Finding out about the death of a spouse or other loved one is agonizing. I know. I lost my father when he was very young. Already older and on my own with my own family, his loss, while agonizing, was not the loss of my way of life. But what if you are the dependent of a military service member? When you are told of his or her death, you've not only lost a member of your family, but you have now also lost the life you lead.
The military is pretty clinical about how it deals with death notification. There is a prepared and required speech from the commander. There is a chaplain immediately available, the assignment of a casualty assistance officer, and a couple of other spouses to take care of business immediately following the notification.
A GO team is usually two women who follow the chaplain into the house of a woman just told about her husband's death in Afghanistan. Of course, the spouse could be a man but generally it is not.
So what happens after all the food is gone? Or after the passing of six months and now the spouse is required to move off post, away from her friends? And in moving off post, now the children must move to a new school -- again.
From a new member of our critique group comes the story of a military widow struggling not only through the five stages of grief, but also the stages of Army separation. I've only read the first 15 pages but I can tell this is going to be an incredibly powerful story.
Do everyday Americans need to read it? Yes. Because everyday Americans who want to "support the troops" need to understand it includes the troop's family. And that family needs to be able to move on from one of the hardest moments of their lives.
If you want to know more about supporting troops, please see the links to the left.