Dealing with the loss of a son in war
Aug 30, 2007 | 2931 views | 0 0 comments | 87 87 recommendations | email to a friend | print

by Terry Winder

Part I

I will always be grateful that the phone call from our daughter-in-law came first, before the two Army officers came in their government car.

I can’t imagine how it must feel to open one’s door and just find them standing there: total strangers with such devastating news. I’ve wondered how it must be from their end, the assignment of carrying a death report to a soldier’s family.

It didn’t seem real, at first; surely it was a mistake. It was as though we were in a play and everyone else knew their lines, but I did not. I was a walk-on part, an impromptu actor.

I tried to respond appropriately, but I felt so unsure of myself. People were coming, all expressing themselves so perfectly. They seemed to understand what I could not yet believe. Perhaps it was just a dream; but I was unable to sleep, so how could that be?

When I did finally doze off I was awakened by the sound of sobbing. It was my husband, the man who never cries.

Part of my denial came from my attempt to understand why. There is a need for logic in our lives. Nathan had graduated as a medic just 16 months earlier. He was valuable not only to his fellow soldiers, but to the Iraqi people.

He was a dedicated soldier. Surely he was needed in this war against evil. Why hadn’t he been protected from the sniper’s bullet?

The questions kept nagging at me, and I directed them towards my Heavenly Father in thought, without really waiting for an answer.

Still, there were light threads being woven into the darkness of those days. Late the second night my daughter, Alex, turned to me. “Mom, every person who has come to visit has asked, ‘What can we do for you?’. The next person who asks that, please tell them, ‘Bring Alex cinnamon rolls’.”

Early the next morning the doorbell rang, and there stood Holly Walker with a large pan of freshly baked cinnamon rolls. “You must have been in tune with the Spirit,” I told her, as delighted children took the homemade rolls into the kitchen.

Shortly after, Alex and I went to my son’s house to access the internet. I hadn’t done my grocery shopping for the week; and hadn’t eaten for two days.

As we passed the grocery store I commented, “Orange juice sounds good, and it’s on sale this week. So is cantaloupe. On our way home, let’s stop and get some, okay?”

I really didn’t want to go into the store, though, not with my red, puffy eyes; and so when I got a telephone call saying we were needed at home, we passed the store again with just a twinge of regret.

We had not been home more than 30 minutes when a knock came and Helen Hurst was at our door. As we greeted each other with a hug, she held out a grocery sack. “I feel rather silly bringing this,” she explained, “but it was what I had on hand.”

As I opened the sack, I found it contained a cantaloupe and a can of frozen orange juice.

It was at that moment that I realized God was speaking to me through his servants. And I knew that if He cared so much about the small and simple things in our lives, then surely I could trust Him with the big things.

(Part I of II)
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