A few weeks ago, I had an eye-opening conversation with a widow named Jackie. Jackie's husband was killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber. A female suicide bomber. I've talked to numerous Gold Star Wives over the past few years, but after talking with Jackie, I found that I had barely scratched the surface with respect to the challenges these wives face in the immediate and long-term aftermath of their husband's death.
There are, of course, the obvious challenges that come with losing a loved one, but Jackie shared many of the not-so-obvious challenges that Gold Star Wives face, most of which I had never thought about. After our initial conversation, I found myself shocked at the myriad of issues these women must deal with. As if the actual loss -- and all that surrounds it -- weren't enough, there is more. So much more.
Jackie's story is both tragic and inspiring. Tragic because she lost her husband and her children lost their father, but inspiring because six years later, Jackie is determined to give back to the Gold Star Wife community. We're going to help her do just that. Jackie is our newest SpouseBUZZ author. Her photo can be found on the right sidebar.
Our goal is twofold.
First, to assist Jackie in creating a forum for Gold Star Wives. A place where they can discuss the big stuff, the small stuff and the daily grind of being a surviving spouse. A virtual community that is here for them, 24/7. Secondly, we want to give other milspouses a window into their world. I think this is a perfect opportunity for us to better understand the challenges they face, support them and let them know that they are, and always will be, a part of our military family. Jackie mentioned that she's fully aware of the fact that she is a walking nightmare for some. A living, breathing portrait of what could go wrong. I understand this, but there's also a natural curiosity on our part about what their lives are like and what they need from us. Those of us who haven't walked in their shoes can never fully understand what Gold Star Wives endure, but this window into their world should help us to better understand, and it will certainly give us a deeper appreciation of the sacrifices that these families have made.
I've deliberately stayed away from details. It's Jackie's story to tell, and she's going to tell it at SpouseBUZZ. Jackie will also be addressing the issues I've cryptically eluded to above, and anything else that she feels like addressing. As you get to know Jackie, I'm sure she will open your eyes, as she's opened mine. Jackie is an amazing woman and I know you're going to enjoy reading her posts.
I'm really looking forward to developing a relationship between the SpouseBUZZ readership and the Gold Star Wife community. Jackie's posts will be archived in the SurvivorBUZZ category.