It was the desire to connect and unite with other military widows that made me start making outreach calls to other Gold Star Wives of America Inc., widows. I started with Boise, ID, the closest city to where I live. We gathered together a hand full of military widows and began a monthly luncheon. Our circumstances did not allow for us to begin a legitimate Chapter of Gold Star Wives of America, Inc., but we met anyway. Even though I could not travel the distance every month they continued to meet faithfully.
Today, I was notified that one of 'our gals' passed away last month on April 19, 2011.
My heart is saddened, yet, I am thankful to have known 87 year old, Norma M. Parker. Her presence, her smile, her energy was always a blessing to me.
There are many times that I just don't know what to say. I've been feeling that way a lot lately; questioning myself, discouraged and for a brief time...silenced. How important is it to UNITE? The generation before me, my generation, the generation after me, up to today's generation pretty much traveled our widow journey alone. There were pockets of support but nothing like what is available today. To me, uniting means life and death, it means quality of living, it means belonging, acceptance, and understanding, to name a few.
In the beginning it was my hearts desire for ALL military widows to unite; the young and the old crossing the generation gap barriers, joining together sharing resources of strength, hope, courage, wisdom, energy, stories and experiences. The reality is, personalities get in the way and delay progress. We often stumble into pitfalls of politics, egomania and a hundred other personality differences that keep us from a unification that could richly enhance each our lives. For some of us we have traveled alone for much to long and it is hard to change up now. But we can. We must get past the shallowness of our minds and get to the heart of the matter. We need each other.
Norma M. Parker, enriched my life in the brief moments and conversations we shared. Connecting is important and she always told me so with her smile and accepting joy each time we met.
There are still too many casualties of war that include military widows. Last month we lost Nichole Haycock by suicide. I did not know her personally but I consider her my comrade. And, there are other widows who are still not connected with those who offer the understanding and support of another military widow. We have numerous day to day issues that need to be addressed not on the floor of Congress but on the phone and in the homes of our military widows, widow to widow. We can make a difference but we must do it with acceptance, compassion, understanding, hope, love and perseverance. Where we find a gap...build a bridge, but do not let that gap keep us from uniting.
Further uniting of military widows will require we get out of the shallowness of our minds and into the depths of our heart. It will require that we develop the lines of communication with emotional maturity. We have an abundance of resource in strength, courage, compassion, creative talents, intelligence, faith, hope, and love.
Tuesday, I will meet with the other military widows of our MAL GSW of America, Inc., Boise group, thankful, we have each other.
RIP, Norma Parker, Nichole Haycock and all the other military widows who have gone before me. Thank you, you are not forgotten.