To be terribly honest, this day has always been a day that really just came and went for me. I would notice all of the additional flags along the business fronts as I drove through town, but that was really the extent of it. And now, I'm embarrassed to admit that. Last week - November 5th, 2009 - 13 men and women were shot and killed at Fort Hood. Like so many others, I was angered and saddened to see and hear about these events.
Then... my heart was broken. I found out a dear friend's brother was at Fort Hood and could not be reached during this day. I saw her posts on Facebook - could hear the fear in her status updates as she asked if anyone had heard anything. I followed the news and her updates through the day. That evening, I sent her a text to see what she had heard. A wave of thankfulness came upon me as her returning text read, "He's not on the deceased list. *I think*"
Unfortunately, as I was rushing to get Caleb to school the next morning, I saw my phone... and the 2 texts that awaited me. I didn't even have to read them. I knew. I just knew. Begrudgingly, I clicked on them and saw that they were from two fellow friends informing me that my friend Leila had indeed lost her beloved brother Jason Dean Hunt. My heart broke right then and there for her, and I cried the rest of the drive to Caleb's school - trying to explain to an almost six year old why I was crying.
In the past week I have gone through so many emotions - sadness as I cry for what Leila's going through... being reminded of her pain each time I see her on t.v. and the pictures of Jason that are shown over and over. Anger has been a big part of my feelings as well - why did this have to happen?! Helplessness - because I just can't do enough to let Leila know she's so important to me and that I just really want to be there for her.
I am going to Oklahoma this weekend to attend her brother's funeral because it is all I know to do to offer as much support as I possibly can. All I can continue to do is pray for Leila and her family in this time of great pain and sadness. And I do pray. I pray God grants them peace in all of this and reveals to them His plan for their lives in honoring and remembering Jason.
And, from this Veteran's Day on, I vow to be more aware and conscious of our troops and the amazing job they do - both abroad and AT HOME - to keep each and every one of us as safe as they possibly can.
Thank you, Jason Dean Hunt, for your service and dedication to our country. And thank you, Leila Hunt Willingham, for sharing your brother with us and the amazing love that has been and will always be between you. He would have chosen you each and every day to be his beautiful big sister.