Sunday, 22 February 2009

The Mothers Day Project.

There are many things I hadn't expected to think or to feel as I stitched the name of Jessica Ann Ellis on to a simple piece of fabric yesterday for the Mothers Day Project. As I worked the stitches that I haven't done in several years now, I hadn't expected my mind to wander back to primary school, or to wonder whether Jessica was taught cross-stitch at school. My mind spontaneously wandered even further back, to antique samplers worked with the names of anonymous women long gone and long forgotten. My daughter climbed on my lap and asked to help, pushed the needle through for me whilst her brothers watched Tom and Jerry cartoons. At one chilling point, she looked at the screen and said "he's dead now" and I did not understand that she was talking about the TV. Death isn't real when you're 3. When you're 31, often it's very vague too.

After I finished my stitching and wondering who this stranger was, I turned to the computer and what I read there is heartbreaking. Jessica hadn't had time to become a mother yet, she was only 24 when she died- the same age as my baby cousin. She had skills and talents I've never had- she was an athlete, loved hunting and fishing with her family and had trained as an army medic. She was stationed in Baghdad when she died working as a medic with a team of engineers. She saved lives, literally, and personally, not just as a member of the armed forces. Her hands meant that some of her colleagues made it home safely.
I wonder how her life would have taken shape, whether she'd have met someone as special to her as my husband is, have kids of her own. I wonder if she'd have grown into her own skin in her late 20s and early 30s, the way I did and so many of my friends have, or whether her job gave her that gift of self-acceptance already. She sounds like one of the girls. One of the lads. A heck of a lady. The first comment here made me think.
I want to add something profound and meaningful here, like "let her death not be in vain" or something along those lines, but the truth is that it would be singularly meaningless. She's never going home to her family, and there are so many other families grieving right now as a result of this senseless war. I just don't have the words to express my anger and grief at the futility of it all. No more, never more.

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I hear voices in my head, they talk to me, they talk to me, they understand. Save me from the voices and leave a comment already, huh?