Tuesday, May 5, 2015

From MIA to RIP: A One Year Anniversary Reflection

Source: The National League
 of POW/MIA Families
One of my most frequently read posts continues to be the riveting story, Missing In Action! A Soldier's Sister Keeps Vigil.
After 44 years, in May, 2014, Sue Scott's dear brother began his Final Journey Home.  With the anniversary approaching, I asked Sue to share her reflections.

Doug’s Return, One Year Later

"It has been a year since Captain Douglas Ferguson, USAF, MIA December 30, 1969, was identified and made his Final Journey Home..."

 There is satisfaction and peace that Doug is home and at rest, and that Linda (his widow) has a place to visit Doug, as do others.  One day I too will be able to visit and know in my heart that all has been done and that his marker reflects who he was and how he was cherished!

In this last year, I have allowed myself to feel the pain of losing someone so dear.  I have listened and continue to listen to ‘50s Hits on XM that take me back to our youth and the sweet sorrow of knowing that, even on his 70th birthday, he will never be older than the handsome Air Force pilot who I said goodbye to as he stepped aboard the plane at Lambert-St.Louis Airport in July, 1969.

Though he met our two oldest sons as infants, he never knew them as the wonderful, successful human beings they have become.  He never met our youngest son who was born three years after he was shot down over Laos.  He never met any of their wives or any of his great-nephews and nieces. We never got to know his children that might have been.

[Source: Wolfgang Arnold]
He never had to see the pain of our father’s broken heart at his son, of whom he was so proud; or the dementia that ravished our mother’s mind when she could no longer stand the pain of not knowing the fate of her beloved son.
One of the last things I said to her as she passed from this earth was, “Now you are going to be with Doug!”  She seemed at peace!  Or maybe he did know!  It would have been one of his biggest regrets that he might have been the cause.
Even bigger than the pain his plight caused our parents would have been the pain his loss brought to the love of his life, Linda and the years of being together, of which they were robbed.

We cannot dwell in the “House of What If’s”, but we do need to know that we can travel through our grief and find the precious memories that will sustain us the rest of our lives.  Though this has not been the journey I would have chosen, I am proud to say I have kept the commitment, I made in early February, 1970, and that was to bring Doug home.  On that journey I have done things and gone places beyond my wildest dreams.  It was an opportunity to rise from a devastating loss and make a life far “richer” than I ever could have imagined.

[Source: Michael Jastremski]
Now a year since Doug’s return, I know my journey is not yet complete because too many with whom I have travelled, do not yet have answers, including Captain Wes Featherstone, USAF, the front seater in Doug’s F-4D aircraft.  It is because I know the joy and peace that can be the Final Gift, I still have work to do……to help sustain others so they can continue their search, their quest for the return of their loved ones…..to fulfill the Promise our country made to their loved ones when they left family and friends to serve and to possibly make the ultimate sacrifice for our Freedom.

What great gifts I have been given!  Why me?

I don’t know for sure, but this is what I believe: God has great gifts for each of us!  Our job is to be open to his abundance! That in itself is a life-time journey to learn to trust God for all things!  To know that though I may choose my own way, it is not always God’s way. I may not be ready at a given moment in time, to accept God’s gifts…….think of Moses and his people wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.  They didn't seem to be ready to hear God’s message.  I know I am not always ready to hear and trust in God’s messages either, but for Doug, I am grateful that I was able to listen, trust and therefore find enormous peace.

God Bless You Doug!  And, God Bless each One of You!"

Read treasured memories and tributes, and browse photos of Doug's life and Final Journey Home, on the Forever Missed memorial site.

Sue's strength is remarkable but she has "paid her dues" on that path through grief. The Condolence Coach reminds readers that anniversary notes are a very special comfort. For suggestions on how to compose this note, read: When Little Birds Chirp: Anniversary Notes.

Thank you for caring!

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