My friend, Karen, wrote me to tell me of her mom's death due to cancer last week. I went a bit numb with shock. It's always hard to hear of the death of someone you know a friend loved dearly and you can't help but want to put your arms around that friend and hold them close. Unfortunately, military friends can't always do that.
Karen's mom loved her dearly and Karen reciprocated those strong emotions. They were very close. Karen has been fortunate in her current assignment to be close to her mom. Got me thinking about how tough this is on military spouses - separation from family of origin.
I know that when my parents die, even if I'm fortunate enough to move next door to them when we retire, I will always feel bad about the time I lost with them while we traveled with the military. Wouldn't give it up, wouldn't change it - but I realize that I missed out on a great deal of special moments with my family to be married to the military. My sister lives close and sees my folks almost every day. I envy her this luxury.
When Karen was stationed near her parents, she was so excited. To be able to share life with them (not just vacations, but LIFE) is such an extravagant gift for military families. Most of us don't get a chance to do this until we retire. I am thankful that she was able to share the last few years with her mother.
I'm living with my in-laws while my son goes through limb-lengthening. I am truly blessed to have two wonderful sets of parents in my life - the set I was born to and the ones I got when I wed their son. My kids are gathering memories and special moments with grandparents that I am storing away in my heart. I don't know that they are old enough to appreciate the blessing of these few months.
I'm planning on going home for Christmas. It's never enough, but there's not a moment I take for granted. Karen's mother's death brings me great sorrow for my friend and turns my eyes and heart homeward to my own beloved family. One of the lesser told sacrifices we make as military families.
If you go home this summer to visit family, give them an extra squeeze as a memorial to Karen's mom.