Article by: Nancy Weaver, Gold Star Spouse
Editors Note: Gold Star Spouse Day is on April 5th to allow America to pay respect to the spouses and families of fallen members of the U.S. Forces. We want to thank Nancy for being so open in sharing her story with us. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to her family, and all of our Gold Star families.
Gold Star Spouse day brings back vivid memories from my life. It carries me back to a cold, frightening January day when the life of my children and I came to a screeching halt. A day that will be etched in my mind forever; still sending shivers down my back and an ache in my heart. An ache that has slowly subsided year after year, however, I know that ache will never fully cease. At times I feel as if the agony has followed not only me, but my children as well. It has affected every aspect of their lives, every single day… for ten years. People often ask me questions about that day; they wonder how I was notified of my husband’s death, they wonder what it must’ve been like, they imagine how they would react if it had happened to them. Some are afraid to ask, yet eager to hear the answer.
“A Blackhawk medivac helicopter crashed near Fallujah, Iraq last night killing all nine soldiers on board.” Those were the first words I saw on January 8th displayed across my television screen. I didn’t think twice since my husband flew Kiowas. After surviving the bloody battle in Mogadishu, Somalia and surviving a near death experience with testicular cancer, I never worried about losing him. I knew God couldn’t possibly take my husband after all he had endured in his young life. That would just be cruel. My alarm clock blared beside my head. It was 6:00am. I lay there in the dark, alone, listening to my one year old daughter call my name from her room. I rose from my bed, woke up our nine year old son, and got ready for work. I couldn’t wait for my husband to come home.
Those Fayetteville city cop cars sure look like military police cars, I thought to myself as I drove out of my office parking lot. When I returned to work a half an hour later I noticed my co-worker was walking towards me in the parking lot. She mentioned there was someone in the rental office that wanted to talk to us. Oh geez, I thought. Who did we irritate this time? Seeing my friend’s eyes full of tears and the stone cold look on her face frightened me. The entrance to our building was about 500 feet from my car. I took about 10 steps when I realized that the “cop” car wasn’t a cop car. It WAS a military police car. My heart felt like it was going to burst through my ribcage, pounding and pounding, getting steadily faster. My hands shook uncontrollably. My stomach felt as if I had been punched in the gut. I realized in that instant what was happening. I grabbed Doris by the arm. “Is he alive?” I asked. She stared at me. She didn’t know. I dropped everything in my hands. I sprinted up the long driveway like I was running from death’s door. I reached the top of the stairs and flung open the door. There they stood. The men in uniform. Every wife has heard about the men in uniform. They come to your door when a loved one is killed in the military. It’s portrayed on movies, television and in books. And now those men were here to knock on my door.