My Family!!

My Family!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

With One Voice

I know it is no longer Sunday, but I didn't have time to post yesterday. These past two Sundays have been pretty emotional. As Foster and I were sitting in church last Sunday, his Blackberry vibrated indicating he had a new message. Since the Blackberry is his work phone, he always glances at the message to make sure they are not getting called out on a misson. The title of the message was "Death Notification". I heard him suck in his breath and his face went white. He handed me the phone and I read the message. Major Mills, Army National Guard had passed due to injuries sustained during a Special Forces Airborne jump. Apparently the jump had gone bad for a few of the soldiers when an updraft caught their parachutes as they were landing, dragging them about 500 yards. It was all over the news. Up until this point, the soldiers had been injured, but none had died. Foster was devastated. He worked with MAJ Mills, and considered him a great man and an upstanding soldier.

As I grabbed his hand and rubbed his back as he was fighting back tears, the lecture started the second reading of the day: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day" (2Timothy 4:7-8) I started to cry. It was heartbreaking. I had never met the man, but the passage was so perfect, and my mind started thinking of the people that were left behind to mourn his loss, and I cried.

This Saturday Foster and I attended his funeral along with hundreds of other soldiers. It was an amazing sight. The Masons performed the traditional funeral, and then family members and coworkers spoke. They held this man in high regard, and he was truly dedicated to the Army and to this nation. Form the stories that were told, he was so dedicated to the Special Forces, that when he hit Major rank and could not be promoted any higher (I guess they stop at MAJ) he resigned his commission, became a SGT, and went on to get his Warrant Officer. When he passed, he was a CW3. This is true dedication. He gave up a high paying job to stay in his field. He went from giving orders to taking them and then becoming an expert in his field. I was inspired. They did a final salute, and hundreds of soldiers lined up, in uniform and civilian clothes, and four at a time, rendered one last salute to send him off. As I mentioned before, I had never met the man, but by the end of the service, I felt honored to take part in his final salute. I could have sat idly by and not participated, for I was in civilians since my husband had worn his dress blues, but I wanted to. I must admit, it was the first time I have ever saluted in heels.

As the guests filed in the back of the auditorium after the final salute, waiters started passing shots of Irish Whiskey. According to his mother, one of his requests was to use some of the SGLI ($400,000 insurance) to throw a three day Irish wake complete with a final toast with good old Irish Whiskey. Everyone raised their glasses as his brother recited an Irish Blessing, and we all took our drink. I looked around, and faces puckered and noses crinkled as the warming liquid ran down their throats. Armatures! This is the way I would like to be sent out. Celebrate my life, and drink to your hearts content!

The rest of Saturday was spent with JJ and Mr JJ, Bug and Ky, and Foster. We got decked out and watched the football game. We played cards, laughed, had a blast!

This Sunday, Foster and I reversed roles. It was his turn to console me. At the beginning of every mass, I check the songs that will be sung throughout. There is a board on the alter that lists the page numbers of all of the songs. I started ruffling through the pages, and Foster looked at me inquisitively, "I am making sure they won't be singing any songs from Rosies funeral, and if they are, I have warning, so I won't be taken by surprise and cry," I explained. He nodded understandingly, and mass commenced.

The second communion song started to get to me a little bit (there are two each mass). It was "I know you a near" some of the words are "Yahweh, I know you are near, standing always at my side. You guard me from the foe, and you lead me in ways everlasting." It is a touching song, and always stirs some deep emotion. However, I held it together, took communion and knelt down to pray. When the song was finished, communion was not finished, and I noticed the guitar was playing cords that were familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on it. The notes were not very clear, but I leaned into Foster, "It sounds like the beginning of some old country song," I was a little confused, because there was no third communion song listed. I figured the guitarist was just going to play acoustic through the rest of communion, so I wasn't expecting it when one of the singers started singing "Amazing Grace". Immediately tears started streaming. I looked at Foster with a "SERIOUSLY?!?!" look. I purposefully check the songs BEFORE mass so I wasn't taken off guard, so it was sooooo unfair that they did not list this as a song. For those of you who are new and don't know, Amazing Grace was the opening song to Rosie's funeral. It gets me every time. Foster even started to tear up. It's weird, because this Sunday was the first Sunday that the mass did not strike a cord with me. None of the readings or the sermon pertained to anything currently going on in my life, and I wasn't looking for Rosie in this Sunday's mass. Boy did she show me! She made herself known and made sure I didn't forget she was looking over us. I was a blubbering mess by the time I walked out of there though, so that was a little embarrassing.

I hope all of your weekends were filled with love and peace, and Annette, I know this was a hard past few days for you, but know that you and Valentina were in my thoughts and prayers.


Erin said...

It sounds like an incredibly emotional weekend.

In SF, you can get promoted beyond MAJ, but you aren't able to stay with your team. That takes unbelievable committment to resign your commission so that you can stay with your men. He sounds like an amazing man and soldier.

Amber said...

hugs. Sounds like Major Mills was an amazing soldier.

I know what you mean about being caught off guard with the songs, Holy Ground was my dad's favorite song and we played a recording if him singing it when we buried him (he was actually singing about the place we buried him too). I didn't expect to hear it while at DH's family's church but as soon as the first notes played I lost it. It just isn't fair sometimes.

S.I.F. said...

I'm so sorry it's been such an emotional time... Sometimes it does seem like when it rains it really does pour. :(


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