Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Dear Mrs. Little...

Lance Corporal Jason Little gave his life for his country in January of 2006, just as my own son was considering his post-high school choices and leaning heavily towards a military career. This letter has been 9 1/2 years in the making, and it's about time I told her what she and her son have meant to me.

Dear Mrs. Little,

I have thought to write you so many times, and I never know exactly where to start.  Being from Climax, I am certain our paths have crossed many times, but I can't really say we know each other. We probably have a lot in common, and I have prayed for you and your family many times.  I am so very sorry for the loss of your dear son.

I have tried not to imagine the pain and grief your family has endured, but it follows me.  It has been my greatest fear, ever since my oldest son joined the Army in 2006. With Jason's death having been in January, Jordan's induction in June stirred up thoughts of him and your family from the very beginning. Six years later, Jordan's younger brother Spencer would swear the same oath.  I was so proud of my sons as they swore an oath to protect this country to the point of death, and I wondered if you felt that same pride when Jason pledged the same thing. Surely, you were as afraid as I was.  I prayed for you on those days.  I prayed for all of our sons, and all the sons and daughters who take that oath, hoping they understand that it means exactly what it says.

When my Jordan deployed, I thought of Jason.  I'm sure they were both excited for an adventure, and a chance to see the world outside of the village limits. Jordan went to Germany, and my mother heart was worried. I knew his wife would be with him, so it wouldn't be as scary as being in a combat zone, but it's still awfully far away.

When Spencer told me he was being deployed to Afghanistan, I got panicky.  I wondered how you handled the news when Jason told you he was going to Iraq.  Were you in the same mixed bag of feelings I was?  Were you excited that your son would have the chance to be brave and valiant, and see the world and work to make it a better, safer place?  Were you, like me, terrified for them to be in a place where people wanted to do them harm? What a roller coaster of emotion! I took to the practice of hugging random uniformed service people, since my own son was unavailable.  (They didn't mind too much, and I asked first.)  I swear I held my breath for months, treasuring each letter and message, fearing each one would be our last. I feared that you and I would one day be standing side by side, mourning our sons together in Fort Custer. I prayed to have strength. I prayed for YOU to have strength.  I prayed that God would hold you in his arms, and you would find comfort there.

I've prayed for you so many times. I prayed for you and Jason, and the birthdays you will celebrate and remember the day he was born, without him.  Every Christmas, I think of you, and send up a prayer that somehow Jason will be present with you, smiling down on you and your husband and his siblings.  I pray that you will have so many wonderful memories of him, that his absence will not overshadow them.  I pray for his sister and brother, as I watch Jordan and Spencer's siblings rally around their brothers when they come home for a visit.

What I really want you to know is that Jason is not forgotten.  You raised a son who was brave, and willing to do all it took to protect our way of life.  He gave the ultimate sacrifice, and he gave a piece of you with it.  Your son is not forgotten. Neither are you. I wish I could carry away a piece of your pain.  In my heart, I see him when I see men in uniform.  He is honored every time the National Anthem plays and caps are removed. He is not forgotten, and neither are the others.

I saw in this week's Climax Crescent that you and your daughter are running a marathon in Washington DC in Jason's memory. It is a fundraiser for the Semper Fi Fund, which offers aid to wounded service people of all branches of the service. I will make a donation to support you and Stephanie financially at this donation website , and please know that I support you in prayer... still.

It's hard to believe it's been almost ten years.  He is still in my thoughts, and so are you.  Thank you, bless you, and stay strong.

With love and admiration from one Military Mom to another,

Amy Swager


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