Wednesday, February 22, 2006


In October of 2004 my oldest son Gabriel left home for boot camp.  I let him spread his wings with mixed emotions.  A few years earlier a young and very close friend of the family left for boot camp and returned a few weeks later in a casket escorted by my husband.  People told me not to worry, that Gabe would never do anything like that, but truth be known, our friend never would have done anything like that either.  So in order to relieve the stress on my anxious heart, I started a journal where I recorded my thoughts for Gabe.  Its been almost a year since he graduated from basic training and Gabe is currently serving in Iraq.  I continue the journal now because he is able to read my letters even when he cannot talk to us.  Through snail mail, the phone and the internet we have been able to keep in touch of him during this very difficult and dangerous separation.  The journal began as something just between Gabe and myself, but over the months it has become a way for family, friends and supporters to keep in touch with him.  For those of you who have never had a child serving in harms way, this is just a glimpse of what I go through on a daily basis.

January 11, 2006

Dear Gabe,

I get so many touching and supportive comments here and on Dust Bunnies from people who state that they can't imagine what I must be going through.  This is just a brief summary of what I go through each and every day.

I log on the computer almost as soon as I get up.  Most mornings I try to get the coffee going first so as not to appear too anxious.  Some mornings I go straight to the computer... usually after several days of not hearing from you.  Your dad teases me sometimes, but he knows why it is so important and he patiently awaits to hear whether there is news from you or not.

I am always elated to see your name in my mailbox, but I open the email with caution now.  Too often of late your letters have arrived bearing tragic news.  Even when you don't put the words down, I can tell by the tone of your letter if something is wrong.  A mother can sense these things.

After checking my mailbox I will check the status on my mail sent to you.  I look forward to a date and time on the status window.  Lately there have been days where the emails sit marked (unread) for days.  I already know the routine, that usually precedes bad news.

I leave the computer on until the very last minute on the chance that you might log on while I am home.  It is always with great reluctance that I finally log off and leave for work, many times speeding to beat the time clock.  My lunch hour begins with me speeding home to log back on to check if you have written or read your mail.  Once again I wait until the last minute to log off.  I am tortured by the thought that you might be signing on just as I sign off.  I hate that I might miss a chance to talk with you.

I would love to devote my entire day watching for your name to appear on my buddy list.  In the early days of your deployment I did, but I have learned to step away and tend to the others who still need my attention.  Rocky and Becca have their moments and I must be solid for them.  I have all kinds of optimism for them, and they are easily consoled.

At work I listen to the young wives who struggle to cope while their husbands are deployed.  I coach them, I console them.  I hug the mothers who share my vigil.  I shake the hands of the vets who have done their time.  I am a proud and strong patriot.  Others come to me for support.  They don't know how vulnerable I feel.

I should listen to my own advice, but many nights I sit in front of the computer, trying not to focus on the words that I don't want to read.  Sleep is either elusive or unrestful.  I no longer dream, I don't dare.  Instead I close my eyes and let the darkness muffle my thoughts.  I wake up as tired as I laid down.  Coffee has become an instinct, not a habit or pleasure.

I have begun surfing the internet for all the information I can get so I can better understand what you are going through but cannot say or write.  The reality once shook me with uncontrollable grief.  Now I read with intense but controlled sadness.  I want to say so much more to you in our private letters and here online so others might also understand, but I don't dare for fear of jeopardizing you or others in some way.

And so when someone asks me how I am, I smile and say 'Fine'.  And when they ask about you, I smile even harder and say 'Oh, you know Gabe, he's fine too', and they smile contentedly because that is what they want to hear.

But there is no exaggeration on the number of well wishes and prayers sent out on your behalf.  If prayers were feathers you could fly home son.  But you have your mission so may the feathers instead envelope and protect you until you can come home.

Miss you so much, love you always,




mumma4evr said...

Gabe, because of your mother, you and the guys you are with are in the hearts of many of us.  I want to thank your mother for being the strong woman she is and I want to thank you for doing something others won't do.

wumzels2 said...

though many may comment and say they understand..............truly, only a mother can understand..........and believe me, dorn, i do.........though i do not have a child in the military, i am still a mother.........we have that third eye, we have that second sense, we know things.......we feel things.........we love.........

my blessings to you now and always.........


ally123130585918 said...

Oh Dorn my heart goes out to you - waiting for word from Gabriel I am a mother but have never had a son go to war....I pray he comes home safe and sound - and is able to contact you more  just to put your mind at rest....Ally

princesssaurora said...

{{{ Jody }}} We all wish our prayers could be feathers for Gabe and all the men and women in harms way....

Prayers always for you - mom to mom.

be well,

sdoscher458 said...

((Dorn)) from one mother to another.  It is so hard to sit back and see our young ones fly off especially into danger.  Gabe is a hero in my book, a new breed of young Americans who will stand for their beliefs and our way of life. I hate this war, wish with all my heart that it would end quickly. But I also know that when lines are crossed, it is the youth of our country who stand and serve. When I read your story about your young family friend who died, I cried. His death was so totally wrong. So stay with the course you have set, keeping Gabe close in whatever way you can, the rest of us are saying silent prayers for his safety and the rest of the boys over there....Sandi

njmom72 said...

Oh honey, as a mother myself I too can't begin to imagine what you must be going through. We as a country are so blessed that strong, brave heroes like Gabe so unselflessly give of themselves so that we may be free. I salute both Gabe and you with honor.

If you don't mind, I've linked your journal on my new AOL blog. :-)

~ Susan

gdireneoe said...

...If prayers were feathers you could fly home son...  HUGE freakin' mommy tears for you Dorn...I won't pretend to imagine what you are experiencing.  I will tell you this though, as I've said before...your Gabe is a blessing my life...all our lives.  I will never measure up to the honour that young man will carry for the rest of his life...and my life.  Hugs upon hugs for you both...hugs upon hugs. ;)  C.

jckfrstross said...

It is so hard having a son in Iraq. Praying for the family and you Gabe:) come home soon


missheathyrmarie said...

Dorn, I can't imagine how hard it is for you to go through what you do, on a day to day basis.  I pray every night that Gabe comes home soon, safe & sound.

am4039 said...

I know it must be so hard for you, with worry every day.  It's a good thing we have computers to keep in touch with someone.  Your letter is beautiful and I hope he comes home soon so you can sleep.

debbi4873 said...

God bless you Dorn, and Gabe, God be with him.  He is a brave and wonderful young man.

ali2u2 said...

Dorn your day sounds like my day did till last week when my husband came home after being in Iraq for over a year,he was wounded and is now finishing his recovery stateside. God bless you and Gabe, ya'll are in my prayers. Ali

hestiahomeschool said...

I don't know how you do it, I really can't imagine...but I pray for you and your family every single day. My little brother is safe on an aircraft carrier right least, I hope he is safe...he is only nineteen and seems too young to have all that responsibility...
love, Kas