Thursday, August 25, 2011

A mom, The American Red Cross, and her son ...

There are times as a Military Mom where dealing with organizations outside of the Military, but for the benefit of your service child, are necessary.   The fear of giving my child's personal information, hits closer to home than any mother would like.  It puts a new light on the phrase ~  "loose lips sink ships".  Throughout the Military career of my son,  I was told and taught the cause and effect of giving out too much information.  It is drilled into your very skull.   I know the dangers our military men and women are faced with daily; it's seen on news channels, it can be read in the newspapers, and even watch as it is streamed across internet feeds.   Still, it does not make it any easier to spell out his first and last name.  Recite the digits of his social security number.  Even replaying his birth in my mind, as I speak his birth date.

A few weeks ago I contacted The American Red Cross, word needed to be delivered to my military son.  A message, that I felt, shouldn't be read in an email from either family or friends,  and not seen on a social networking site.  Death of a family member {any member}should be heard the proper way, we all deserve that right, no matter where you are.  My son was not in a position to receive such a phone call, so contact with the one organization whom could ensure such a delivery, The American Red Cross, was made.  This was the scariest phone call any military parent could make.  I knew my son was alright, there was no need to fear anything as far as that goes,  but handing over such personal information ... to a stranger on the other end of a phone ... quite frankly,  scared the crap out of me.  

With each question asked, my mind raced in a thousand different directions.. 
Full names of Service Member?
What branch?
Birthday of Service member?

The questions continued, and I found myself beginning to relax.  The voice on the other end wasn't stiff and cold as I had envisioned rather, she could have been a close friend of mine.  She made me feel at ease, comfortable, and made it a point to state "the information you are giving today will not be shared with anyone outside this office".  Something in her voice told me she was speaking the truth.  I could trust, and count on her, and the organization, to get the necessary information to my son.  No matter where he was. 

Days, weeks, and it could have even been years that passed by, when my phone rang ....  Alright, so it wasn't days, or even weeks for that matter.  OK!!!  Not even years went by, but when waiting for a phone to ring, it sure does seem  that long.   The next day,  my son called me; he had just gotten word from The American Red Cross via his CO.  Plans were in the making for him to come home.   Throughout the whole process, The American Red Cross phoned me, making sure I had heard from my son, asking if there was anything else they could do for me, they even said when my son arrived stateside and was unable to fly all the way home, that The American Red Cross would help with that as well.   Every step of the planning, the men and women of The American Red Cross were right there with me.  Checking to see if they could assist any further,  to see if my sons flight plans were made, making sure my sons travels brought him right to our home airport.  It was the best feeling ever in the world, knowing they were there making sure he made it home safely. 

Although his travel home wasn't for R&R or down time; there was time for a good old fashioned meal.  Days after his grand mothers service was held, and visiting with his family was tended to;  my son spent some much needed down time enjoying a home cooked meal on the grill...

Paul manned the grill ...

I took pictures to capture the moments.  My son hasn't been home in quite a while; since he was stationed at his base in 2008; so having him on my front stoop, was quite an event..

When my son could not figure out how to make the chair recline, my mother jumped to her feet to offer her assistance; but not before she directed from the sofa.  "It pushes in James.  The button.  Push it in and the chair will recline"  When that didn't work, she offers another route.  "Maybe it is out.  Pull it out James, the button.  I am sure it pulls out and the chair will recline".  When that didn't work either, she got up to help him out.  I could not stop laughing {as you can tell from the picture}.  Once my mother was up and trying to help my son, I said "Where's the camera" in which my mother replied "Don't you get a picture of my butt"  Classic moment.  Although James face is blurry in the photo, you can clearly see he is laughing at this moment.

Oh yeah.  Hot enough to bring on the Rib-eyes.

Hungry men {and there were 4 of them} require hearty meals.  This dinner consists of Rib Eye Steaks, Corn on the cob {cooked on the grill}, baked potatoes, and a slice of apple pie.

Nothing better then knowing your teeth will be sinking into that in a short while, right? ...

Except seeing your family visiting after such a long time.  James and Mark {my brother} catch up on military past and present.  Mark was in the Air Force. 

My goodness.. just look at that apple pie.  My mouth is watering just thinking about the wonderful taste.

Dinner was a hit.  Everyone ate till their hearts content, and when it came time to watch the scary movie {Paranormal 2} a slice of pie was cut and a scoop {or 2} of ice cream was added to the top.  Let the screaming begin.  

Having my son home, even for just a short while; was the best feeling ever.  I could not take my eyes off of him.  Seeing him leave the next day, was one of the hardest thing I have done.  Saying goodbye to your child, is never easy.  But until there is a next time; I will hold these memories close to my heart and relive the moments through the photos I've captured {blurry ones and all}, and laugh as each shot is replayed in my mind.

To the Men and Women of The American Red Cross:  Thank you for an outstanding job. You made a difficult time for my son manageable; and took the stress of making sure he made it home, off my shoulders.  Thank you for being the Wings of an Angel. 


  1. Beautiful Joss,
    Been there done that, so there is a deep understanding and gratitude towards the Red Cross for making it happen, when it needs to happen.

    Very glad you got a few hours or days with your son. It is not nearly enough but it will suffice until he returns!

  2. What a beautiful post. Thanks for educating me that the American Red Cross assists members of the service & their families in this way.

    (found your blog via Cabin Fever in Vermont)

  3. Thank you so much Lauren. Time with my son is never enough, but I fully understand and support him in every way.

  4. Hello Kittyhere, thank you for the comment. I could not have gotten as far as I did, without The American Red Cross. The amount of stress they took of my shoulders, couldn't be measured. It brings me great joy to hear my Blog Post passed on helpful information concerning our service men and women.