The Army has protocol; the Army does not have protocol. After being told that I could not get access to Jake’s autopsy report until the investigation is completely finished, another Gold Star Mom suggested I press the issue. She had managed to get hers in 3 months of persistent inquiries through her Casualty Assistance Officer. I asked My CAO immediately, thinking he can get the report in about three months, but now it is being delivered to me on Tuesday. Tuesday is so soon! Am I prepared, and will I ever be prepared? I have been so desperate to know exactly how Jake died, so I can put these images and ideas of his suffering to rest that I hadn’t considered how to prepare myself. I thought is was so far down the road. I’m told from the men in the field that he died instantly, but I have so many terrible thoughts and images of Jake’s suffering. I was told to prepare myself because there are so many injuries and they are “graphically described”. How does a mother prepare for this?

I spoke to a GSM who has had her son’s sealed autopsy report for two years. She said she needs to know but can’t find the right time, the right place, and the right person to be with for support. I don’t know either. My counselor at the VA, my husband, an army chaplain, my CAO, another mom whose been through it…? I need to know how he died and how quickly it happened, but at the same time I still want to pretend that all of this never happened. I don’t want it to become even more real! I just want Jake back and for all of this to go away!

Sometimes I feel like I’m finally accepting that Jake is gone. I think of him in the spirit world and I can smile and be happy that he is well. I can get through my day without as much crying, but then suddenly the grief hits me like a ton of bricks. I am so tired of the pain, so tired of the tears and so tired of being fooled into thinking that the grief is ending. Even with this, if I force myself to look at the big picture, I can see that I have made improvements. I know that I will never stop thinking of him, never stop loving him, and never stop missing him. I hope for days with fewer tears and more laughter. That’s what Jake would want for me.

It’s labor day weekend and we have friends coming from Denver for a week. I haven’t had many visitors because I’m not able to entertain with my illnesses and my grief, but this couple doesn’t need to be entertained, so they will be a welcome distraction. It’s wonderful to be loved.

Max, the wonder dog has been having seizures since we moved here. They seem to be induced by exercise which we do daily. I am the world’s best dog owner, but for three months, I have put taking him to the vet on the back burner. If I ignore it, maybe it will go away. I cannot bear the thought of losing him at this time in my life. He is my comfort and such good company. I need him, so I vow to take him this week!