Thanksgiving Reunion with returning Afghanistan Soldier – A Mother’s Prayer Revisited

Previously I told you about my son’s friend who was injured in Afghanistan. His name is Chris. It happened in August. A rocket hit his bunker and he was bombarded by shrapnel. Hee came home to Oregon for Thanksgiving, a mother’s prayer answered, a family’s hopes fulfilled. We were invited to dinner on Saturday. Our son was here visiting, too, another mother’s prayer, another prayer of thanks.

As we knocked on the door, we were filled with anticipation, not knowing what to expect. We weren’t sure if we should hug him—we didn’t want to hurt him! Then the door opened and there was Chris, smiling and, yes, he hugged us, carefully and oh, so wonderfully! This tall, strapping, left-handed soldier, his left shoulder torn and shattered, imbedded with pieces of shrapnel, had a spirit that buoyed us all—his smile, his eyes, his joy at being home with his family and friends.

He had been taken to Germany for his initial surgeries and stabilization. Word has it that he asked one of the nurses for a beer and she wouldn’t give him one. Being a nurse myself and knowing that Chris has a great sense of humor, I brought him a bottle of Newcastle (I had inside information that it was his favorite beer). As he and my son clinked bottles in a reunion toast at the kitchen counter amidst the aroma of turkey and trimmings, I noticed that Chris was using his left arm to drink his beer. While his shoulder is impaired, his elbow bent just enough for the bottle to reach his mouth. I commented what great physical therapy it was for his shoulder! His laugh was a delight.

It was a Thanksgiving reunion I will forever remember, a tapestry in time, a moment not “frozen in time” but held by its warmth of spirit and family for all time in our hearts. The words in my long ago written “Mother’s Prayer” were for Chris and for every mother’s and father’s child who is hurting. During the weeks following Chris’ injury, we shared in his “. . . pain and tears,” and while he still has a long road of rehabilitation ahead of him, on that Saturday after Thanksgiving “. . . his smile and his joy. . .” were ours again. I hope you all had a warm and forever kind of Thanksgiving, too.

Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN, ACSM
Your Personal Trainer

A Mother’s Prayer

By Olivia Rossi
Your Personal Trainer

When they’re little you can hug them and kiss it better. The childhood tragedies, the beloved pets who die, moving away from friends, the tears . . . but what do you do when they are twenty-five or thirty and far away and hurting? What can you do for your child? How do you make the pain go away?

Being a parent never changes the pain you feel when your children are hurting, no matter how old they are, no matter whether that pain is physical or emotional. Many years ago I wrote this poem for a friend of ours. Her son was in pre-school with our son. His little brother got burned and his parents were hurting right along with him.

Last month, another friend of our son’s was badly injured in Afghanistan by an incoming attack while he was in his bunk. He had twelve pieces of shrapnel removed. His parents are hurting, our son is hurting and we are hurting. The words I wrote when our son was a little boy haven’t changed.

A Mother’s Prayer
Child of my flesh
It was of love that you were born
And through love that you now grow
and laugh and feel.
We’ve shared yesterdays
of smiles and joy, but
Today I share your pain and tears,
pain also born of love, for
without love there is no pain.
Today my heart breaks for you,
aches for you, my son,
Because your pain is mine, but
My heart leaps for tomorrow
when your smile and
your joy will be mine
again, too,
And my love will be deeper
for the pain
and the joy.

By Olivia Rossi, RN, MSN, ACSM
Your Personal Trainer

Remembering women veterans: Patty Berg — Golf star and Marine

Patty Berg
Patty Berg

Patty Berg

Many people think women golfers are a recent phenomenon, but the story of Patty Berg goes back a half century. Patty Berg helped create the LPGA in 1948 and was the LPGA’s first president. Berg won 15 major titles which is an all-time record for a woman golfer. Berg also served in WWII as a Marine lieutenant. This memorial day Oregon Women’s Report would like to remember this great American veteran and outstanding athlete Patty Berg.