Military Mama: The “A” word and a student’s tragic death

By Jade Stone

Well the winds of change have begun to blow, ushering out that sweltering heat and pushing in those cool fall breezes! And thank Heavens for that! I don’t know about you all but I am so ready for sweatshirt season! But that’s not the only things that are changing here lately. This was a big week for us on two fronts — School and Home.

It has finally been handed down that Jay has been handpicked to deploy with an elite medical unit next year. I was all excited that he had another year with us until the other shoe dropped: While he will be here until June, he will be deploying to Afghanistan instead of Iraq.

I could have gone all day without hearing the dreaded “A” word. That may seem strange. I don’t really want him to deploy at all but if it’s going to happen, I’d really rather it have been Iraq. But, since that is not in our power to change we will just have to make the best of it.

Apparently this is a new unit that has been formed to address a current need however all other information is classified. Sometimes I think “It’s Classified” is the military way of saying “we are flying by the seat of our pants but don’t want you to know that yet”. Maybe not, but one simply must wonder sometimes.

So, I suppose we will spend this next year much like the last, worrying in anticipation of something that is to come.  Two years is a long time to be on the edge of your seat.

On another note, this weekend left me wondering about my own mortality as well as the mortality of my loved ones. Many of you may already know that I teach at a local high school and last week, we lost a very dear young lady to a fatal car accident which was no fault of hers. She was a senior this year and just found out she’d been nominated to our homecoming court. Many of you may know or have heard about this on the news. Friday was a struggle for our entire school.

This young lady touched so many hearts in so many ways, even in those she didn’t know well. Her kindness and bright smile knew no bounds and this was absolutely evident in the reaction that the students had to this tragic event.

The outpouring of love and prayer that have come from the students is overwhelming. Kids began decorating her parking spot early on Friday morning with flowers and letters as a way to honor her memory and then held a prayer vigil at the flag poles as a way to unite all 3,600 of them together in light of such a tragedy. Her parents even came to this prayer meeting to thanked the kids for all their support.

But in this day and age, Facebook and Twitter have taken the cake in terms of disseminating this news and spreading it to the point it has caught the world’s attention! It appears that the kids began re-tweeting “#SaraForHomecomingQueen” on Twitter.

I recently found out that not only was it trending in 4 countries but it has also caught the attention of a few celebrities who kindly re-tweeted the same hashtag. If this doesn’t prove the Kevin Bacon 6 degrees of separation theory is true, I don’t know what does.

You see, no matter how big the world gets, we are all still just people yearning to connect with those around us, and this is what unites us as one Nation. The only difference between this generation and a generation 10 years ago, is the technology that is readily available to our nation’s youth.

These kinds of tragic moments always spark some of the darkest of thoughts and fears. For example, I spent the weekend contemplating what her poor parents must be feeling and trying to imagine how I might react. This young lady was an only child, as is my own and I have to admit the mere thought makes me cringe.

I would be lying if I said this didn’t affect me in anyway. Friday night I laid awake watching my little boy sleep, finding comfort in the rise and fall of his breathing, so peaceful. There really is nothing sweeter than the sound of a sleeping child, especially when it is yours.  His laughter brightens my darkest of days and I can’t fathom a world without him in it.

With everything that has happened in my life and the lives of those around me, along with the happenings of this past week, I can tell you from experience, you can’t hug your kids or your spouse enough because the world truly can be a cruel place and you simply never know what moment may be their last.

If you are a spiritual person, say an extra prayer tonight for this young lady’s parents and give thanks for all you have been given in life because our families really are gifts that we have the privilege of taking care of for a very short while and sadly, all good things must come to an end, no matter how bittersweet the ending.

Jade welcomes your comments here as well as any suggestions you may have for her future posts. You may also e-mail her at To read previous Military Mama posts, CLICK HERE.