Monday, May 28, 2012


I have, of course, made all kinds of mistakes during life without Steve.

One of the most memorable: Taking Cooper and Katie to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to welcome home members of the armed services.

It was December 2009, about three months after Steve died. Cooper's Cub Scout troop encouraged its members to meet at Terminal D at the airport early on a Sunday morning to cheer for military men and women flying home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cooper dressed in his uniform, and Katie and I dressed in church clothes. We joined the other boys and their families at the airport. We held little flags and handmade posters.

Family members of the folks coming home took their place at the front of the receiving line. Then veterans of foreign wars stood in chronological order -- World War II, Korea, Vietnam, etc.

The Scouts filled in at the end of the line.

Doors opened, and men and women in fatigues came out. We all cheered as family members were reunited.

Mommas and fathers were there to hug their grown children. Military men scooped up toddlers and hugged wives.

I cried. Because I was thankful that these folks made it home and heartbroken for those who didn't. And because Cooper and Katie, still grappling with life without Daddy, were there to watch daddies reunited with their babies. And because I, who still cried daily missing Steve, was watching husbands reunited with wives.

The timing was just wrong for our little family, and I felt awful for not protecting us better. And then I felt guilty for being selfish. It was just a bad day all around.

I hope you all will give thanks today, Memorial Day, for all the homecomings -- for the men and women who serve our country and protect our freedoms and then get to return home. And that you will give thanks for the homecomings that never happened -- for the men and women who served our country knowing the potential sacrifice, who died serving our great country. And for their families, who endure life without them.

No comments: