Someone once said: “to be a mother, is to have your heart reside outside of your body”. Never has that felt so true than the day Casey left for boot camp. The pain I felt was so heavy, so real, as if someone had physically punched me in the chest.
I knew the separation, the restricted communication, would be temporary but that offered no relief. The fact that he would be far away in an isolating, foreign environment among strangers without the physical or verbal support of his family and friends caused me great distress.
I remember that day vividly, almost 2 1/2 years ago. I was heading north, alone in my car sobbing uncontrollably like a lost child. With the sadness came anger. Why did MY son feel he had to serve? Couldn’t someone else’s child take that burden? It didn’t matter that I had three more boys at home, no one could replace Casey’s presence in my heart and home.
Before my angel left I reminded him that no matter where he was, or how long he had been away, if he looked at the moon he could find comfort that I was gazing at the same heavenly entity, thinking of him, praying for his strength and safety. Indeed every evening I would go outside and look at the moon.
Prayers and tears would find their way to the surface as the familiar pain would return afresh, like a wound reopened. Eight weeks is a long time when it separates a mother from her child, but the end did come, as ends do. I miss my handsome Airman as much as I did at the beginning of this journey, but the pain has dulled now, and I know longer feel angry.
I feel pride. Pride that my son chose to serve. Pride in myself for my sacrifice. Pride in my son for his sacrifice. I feel love. Love for my son, love for my God. I feel thankful. Thankful to God for protecting my baby, thankful to every military family who has endured separation and loss.
Another person once said: “Home of the free, because of the brave”.
Brave service men and women. Brave mothers.