A grieving widow and two small children take the long walk to the flag covered casket not 20 feet away. The tears stream down the faces of family members holding their hands to keep them from falling over. Overhead, a large black crow begins to squawk Her message to the onlookers. Badb has come to take the fallen warrior's soul safely home to his God. If one thing gives me peace, it's that knowledge.
I took a hard blow a few weeks back with the loss of a local peace officer and coworker. Despite having family ties and friends in the military I've never suffered this loss before. I couldn't even imagine the regular pain of such a loss for those who've had to experience it more than once. Though I had only known him in passing and through his voice, his death affected how I do my job and how I interact with those who couldn't understand such a situation.
My husband asked me if his death made me rethink this line of work. My answer is "no, it makes me want it more," but my body hasn't quite caught up to my mind. I know I've entered a depression of sorts. There could be any number of reasons for it, but I know that hearing his death over the phone is probably the biggest one. Thinking about it now I'm tearing up. I've even gotten to the point of gaining back 5 pounds.
I'm slowly working through it. It seems as if it isn't one thing it's another on this journey. I have no plans to give up, it's just been a long time since I've been able to say beyond the shadow of a doubt, "I'm depressed" and it's truly affecting my body. Luckily, weight gain tends to be a good motivator. If only running looked more appealing as the upper body stuff comes naturally to me. I will start running damnit!
This experience has also brought me to one conclusion I never contemplated. It can be a hinderance to the healing process being around non-pagans in times of grief. There was a lot of praying to the Christian God and while I'm a firm believer that in those times the beliefs of those who are dying take presidence it isn't always conducive to your personal healing. During that touching moment of Badb's appearance at the cemetary the women in front of me were making snide comments about doing harm to the Crow. If only they had known what was actually going on they could have shared in the sliver of a joyous moment in such a sad time. I can't imagine many realized what was going on, but in this time of grief I got my tiny bit of comfort and I couldn't be more thankful for it. This Warrior received a proper send off and I know he is where he should be now.
I try to hold on to that thought when the sadness takes over. It won't be something I will ever fully come to terms with as he was so young and his life was taken by a senseless act of evil by someone not too much younger than him. We know the job when we sign up for it, just as soldiers do, but there is nothing that can prepare you for the moment(s) that you hope never happen on your watch. It might be the choice we make when we choose to walk this path, but it doesn't make it hurt any less.
Rest in peace 36D. 10-7, good night sir.