October 1, 2003

// April 23rd, 2010 // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

Jane, my long time and closest friend, called to tell me that Jeff is coming home from Iraq. She was hesitant to share the news with me because of what happened to Steve.

We were both worried about our sons during the same time. Hers was in a foreign war; mine was in a personal war. My son lost his battle, but hers is coming home safe. She was afraid that her news would magnify my loss, but I am delighted! There’s no way my heart can feel anything but utter joy and relief to hear this wonderful news!

I admit ~ I was more worried for Jeff after Steve died. So often in the last twenty-five years events in our lives seem to have run parallel. It seems to go deeper than just because we are close friends with so much contact. Of course we share the same types of interests but sometimes we have similar problems at the same time ~ we are both sensitive to perfumes and other scents, both suffer from migraines, neither of us can eat dairy products without paying a price in our health (oh how I miss ice cream!). We have had two babies together (Nick and Jeff, then eight years later Janiece and Laura). Our kids would sometimes get sick at the same time, even if they hadn’t been together to catch the bug at the same place. I guess this is common for friends that have been together for so long. But after Steve died, I was so afraid that again we would be going through another trial together. I didn’t want Jane to feel this pain, to lose her son. Oh, how I have prayed for Jeff’s safety. I’ve kept my concerns to myself, though. Why worry her more than she already has been? Maybe the same idea has taken root in her, but I’ve been afraid to ask.

And now Jeff will be returning to his mom. My loss has no bearing on my feelings about Jeff’s homecoming. I cannot be jealous that my friend will soon be able to to throw her arms around her son again. To know for certain that he is safe. And I can’t even wish that the tables were turned. It just isn’t in me.
It is what it is ~ a time for great joy and celebration!

Godspeed, Jeff, and welcome home!

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