We all can relate to the hurt of saying goodbye to someone we love. For me, this letter brings back memories of when we took our oldest son to Marine Corps boot camp, and later our youngest son to serve in a Marine Corps tour in Iraq. I held it together while saying goodbye with hugs, smiles, and encouragement. When out of sight, the tears burst and I made that grotesque face. The face you make when you turn your mouth inside out, and your eyes squeeze tight in your sorrow. You get that ugly cry face that is much more than a cry; it becomes a wailing that is inside trapped deep within your soul. No sound comes out. No tears stream down because the anguish is stuck and will not leave.
Our youngest son, Steve, was going overseas right at the height of the Iraq conflict. The news played on every channel, and I can remember watching CNN consistently to see what was going on, thinking I might get a chance to see him on camera. If I just watched close enough, there might be a chance that I would get a glance of him. It would assure me to know he was OK. For Mom and Dad, their war was one of secrets.
Their war was one of secrets.
I think about how tough Mom was to keep it together and not cry until all backs were turned then break down, which I know she had to have done. Hers would be the ugly face of tears after he could not see her. She did not know where in the world her loved one was going and even when he knew; he might not be able to tell her.
Theirs was a war of silent suffering and waiting. There were no cell phones, no satellite phones, and no email. Communication was only through letters that took long to reach each other. It had to have been agonizing.
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