“Your daddy died in the war too?”

This is what a little boy named Elijah said the first time he met another child in the same situation that he was in. His mom said it was the first time he felt safe. The meeting happened courtesy of Snowball Express. This charity serves the children of our fallen heroes by bringing them together for special events.

 “This year was our first Snowball Express and while we were there, we marked our 5th month anniversary of losing my husband. It isn’t easy to put into words what Snowball Express meant to my 8-year-old daughter and me but I will try. I guess the easiest way to explain it is to simply state that it was the first time since losing my husband that I went 5 days in a row without crying. Sure, there were a few moments of filling up with tears. However, those were tears of gratitude and pride…”—Jennifer

Bittersweet

On Memorial Day I especially think about the men and women who have died that were friends of troops I’ve come to know. I think about the stories and pictures they’ve shared with me and how much they love and miss their friends. One picture that always makes me smile is the one of my soldier in a kilt drinking beer with his buddy. His friend is smiling so wide, a crazy “cheese” smile that couldn’t possibly be any bigger, I find myself doing the same whenever I look at it. I never met this young man but I cried when he died in Afghanistan. I cried for my soldier and this soldier’s family. And I did the small but heartfelt things we do to support each other when the worst comes to pass.

This holiday weekend I think about how every holiday has become bittersweet for one of my soldiers—the joy of being with his family tempered with the sorrow that his buddy is not doing the same. “I wish we could still just sit around the fire, sharing a beer and few laughs.”

Today, we come together as a nation to remember all those that have served and fallen. As it should be. But there are many days in the year where the losses are felt just as keenly. That’s where organizations like Snowball Express come in. They create ways to put our feelings of gratitude into action.

If you visit Snowball Express you can learn more about what they do, what these events have meant to the families, how to volunteer to be part of it or make a donation.

Happy Memorial Day

A military child at a Snowball Express event

A military child at a Snowball Express event (photo credit- Snowball Express)

© Gina left the mall, 2014

6 thoughts on ““Your daddy died in the war too?”

  1. Gina, Thanks for letting us know about Snowball Express! I watched the Memorial Day Concert on PBS and just cried when they had some of the hosts read stories of service members lost (Diane Wiest (sp?) reading the mother’s story about learning of her one of her son’s death when she came to work was truly heart wrenching! Friday I went and put flowers on the graves of three soldiers who I have never met but their stories have touched me, I wish more people would visit a Veteran’s cemetery ( I figure I can give one day when they gave so much!).

    • Paula, I did not see the concert but I’m sure my reaction would’ve been the same as yours. It truly is heart wrenching. Thank you for going to the Veteran’s cemetery. I am sure it meant something special to those three families to see their loved one remembered and their service and sacrifice appreciated. I have never been to a Veteran’s cemetery but, thanks to your example, I plan to do so.

  2. Grief has to be shared with those who share one’s grief. Mutual understanding is so important when dealing with loss. Snowball Express sounds like a wonderful organization.

    • NP, this is very true. Mutual understanding does hold it’s own special power. I’m happy that Snowball Express created a way to for these families to connect with each other and for those of us without that same understanding, to show that we care.

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