Skip to main content

Bitter Farewell/A Welcome Home

Two years ago today my family and I were gathered under an awning to escape the wind and sleet, it was a bitterly cold day. The weather reflected how we felt, how everyone felt. We were not alone, there were many other families, all of us overwhelmed with emotions, but yet trying to be brave, and strong, there was little talking, only embracing, we as the families were sending our loved one's off to war. War, a word that is only truly defined by those who experience it; by those experiencing it on the battle field, and by those experiencing it on the home front by waiting for their loved one's to come home. We say our final farewell's and the soldiers are called for formation, several children call for their daddy's, a few of the soldiers pick up their child and continue holding them until they board the buses that will take them to the planes. One little girl about age 8 continues to cling to her dads leg as they walk together to the bus. We are all looking for one more glance, one more wave, one more "I love you". How can I as a mother let my son go, knowing he may not come back? I can't. It's that direct. I told God, "alright God you know exactly what is going on, and obviously this is your plan for our lives, but I'm telling you I cannot do this, you are going to have to carry me", and He did. He continued to encourage me, comfort me, and guide me. I do not want to leave you with the impression that I never cried, that I was never afraid, because I did and I was. I had many sleepless nights, many nights on my knees, or prostrate on the floor, praying that it would be God's will that my son would come home. This was his 2ND tour, and I had walked this journey before, we all had, but that did not mean that it was any easier.

December 1, 2006, my family and I gathered together and drove to the gym at the military base to await our sons homecoming. If you can remember back in high school the pep rallies that were held in the gym with banners, music (disco), strobe lights, singing, cheering, this is what a homecoming is like. We sat on the bleachers in the gym trying to be patient, trying to contain and coral the grand kids. Every few moments an announcer would give an update on where "our soldiers" were, then with great cheer it was announced the soldiers were waiting outside and they were ready to march in. At this point we are all standing and yelling, laughing, crying, waving our arms, as the soldiers march in for final formation. We hold our large, bright, yellow sign up, with our sons name on it so that he will be able to find us in the crowd. We the families are given the privilege of yelling "dismissed!" After we have greeted our son, hugged and kissed, our son is amazed at how much his children have grown, then he says, "lets get out of here!" I look around at the other families also greeting each other with warm embraces, with happy glowing faces. I see some soldiers seeing their children for the first time, soldiers kissing their wives not with sensual kisses, but with "my God I'm home kisses". This is a homecoming like most people on this side of life never see. I then think about those soldiers that will not be coming back to their loved ones, and how their families must feel, and that it was possible that we could all have been there. I also realize I have been given a little glimpse of what the homecoming will be like when we are in heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! What more can be said, the most important, that all the praise, and all the honor, and all the glory, belongs to God alone!


Sherry said…
What a relief it must have been for you to havev him back safe. I almost cannot imagine the worry and then the relief of that situation.
God bless him for his service! It's been over 30 years since I was honorably dischared from the Marine Corps, and now my youngest son (age 14) says he wants to join the Marines when he finishes high school. We recently went to Parris Island to see a friend of our graduate from Marine boot camp, and he just left for Japan...his first Christmas away from home. How proud I am of all these young men and women scattered around our globe.
~ Jim
MissDaisyAnne said…
Thank you. My daughter in-law has a brother and a sister in the Marines. My dad was in the 2nd ID during WW2 and the Air Force during the Korean War.