Monday, January 24, 2011

Gold Star Mother

Gold Star Mothers are moms who make the ultimate sacrifice for their country...they are those precious mothers who have lost a son or daughter during active military duty. I say "the ultimate sacrifice", because I don't believe there is a mother alive who would not rather die than lose a beloved child.
The picture of the plaque is taken from the Gold Star Mothers memorial in Florida.

We have a Gold Star mother living in our former home in Southern California, the same home where we raised our son, Joey. This week is the anniversary of her son's death. The house is a shrine to her beautiful son, and we found it deeply moving as we walked up to the porch to pay our respects.
Above is her son's weathered Marine cap hanging on a flag staff.

This is the Gold Star that was hanging on the window as we stepped inside the door. It reads:
Always In Our hearts
LCpl Anthony Melia
Our Guardian Angel

This is Vicki, our beautiful Gold Star Mom. She reluctantly allowed me to photograph her. Don't let the smile fool you. All bereaved moms have learned to put on that brave face. She is still very much grieving the loss of her precious boy, and I know how deep that pain runs. It is a coincidence that the picture is red, white, and blue, but I think so very fitting for this tender, precious mom who honored her son's desire to become a Marine, knowing the personal risk involved.

Around her neck are Anthony's dog tags and one with his picture. She said this picture oddly fell off the chain the day her beautiful 21 year old son died, though it never has before or since.

Vicki is a testimony to the sustaining power of a deep faith in God. She has learned in the past four years to entrust her son to God's care, and herself to His guidance. Her life is so changed now and she sees the world through different eyes. Her greatest desire is to serve. Her greatest joy was being able to go to Haiti after the earthquake, to hold and feed starving traumatized babies.
She said it gave her a taste of her son's war experience, as she lived in tents, without plumbing or showers, with meager food, and sleepless nights. It was an essential connecting point with him. She fell in love with those little children and hopes to go again.

This is the sign in front of the house.
Freedom Isn't Free
Our Unforgotten Hero
L Cpl. Anthony Melia
January 27, 2007

Inside their home, Anthony's honors and memorabilia are every where. In the corner, his boots and helmet. In the trophy case, his precious ashes.
Anthony is a true American Hero.
Thank you for giving all,
Anthony and Vicki and Melia Family.
We honor the pain and suffering of your sacrifice.

On the walls, beautiful, beloved Anthony. Bereaved families are very similar, I think, military or not. Pictures of our cherished child are everywhere. Those who put their hope in Christ, like this heartbroken family and our family, are counting down the moments as we await the day of resurrection and reunion.
We worship a Savior who knows about the pain and suffering and sacrifice.

In the driveway, another memorial on their vehicle. You can't seem to get enough of these memorial places when you've lost a child.
It says to me, "Please don't forget our beautiful son who gave his life for your freedom."
And we won't.

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.


Beckypdj said...

Thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful site. I too am a Goldstar mom, I lost my son in 2009 in Ft. Bliss Tx. Please do not take offense but I would like to correct one minor point. Your child does not have to be lost during war time, or in combat to qualify you as a Goldstar Mom, they just have to be serving active duty at the time of their death.They can even be a reservist who has been activated. D.T.lange

Karen said...

To D. T. Lange--thank you for your comment and the additional clarification about Gold Star Moms. I made the correction. Thank you for your sacrifice and I pray for peace and comfort for you.

karen gerstenberger said...

What a beautiful mama. Thank you for sharing her family's story, as sad as it is. Heroes need to be talked about, and honored, and I honor her son's sacrifice, and his family's. I'm so grateful that you got to visit with her. Thank you for inviting us along.

Jeri said...

Beautiful, thanks Karen for sharing.

Anna/Flowergardengirl said...

I don't know how ya'll get along each day. I read this and just about could not take it. To live it must be pretty near impossible. I did make myself read it though cause if it was my precious child--I'd want people to read, and honor, and remember. Those gone are still here. Not a day goes by that their life isn't affecting someone else's. Makes my heart hurt. I read this and I just want to take everyone home to heaven so we can have a reunion.

Anonymous said...

God's blessings and so much comfort and love to this Mom. So very much thankful for his sacrifice and her's as well. Not sure you're reading this but thank you for your son!
P.S. Actually, I think all Mom's that lose a son or daughter should be Gold Star!

Anonymous said...

What a great story and brings me to tears with what we are left here to endure. I love the reunion idea in heaven. It will be remarkable. xoxo Sharon

Robin said...

Love to these wonderful moms who have lost so much.

Anonymous said...

WOW...this is the first time I've read this post. I was looking for a picture online and saw what appeared to look like a photo, of the gold star flag hanging in our window. As i opened the photo i came across your humble, kind and heart felt story!
Thank you for sharing Anthony with others. He was and always will be the angel of our hearts!