All Stories, General Fiction, Writing

Residual Grief of The Dead Soldiers Mother by S.A. Cavanagh

When we received this work we were undecided what to do with it. We knew that we wanted to publish such a powerful and emotional piece of writing but, in fairness, it isn’t what we would normally class as a story. I will be honest and say that it moved me to tears.
Anyway, fate took a hand. We were scheduling this week at the time and when better to publish this than Remembrance Day. 

Before you read this story we would like to present a note from the author:

I wrote this story about my friend Roslyn, her son Tyler and a little bit about myself to a certain extent.  I met Roslyn in a round about way, and found out she is a Gold Star Mother.  Roslyn lost her son Tyler to the war in Afghanistan. He was killed by a suicide bomber.  I am a Veteran and have struggled with operational stress injuries from my overseas military duties and my work as a civilian flight paramedic.  Roslyn and I would talk about her grief and the loss of her son Tyler.  I would listen to Roslyn and feel her pain and suffering; I could relate and empathize with the loss of her beautiful son.  Soon I realized that all mothers of soldiers suffer to some degree, with fear, anxiety, grief and despair.  Some mothers soldier children are killed in war, others suffer serious injuries of the body and mind, some die by suicide post war, and others are never able to function properly again.  The mothers of soldiers that go off to war bear these scars of conflict because their child is changed and will never be the same.  Roslyn inspired me to write this story because of her will to go on, her determination to hold on to Tyler’s memory and her love for him.  Roslyn is the consummate representative of a Gold Star mother and she deserves to have her story told and that of all mothers that are casualties of war.


Residual Grief of The Dead Soldiers Mother by S.A. Cavanagh

Warriors die, Soldiers die.  Warriors get injured, Soldiers get injured.  This is a fact.

Warrior Soldiers give themselves to a calling, sometimes the Warrior understands the calling, sometimes not. 

Warrior Soldiers are not afraid, until they are afraid.  Warrior Soldiers that are afraid remain brave, this is a fact. 

Warrior Soldiers come from many backgrounds, good families, bad families; some have no real family at all. 

The Warrior with no family sometimes becomes a professional soldier born of the desire for family, something to love them for who they are, what they are.  Somewhere to belong.

In battalions and squadrons, platoons and detachments, Soldier Warriors find brotherly love, sometimes they find sisters to love, fathers and mothers to love. Sometimes they are called Sir or Ma’am, or Sergeant or Corporal; they are all the soldiers’ family.

The military becomes a Soldier Warriors kin and blood. In the absence of a genetic family the Army or the Navy, maybe the Marines, maybe the Air Force becomes the soldiers family, it does not matter they have found a place, to belong.  The Warrior Soldier has a family now. 

For some Warriors family means more.  A Warrior Soldier that comes from unconditional love has two families.  This fortunate soul is loved by many, probably a mother too.

A Warrior with two families, knows a mother’s love. 

Soldiers die, Warriors die. This is a fact.  Mothers bear children who become Soldier Warriors and they sometimes die this we know, it is a fact.   

When Warriors and Soldiers die, a mother’s heart dies, this is a fact.  It is not a scientific fact, but everyone understands this.

A mother’s love is powerful like the universe, it is deep and quiet, it is unconditional and remains like the residue of pollen from a beautiful flower.

When a Warrior dies, a mother’s soul breaks like fine china dropped from on high. 

A mother’s soul broken can never be whole again.  All the Kings Horses and all the Kings men can not put a mother’s heart back together, never ever again.  This is a fact. It is not a scientific fact, but everyone knows this. 

Kindness, empathy, and love can comfort a dead Soldier’s mother for a moment, maybe a minute, maybe even two, but that is all. A mother’s love is timeless and so is her residual grief. 

Her soul hurts because her child is gone, her questions can never be answered. A Mother’s tears never stop, even when they dry up.  If you have seen a dead Warrior Soldier’s mother you will see her eyes, they are the eyes of loss and pain, even when her eyes smile they betray her with reflections of her dead child, a Warrior Soldier. 

A dead Warrior’s mother soon goes colour blind, all colours turn grey or blue, and blue or grey, like her residual grief. 

Food tastes bland and wine no longer spirits the pallet of a mother who is the one, of a dead Soldier Warrior. 

Soldiers are killed, Warriors die in battle.  This is a fact, it is mathematically correct. A dead Soldier’s mother has done the arithmetic; her solution comes with thorns, tears and blood. 

Mothers of dead Soldiers move through life differently now; this is a fact, it is not hard to see.  Some mothers stay busy to keep the noise quiet in her head.  Others fall into a deep abyss of a mother’s residual grief.  Some dead Soldier’s mothers push everything away that loves them, because most things hurt deep like a burn. Dead Warriors mothers ask god for relief, some Soldiers mothers ask god for a lobotomy.  This is a fact, not something everyone understands. 

Soldiers love their mothers, this is a fact.  Mothers love their Soldier sons and daughters, this is a fact everyone knows this.   

A mother’s love never dies, not even after her Warrior Soldier has left. 

Some Warriors loose their minds.  This is a fact, everyone knows this.  A Soldier’s mind is intelligent and absorbs the environment of war.  Warrior Soldiers bear witness to things others can not understand or will ever feel. It is a fact.  A mother can feel her child’s mind slipping away.

Warrior Soldiers, that loose their minds on the battlefield, die too. This everyone knows, it is a fact.  Sometimes they relieve their burden; mothers are left behind with residual grief.    

Soldiers loose their mothers when the mind becomes injured. The Warrior unable to feel a mother’s love, though they long to.  A mother watches her child’s mind struggle; part of her heart dies too.  This child of love and joy is dead and gone, on the battlefield, but not yet in a soldier’s grave. 

Warrior Soldiers with a dead mind can not feel a mother’s love, it does not matter how full of love this mother’s heart is. 

When you see the mother of a dead Warrior Soldier, see her residual grief; see her heart as it is now, remodelled by pain.  See her love, see the ache in her heart, hear the noise in her mind, it will never be quiet. Her child is gone, see a mother’s residual grief, it is a fact, everyone sees this. 

S.A. Cavanagh

Image by Peter Dargatz from Pixabay 

5 thoughts on “Residual Grief of The Dead Soldiers Mother by S.A. Cavanagh”

  1. Hi Sean,
    For all those writers out there who try to do certain topics justice, they need to take a lesson from this. They can do all the research that they want, but if they truly want to get the reality and emotion into their words, they must speak to those who know.
    This is a stunning tribute my friend!!


  2. A good post. Thank you.
    From one who still suffers from war.
    Blood family is one thing but they can’t truly understand that not having a family in green anymore is devastating.


  3. Beautifully said. I too am suffering from the loss of my son because of all the grief he suffered and experienced during his time of service.


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