Friday, August 11, 2006


Fortitude: (fôrt-td, -tyd) n.
Strength of mind that allows one to endure pain or adversity with courage.

Today at the gym a man felt short of breath. So much so that paramedics were called. As I left with the kids I saw the man being rolled into the ambulance. My imagination kicked in transporting me to the afternoon that my father died. Paramedics came and firemen came from the station that my father helped build. Policemen came. We all know that despite their efforts, my father could not be saved. I wasn't there, but just the sight of a man with gray hair being wheeled to an awaiting ambulance reminded me of his death. I had to gather the children and quickly get to the van. If I had lingered a moment longer I would have been crying.

This morning I looked at the phone beside our bed and relived that horrid conversation with my mother. Sadly, that occurs more days than it does not. I usually have a short cry of quiet moment before the three bundles of joy that live with me push me off into happiness.

I don't know how my mother makes it day to day. She has to live and eat in the kitchen where he died. I know she relives this. Each time she does grief begins anew. She let me know that much. "He died so hard, Sarabeth. He died so hard." I've watched her wracked with pain and tears. I don't know how to take it away.

How do soldiers who have watched their fellow brothers die get through life each day? How do they return to the battlefield? My father did it in Vietnam. And, I really never saw a glimmer of emotional angst in his eyes. He was tough that way.

I want to fill my mother with the fortitude necessary to go on with life. I need the right words and time. Time supposedly heals all wounds. I just hope my mother hasn't been dealt a mortal blow.


turtle toes said...

I have talked to my mom about this kind of pain because I worry about the day she's gone. Her mother died two years ago. Anyway, my mom said that lots of people told her when my grandmother died that it gets a little easier after the first year. She didn't believe them - she didn't want to believe them. Now that she looks back she's realized that the words were true. Oh, the hurts not gone but the wracking daily pain is a little duller now.
I am still so sorry for your loss - especially since it's something that seems so foreign to me but something that I desperately wanted with my father. You are still in my thoughts and I hope time does heal your pain.

jarhead john said...

Sarabeth, military folks deal with the loss of their brothers in arms the same way anybody deals with the loss of those they care about. It hurts like hell, and you eventually, move on. It stinks, but it's the way it is. Horrible things do indeed happen to good people every day.

I'm blessed to still have both of my parents. I know that the day will come, sooner than I would like, that I will lose them. I have no idea how I'm going to deal with it, other than to simply endure the pain, and hope for it to lessen. I'll lean heavily on my family and friends. I wish I had some miracle wisdom, but I don't. I don't think anybody does.

I continue to think about you, and salute you for honoring your father the way that you are. I keep wishing I could have met him; solely due to your writing.

Semper Fi