children Posts

Gold Star Families: Making a President Look More Presidential

Owens

There are these documents most every Gold Star family has stashed somewhere. The signatures on those documents change from era to era, but the White House seal, it stays the same. The ones I have are over 50 years old now. They belonged to my mother but she passed them on to me – the document keeper of the family.

There’s the Regret-to-Inform telegram confirming that Staff Sgt. David P. Spears was KIA on July 24, 1966.

There’s the Letter of Sympathy sent from the United States president.

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A Fortunate Girl

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The roads are slick with snow and ice.

The sky is grey and foreboding.

Holed up here in my office, thinking of Karly Sheehan.

Today is her birthday.

Or the day that marks what is her 15th birthday, although Karly died at age 3.

Tortured, the jury declared, by a monster so much bigger than her that it’s inconceivable the wrongs he inflicted upon Karly.

I hear from people almost weekly, people around the world who have read or are reading Karly’s story. They always tell me that meeting Karly that way – through a story that chronicles her life and her death – makes them weep. They tell me stories of the abuses they, too, suffered, and how thankful they are to have survived child abuse.

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That God and Gay Thingy

Orlando

 

Maybe it’s the Orlando shooting.

Maybe it’s the access to military-style weapons.

Maybe it’s 13 months of temperatures rising.

Maybe it’s Donald Trump.

I’ve been torn from pillar to post over one thing over another lately. I find myself discombobulated much of the time. You feeling that way, too? Maybe we need a collective day at the spa, or a night around the campfire roasting marshmallows?

Years ago, when I wrote that memoir about my father, I encountered many Gold Star families. Sometimes, albeit infrequently, I would hear stories of estrangement. Death does that to families, causes sore feelings over one thing or another. Sometimes these are major offenses. Sometimes these are offenses that seem major because of the rawness that comes with death. Whatever the cause, it usually resulted in one thing – children being used as a bartering chip.

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The Children Who Heal Us

Hippie

Last night I started randomly receiving a series of text messages from daughter Ashley. At first, I thought she was sending me silly things my grandsons say. Just recently she sent me a note saying that Sullivan had asked if she could go get his “Granny baby” for him. Sullivan comes up with the most outrageous sayings. I think he’s in training for Comedy Central, but these texts were sent well past Sullivan’s bedtime.

I realized it was poetry Ashley was sending. Ridiculously bad poetry: “You are the bubble in my bath. The plush in my towel. The vanilla in my candle.”

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Web Junkies

web junkie

 

Several years ago, I was approached by a young boy outside a classroom.

“Do you have a knife I can borrow?” he asked.

“A knife?” I replied. “Why do you need a knife, Jack?”

“Because I am going to kill that girl,” he replied.

Jack was not joking. His remarks were made in earnest and with intent.

We were standing outside the second-grade classroom for a teacher-student “Come to Jesus” moment. Only I was the one in need of Jesus at that moment. I didn’t know how to handle this deeply troubled young boy. The girl Jack was referring to was the one he had been arguing with moments before I asked him to step out in the hallway with me.

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