-five years, since her son Tommy was just two, she had decorated their house from top to bottom with ghosts, vampires and ghouls of all shapes and sizes. She, herself, would dress as a gypsy and read the cards for children of all ages in their small East Texas town. She spent days before the annual event preparing homemade cookies, Rice Crispy treats, caramel apples, the works.
But this year, it all seemed too much. Just another reminder of the fact that her son was gone. An IED they said. In a land thousands of miles from this place. A place she knew little about. Somewhere she would never see. It all seemed so unfair. So senseless.
All she had left of him now was a gravestone that she visited almost daily and the flag folded neatly, sealed in a plastic bag. At first, she would receive an occasional email from his sergeant or one of his friends, but those had stopped months ago. She had laughed or cried, sometimes both, at their stories of Tommy. These men who had shared his life and passion for defending this country had moved on with their own; something she could not seem to manage. The hard truth was she was alone in this world now.
For all the Esther’s out there…goddess bless you especially this day. It is not only male gods who sacrifice their only sons…the tears of those mothers have a special in whatever you believe comes next…and they deserve our special recognition this day.
So this day…goddess bless…the men, women and families who do their jobs to keep us safe and give us the chance to exercise our freedoms. Honor them by doing so with love and wisdom. And especially goddess comfort and bring what measure of peace you can to those mothers…