Matt, Cinta, and Mark, Evanston, IL, November 1982
Sob! Can you hear my heart ripping to pieces? Can you feel my pain? I just got off the phone with Mark, who's in Indianapolis. Years before my nephew Josiah came along, Mark was my first "son." Not that Josiah replaced Mark, for no such thing could or would ever happen. Mark has grown into a fine young man of 25, and Josiah has grown into a bright 8-year old. But what these two boys have in common, though, is that I held and cradled them in my arms within days of their being born, and I helped raise them. Next thing I knew, they stole my heart while I wasn't looking.
I'd been waiting impatiently to call Mark. I sensed the urgency of the call, but with our vastly different time zones, I had to wait as I didn't want to call him at 2 o'clock in the morning. I did such a good job distracting myself that I almost lost track of time. Dang! My heart pounded as my fingers raced to dial the number. The phone rang several times, but there was no answer. "Darn it; I waited too late to call," I thought. Finally, I heard his voice. "Hello?"
"Mark!", I half-yelled in relief. Hi! It's Cinta!" Mark said something inaudible and then there was silence for about a few seconds. "Hello? Mark?", I said. "Hi; I had to go outside to get a better reception," he replied. "I heard you're going to Iraq!" "Yeah; we're getting shipped out today."
My conversation with Mark lasted all of five minutes. Then I heard, "I've gotta go. They're calling us." "You're leaving?", was my futile attempt at prolonging the inevitable disconnection. "Yeah; they're already getting into formation." UGH!
"You be careful, Mark! You take care. I love you!" "I love you, too." He promised to e-mail me if and when he got a chance. Then silence. The disconnection has been completed. Sob!
Today is March 30, 2007. This is not a good way to end this day. Sob! Before I go to sleep, I will say a prayer tonight and every night and ask GOD to keep and protect you, Mark, and to bring you back to us safely.
I found this prayer, which I feel is appropriate.
Hearts are heavy now, dear Lord
For WAR is looming there.
Our prayers are calling out to you,
Our thoughts too much to bear.
Be with our loved ones--THEY NEED YOU.
Guide them, lead them, see them through.
Bless our leader, for we know,
He asks Your blessings, and needs them so.
Protect the innocent, shield their lives,
As bombs and missiles streak the skies.
Open our hearts and fill us with grace,
Guard our loved ones in that place.
This I say, in earnest prayer,
THANK YOU LORD
I know YOU'RE there.