|I am tired, Beloved, of chafing my heart against
The want of you;
Of squeezing it into little inkdrops,
And posting it.
And I scald alone, here, under the fire
Of the great moon. —Amy LowellToday over 7,000 people attended the funeral of Chris Kyle the SEAL murdered while helping a troubled comrade cope with the wounds of war. Thousands more watched on television and others monitored social media and news channels as Chris was eulogized as a great father, an American hero and a compassionate friend.At about the same time, a news report surfaced about the SEAL who allegedly shot Bin Laden. Full of inconsistencies and troubling accusations I posted it on my Facebook wall and asked for input from friends I know to be in the Special Forces support community. I put the questions up prior to reading the accounts of Kyle’s memorial service. As a soldier and a career family member I should have known today was no day to interfere in what was surely a day of grieving for every “dependent” who has lost a husband, father, fiancé, brother, son or lover…
Chris Kyle’s widow said today: “I stand before you a broken woman. Chris Kyle was ‘all in’ no matter what he did in life.”
Family members are all in too:
It was my mother who endured 6 of 20 years of separation as my father was deployed or in training and often without the ability to communicate with him
It was my mother who pressed uniforms, made dinners, and was there to greet him after deployments with everything he needed to feel safe and at home.
It was my wife who had an emergency C-section alone in rural Texas while I was in training and unable to get leave to see her.
It was my mother who saved my father from disciplinary action afer he had too much to drink one night with other combat vets. It was my mother who impressed on his company commander how much our family would suffer if he lost even a little of his pay.
It was my wife and my mother who made new friends a dozen times and searched for work in unfamiliar surroundings to augment our meager salaries.
It was my wife and mother who found things to sell when our military salaries were not enough to get us through a month.
It was my mother who collected souvenirs and photos from every duty station only to see them taken out to sea in Hawaii by the biggest tidal wave in modern history.
It was my mother, nine months away from retirement and her dream of a stable life, who opened the telegram from the war department and learned of my father’s critical injuries in Vietnam.
It was my wife and mother who raised children alone while we were called away.
It was my mother who learned to shop at fire sales and who stood in welfare lines for cheese and butter while the VA was taking more than a year to award him benefits.
It was my mother who cared for a man she barely recognized after the war. She tended to his needs every day of his injured life.
It was my mother, all 4’11” of her, who dragged my father from room to room when he could no longer walk. It was my mother who told nobody of his illness to preserve his dignity and to keep the only constant she had ever known close to her.
It was my mother and I who stood alone in the funeral home mourning a man who left his friends on battlefields or deployments long past and had no one left to salute him or to comfort her.
It was my mother who left us all for the comfort of Alzheimer’s Disease where she had no loss, no pain she could remember.
It is me who goes, year after year, to the Vietnam Memorial still trying to make some sense of it all and still trying to reconcile my grief.
A friend today commented on my post and remarked that she was “only a [military] widow” and implied she didn’t have the authority to comment. She, like everyone in our huge extended military family has the right and the authority to claim appreciation for their service to our nation and to speak out on issues that affect those who fought and those who were there to care for them when they came home.
It is the military family member who is all in…
RIP Chris Kyle and may your family find peace….