Peacemonger Mom

My son just enlisted in the military. I'm a peace activist. Why couldn't he have rebelled in some other way, like being republican?

Saturday, January 20, 2007


This has been quite a semester. We have dealt with separation, reconnection, rediscovery, love, hate, war, possible death, certain death. Discovering that my son was actually able to be a grown man was a shock to my system. Discovering that my husband was able to lose his father and not lose himself was equally surprising. Life has handed me bliss, joy, excitement, and sadness all in the same handful. There have been times I wasn't sure if I was weeping from joy or from grief.

Losing my father-in-law has been hard, harder than I anticipated. Obviously, we all knew it was only a matter of time. After all, we are all only a matter of time, aren't we? But FIL was dear. He kissed my cheek, hugged me and said, "Welcome to the Family" when I married his son. He laughed, he joked, he was truly the strongest man I knew. How is it that he can be here one day, and gone the next? How can the world continue to spin, people continue to walk down the street and function while he does not? Days go by and I manage just fine, then suddenly I encounter the invisible wall that is the impossibility of FIL's death. How can this be? My mind refuses to accept it, wrap around it, see it.

I spend my effort on Hon, because he and his father were so close, and Hon was, really, the favorite son. He and FIL were close, and so much alike. There are good days, there are bad days, but my attention has been on Hon, and not on my own thoughts for FIL. This may not be a good thing - grieving must be done, it will allow itself to be put off, but that only allows it time to strengthen itself, make itself larger than life. When one finally gets around to something put off and allowed to grow, it is undoubtedly a larger and more unpleasant issue at that point.

FIL's death came at a really bad time - the end of our semester, right as I was finishing up classes and then to make matters harder, on the day I was to go and pick up TB from his final day of training. I attended his graduation from AIT in a fog of confusion and sadness, but joy and excitement for TB, because he was finished, was able to move on to his next base (thankfully here in the U.S. for the time being) and because I was able to spend time with him. The time I spent with TB over the holiday was too brief, but it was long enough for me to see and accept that he is, indeed, a grown up, and a good one at that. He is actually becoming the man that I had hoped he would be, he is showing the traits that I had prayed would take hold in him. He is finally the person I had hoped for when I wrote him a letter as he lay in his crib and slept. He didn't arrive at the place I wanted for him via the exact roads I had anticipated, but he's there, and that's what's important to me.

Struggling with FIL's death, with TB's changes, with the happiness that one event brings to me and the unbearable sadness that the other brings has knocked me back on my heels. My writing has been next to zero, and my thesis has suffered for it. Partly I have simply not wanted to deal with the subject matter. Who wants to read about the grief of a soldier's mother, when all that I can feel is fear for my own son, but joy for his existence? Who wants to confront non-existence of loved ones?

So I didn't, and now I am paying the price. I sat down and created a thesis timeline - a timeline that leaves me little time for anything other than writing, rewriting, and working. If it works as I hope, I will graduate in August, and may or may not walk for graduation. We'll see about that one. But that's still a ways away.

I am lucky - I have a couple of papers that I can make use of (and am making use of) to begin my work, and getting started is ALWAYS my hardest part.

So let's go.


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