Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Bitter-Sweet Day

Post Script: I'm dressed now and ready to go, let's get in the car, I know you can all fit in the passenger seat. Please go read this amazing poem written by my friend Jan Zabel (she's British but I love her anyway).

Kylee and Cal will be home soon from their honeymoon. My husband just left to pick them up at the airport. Hopefully they'll want to open their presents here with us before going to their house. I've really missed them this long week. I always turn to Kylee when I need anything -- encouragement, hugs, smile, fun, love, help. . . all week I've "turned to her" but she's not been there. She's been having a fantastic time cruising the Eastern Caribbean all week with her husband. (Now that sounds weird --- "husband").

So we'll have fun and laughs with them for a while and then I'm off to yet another soldier's funeral.

I'm typing this post "as I go." I'm printing information to include in the condolence packages for the family of Fallen Hero Army Specialist Richard B. Burress.

NAPLES, Fla. — A 25-year-old soldier whose family said he joined the army to add “focus and direction” to his life was killed in Iraq after his vehicle was struck by an explosive, officials said Jan. 21.

Spc. Richard B. Burress, of Naples, died Jan. 19 in Al Jabour, Iraq, the Department of Defense said.

Family members said Burress enjoyed the “simple things” in life — fishing, canoeing and spending time with loved ones, including his daughter, Alyssa.

“His easygoing manner and natural warmth instantly endeared [him] to all who met him,” his family said in a statement.

Burress was “a reluctant hero,” his family said, who “didn’t want to be recognized for his service and was deeply touched by the many thanks he received from strangers.”

Burress was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, out of Fort Stewart, Ga. (from the Associated Press article).

I can only attend the visitation with this grieving family since my employer does not approve of me taking time off to attend the funerals -- Spc. Burress' funeral is tomorrow, a Monday, a no-no to my employer. I don't get it. From my personal experience with loss, the visitation is easier to get through for the family while the final goodbyes of the burial are almost an incomprehensible blurr. I still would like to be there. Not long ago I stood about 20 feet from a mother who was "supported" by a Brigadier General and a Major --- they let her fall to the ground. Now I stand closer.
Never having studied poetry but having heard the Robert Frost line "I have miles to go before a sleep," I've 325 miles to drive, tears to shed, words to be read, condolences to spread, before I go to bed; yet safely I will return to mine and you to yours, their dear son, well, he . . . enough said. So ride with me and take whatever comfort we can to this grieving family.
They send another son off to Iraq in a few weeks.


Dixie said...

My prayers are being said for this family. You are a very stong woman... a woman that I so admire.