Many years ago, while living in Kansas City, I hosted a baby shower for a dear & lifelong friend. P and I had grown up in towns just 30 minutes away from each other. We attended girls' camps together in the summer, youth conferences, and our families went "way back". Over the years going to college, marriage, and life in general took us different places. I was overjoyed when Jared ended up attending the same D.O. school her husband did. After so many years, we were living close by each other once again...random and wonderful. She and her husband were a source of strength and support to us, my oldest son & her oldest daughter were big buddies. I will be forever grateful for all they did to help us through that first year of our new life in Missouri.
I had the pleasure of spending time with P's mother-in-law when she came to visit and attended the baby shower. I was missing my own mom during that time. I felt a longing for that "feeling" of having a Southern matriarch close by...I loved Kansas City, and miss it to this day; however, during that time I just needed a Southern mama. Spending time with my friend's mother-in-law was just what I needed. And before she left my home, as she hugged me goodbye, I remember thinking, "I surely do love this adorable little lady."
On September 29, 2010 she lost her son. Senior Airman Mark Forester was killed while serving our country. I didn't know Mark extremely well. But, his brother, his sister-in-law P, their children? They are like extended family to me. And his mother? I told you. I loved her from the moment she stepped foot in my home & graced me with her presence.
I think of her, and her family, several times a week. But admittedly, I can't ponder on her loss too often. When I think of her, my heart begins to pound, and it feels harder to breathe. So quickly I try to wrap it up, and tuck it away on my "grief shelf". I do this with all thoughts of mothers who've lost their children; otherwise, I would live fully in their grief and mine all day. Everyday.
But today isn't "everyday". Today is a day for remembering, and stepping outside of the comfortable thoughts we enjoy each day. It is a day to ponder sacrifice & that isn't always an easy thing to do. But, it is also a day for rejoicing in the freedoms we share, freedoms others have given us...and paid for with their very lives. Today, my family will take more than a few moments and pay tribute to all who have gone before us in the cause of freedom and relieving oppression. We will stop to pray for and think of the Forester family. We will pause to reflect on the life of Senior Airman Mark Forester. I will pray especially for his sweet mother, expressing heartfelt gratitude for her sacrifice of a young son. Today, we remember.
You can read more about the extraordinary life of Senior Airman Mark Forester here.