Thursday, September 30, 2010

Too often the widows silently grieve

The first time I met Elizabeth Woods, in late April, she showed me a scrapbook she made of Brian's life. Putting it together, she said, was therapy for her after he was killed. It's a beautiful piece of artwork, and we spent about two hours looking through the pages.

"This is Brian at 10 months old," she said, pointing to a baby. "He looks like our daughter, the same brow bones, the eyes, the chubby cheeks. I get to see him by looking at her face."

We laughed at lot that morning, especially at some of the sillier photographs. Afterward, Elizabeth's sister, Jennifer Burns, told me how wonderful it was to hear Elizabeth talk about Brian and laugh again. "Thank you so much," Jennifer said.

This week, other widows have said the same thing. One woman was passing through Charlotte on her way home to Fort Bragg and saw part of "The War Widow" series. "Unfortunately I happen to be a war widow, too," she said. "You don't really hear so much about the women, especially at Fort Bragg, because we've had a lot of soldiers taken from us."

Elizabeth's sister, Jennifer, clips stories and obituaries about the deaths to make sure Elizabeth knows. "It seems to be every week there will be at least one or two soldiers who have lost their lives and have young wives or families that are going through what I went through just over a year ago," Elizabeth said.

Unfortunately, she added, there are going to be many more.