Our Heavy Hearts in Chattanooga

Editor’s Note: Katie Foley is 2014 & 2015 Independent Installation and Reserve Marine Corps Spouse of the Year.
It’s every military spouse and parent’s nightmare. We all pretty much imagine it the same. The black car pulls up. In slow motion and complete silence, the men in uniform walk with a purpose to the front door. They knock. The door opens slowly and their mouths move. Maybe sound comes out. Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe we already know why they are there. Maybe we don’t.
We stand shocked, in disbelief. No. It’s not my husband. No. It’s not my son. No. No, no, no.
Last week, five families were shell-shocked. Destroyed. Broken.
I can only imagine what they’re going through. They send their sons, their brothers, their husbands to work on a beautiful summer day in one of the most scenic cities in America. They are safe. They are in the south, in a city filled with people who are patriotic and love America and nothing bad could happen to them here. And then?
I can’t even begin to put into words the sorrow I am feeling for my reserve family today. I could describe the fear for my fellow independent installation and reserve spouses. I could tell you about the worry and the anger and the passion. But I can’t fully describe the sorrow. It is mind numbing. It is deep and painful.
“I’m sorry for your loss.” It feels so hollow. “Please accept my condolences.” They aren’t enough. I want to reach through my computer screen to every family member who lost their Marine or Sailor last week and just hug them tight. I want to cry with every one of them and tell them how truly sorry I am for their loss.
I am so, so desperately sorry for your loss. I did not know your sons, your husbands, your brothers, your fathers. But I know you, military spouse. Military parent. Military child, sibling. I know you loved your Marine and your Sailor. I know you’re hurting. I know you’re sorry, too.
On behalf of the military spouse community, on behalf of our fellow independent installation and reserve community, please accept my condolences. Our hearts and our prayers are with you and your loved ones in this difficult time. Please know that we love you, we support you, and we will be right here for you if you need us.

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