Chapter 4. Ten factors that complicate your military loss
(This is a selected passage from Chapter 4)
I learned that my son, Alfonso, had been killed in the parking lot of a home improvement store. I’d just pulled into a parking space when one of his high school buddies texted me how sorry he was to hear the news. I didn’t know what he was talking about. So I called my wife. Apparently, it was all over Facebook about a serious mishap in Al’s squadron. Those first posts weren’t good. Bad news travels fast, I guess.
Around suppertime, the Air Force came to our door. At first, I wanted to believe they were there to tell us that Al was okay. But that wasn’t the case. Al was one of the nine squadron members who were killed. They didn’t have too much to tell us about what had happened, though. That part of the bad news didn’t travel fast.
Later that night, I sat alone in the dark, feeling utterly helpless. The Air Force just notified us that our son was dead. I told them I wanted to go to where Alfonso was killed and help out. But, they said they had skilled personnel for just this purpose and it was all under control. They assured my wife and me that our son would be coming home soon.
I told them they didn’t understand—a boy always needs his Dad when times are bad.
The death of a son or daughter is always an overwhelming loss for a parent. Muddling through the emotional devastation and unspeakable grief makes this loss a challenge for any parent, military or civilian. When the death occurs because of military service, this grief-laden challenge is often weighed down by unexpected twists and turns. To help you understand your multifaceted loss better, we’ll look at ten factors that complicate a military death. These factors are grouped into three key areas and we’ll carefully examine each one: