This Mother’s Day, children across the U.S. will be doing something special for their mothers– writing poems, drawing pictures, purchasing jewelry, or demonstrating their love by taking them to a fancy restaurant. For mothers caring for our nation’s wounded warriors, they will, instead, be dressing wounds, helping put on prosthetic legs, or pushing wheelchairs to and from medical appointments.
For the more than 1,700 young wounded warriors who are amputees or the thousands more who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries, honoring their moms in a traditional way often can be problematic. For these reluctant heroes, and their moms who have bravely fought for them on the battlefield back home, simply finding a parking space that can fit a ramp for a wheelchair, being able to shut a bathroom door for privacy, or just sleeping in a warm, comfortable bed is cause for celebration.
“I’ve been fortunate to get to know mothers of our nation’s most catastrophically wounded warriors who are recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland,” said Dava Guerin. “I was so moved by this experience that I decided to tell their inspiring stories in a book called, Unbreakable Bonds: The Mighty Moms and Wounded Warriors of Walter Reed, along with my co-author, Kevin Ferris.”
From the moment these mighty moms received the call that their son or daughter was injured, they dropped everything to be by their side. Some arrived at Walter Reed from as far away as Alaska and California, and often times, without enough clothing or supplies to get them through an ordeal that could last for three or even four years. If asked, they would often say that any mother would do the same thing, but the sad truth is that their children are different. Being blown up by an improvised explosive device, shot in the head by enemy or friendly fire, or being in a devastating vehicle accident — all while serving in the military and protecting the U.S. — that is a brutal burden to bear.
Their pain is so severe that some soldiers and marines are placed in medically-induced comas, and others so heavily medicated that they either hallucinate or have difficulty speaking or communicating. There are tears of sadness for the loss of limbs, and tears of joy for the preservation of life. Through the days and nights sleeping on hard cots in hospital rooms, cleaning and dressing wounds, and dispensing medication, and wheeling their warriors to rehabilitation sessions and endless doctors’ appointments, these mothers go above and beyond in serving their children and their country.
One bright spot for the moms has been their relationships and enduring bonds that they formed with each other. Living in small apartments on the Walter Reed campus, there wasn’t a day that went by when a mom would not have the support of another, or where a laugh or two wouldn’t wipe away their tears.
What they clearly do not want is pity from the American people. Empathy yes, pity no. They would want people to continue to be generous with their time and resources. Most of all, these mighty moms will need every American’s patience, understanding, and empathy.
On this Mother’s Day, give the gift of empathy to our hidden heroes — the mothers who have sacrificed their lives to care for America’s next greatest generation.
SOURCE Guerin Public Relations, Inc.