I recently read the book "The Lone Survivor" and while it was difficult to read and certainly brought on a very emotional reaction, it was amazing.
Let me explain the amazing part. Since my only child was KIA in Afghanistan December 1, 2010 I have struggled to not be involved with the lives of his Marine buddies as well as his high school friends that he left behind. This book taught me so much about what it must be like to be the one that survived when one of your own did not. My heart goes out to these guys and more than that, my heart goes out to the families (especially the moms) of these men and women who return home after war (especially if they lost one of their own), because they (to me) have it harder than we did. They have to watch their child suffer and struggle with things they have no way of helping them with. It must be the most painful thing to watch. I can only imagine what it would be like if Chad were to have returned home and one of his buddies had not. I know my son better than he knew himself and I know without doubt that he would have struggled in the most difficult way. You might wonder, how would his struggled been different than the other guys. It wouldn't be. That kind of struggle that comes from feeling like you either didn't do enough, or you were the one that was supposed to be there, or why him and not me, or really? Why did you choose him and not me Lord? All those thing must take their toll on these guys. Can you imagine for a moment that there might have been something (just one little thing) that could have been done differently that could have possibly prevented this tragedy? It must be one of the hardest things a young man or woman has to deal with.
For me, as Chad's mom, I can tell you that I never once thought, it should have been someone else, not my baby boy. My immediate thought went to the guys he left behind. Those were the ones I was most concerned about. I knew immediately that my son was finally safe and not being shot at or scared or cold or wet. However, the parents of these guys and gals that came home and saw the brutality of war and God forbid lost a buddy, they have the hard job. I know where my baby is. I know he is safe and I will see him again one day. Unfortunately, some parents that get their child back physically do not have the same child that departed on that day of deployment. I don't have to watch that and for me, that is a blessing. I can't imagine watching my child struggle and there be nothing I could do. That breaks my heart more than my words can truly express.
My heart is so burdened for these young men and women that have not only witnessed war, but God forbid losing one of their own. All I want to do is make a difference. I don't know if I have what it takes to make that difference, but I am willing to put it all out there if there is a small chance I could be the difference between sadness or happiness, it will be worth it.
Chad's name means "Warrior/Protector". How fitting that his name would mean that and that is how his life ended as a Warrior and a Protector. It's hard to get any more proud than that as a parent and for me as a single mom and it being mainly just Chad and I, I couldn't be more proud. I was lucky to have the 22 years of his life, because truthfully, he shouldn't have been here anyway so the fact that the Lord gave me 22 years with him, I will forever be grateful. I was the lucky one. I could not have picked a child more perfect for me than Chad.
Thank you Lord not only for Chad, but for all the bonus kids you've given me since. I know I will see Chadman again one day and I will do my best to make him proud for all the days that you choose to keep me on this earth.