We remembered our heroes this past November 11th here in Canada. Our local Legion had a wonderful service, I am told, as I was on the highway, with my husband coming back from a trip to the city. We did have our moment of silence along with radio at the 11th hour. I missed the service because I do hold it sacred. I always take the day off from work to attend. I couldn’t attend the first service after Ryan died. He died in September and by November, it was still so painful that I knew I couldn’t be silent for two minutes thinking of all those other young men who had passed. Ryan’s name was read out that year along with other Legion members who had died during the year. Ryan had become a Legion member as soon as he was old enough.
I feel for every mother who has lost a son fighting for his country. They are just boys. I have had four boys of my own and each one, at one time or another, has had the notion of joining the army. I encouraged Ryan in that direction when he was young because I thought that would be a good way for him to get an education and I also saw something in Ryan that I thought needed guidance and structure. Alas, it did not go that way, and I lost him to drugs and suicide instead. Since his death, I have the fear of losing another child and so I have forbidden the other boys to dare thinking of joining and have told them that I would never support them in this. They would have me hanging on to a leg and have to drag me along with them to the recruitment office. But as time goes on and I continue to work on my healing, I think that I would be able to let them make their own decisions again some day. Andy is now thinking of becoming a police officer (if he doesn’t become a NBA star).
The pain of losing a child is a horrible pain. It is like having your heart ripped out of your chest, cut up with a machete and stuffed back in. Takes a long time to heal. And is left terribly scarred. There may be different scars, I think, depending on how your child died and how you as a person think or believe. If you have faith in something greater.
My goal has been to make Ryan’s life a life that counted. To make him have existed and to have had a purpose. Ryan’s suicide, he said in his notes, was to make people aware of how “bad” drugs are. In his state of mind, it made sense to him to end his life to do that. Ryan’s death is not heroic, he made mistakes, but he existed, he was real and his life has meaning in the grand scheme of things somehow.
The Highway of Heroes by The Trews is a must see video.