American Gold Star Mothers lay wreath at Tomb of the Unknowns, Gold Star Mothers Sunday, 09/26/05 Soldiers looking at Vietnam Wall Memorial Francis Turley at a funeral for a forgotten veteran. One of the many markers at Arlington Cemetery remembered by a mother Perpetuating the noble principles for which they fought and died.

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When my grief was fresh, right after learning of my son’s death in a Black Hawk helicopter crash during the first night of Operation Enduring Freedom, I looked for help in all directions. My family, of course, was there and tried to understand what I was going through but something was missing.

One evening the phone rang and a woman with a soft spoken voice introduced herself as a mother who had lost her son two decades ago on an island called Granada. She had just read an article on the Internet that I had written about Kris.

As we spoke, I sensed that she was transported back in time to the awful day she learned of her own son’s death. Finally I was speaking with someone who had experienced the devastation I had just experienced. I asked her how it was for her today so many years later. ‘Some days are better than others’ she said simply. That was the same answer I had been using during the eight weeks since my son’s death. I felt an instant bond.

With her profound answer, she gave me permission to grieve on my own terms. I knew she had traveled down this road before me and wanted to assure me I was going to survive. This wonderful woman gave me a gift that night, one that I am forever grateful. These were the first humble words of wisdom to come my way since my son’s death.

I knew that there must be other Gold Star Mothers out there that I could learn from. I just had to find them and connect with them.

On the internet, I found the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc website and emailed them for information. Their response was immediate, sending me an application to join. I still did not understand what I was opening myself up to, but I knew living in a vacuum was unacceptable.

Joining the National organization of the American Gold Star Mother and meeting the Korea, Vietnam, Beirut, Afghanistan, and Iraqi Freedom mothers has enriched my life and helped me cope with this journey I did not want to take. I have learned that along with the little gold pin I now wear, I have also inherited a community of other mothers, and a lifetime of sharing their grief.

While all of us hope we are the last Gold Star Mother to join the organization, sadly that is not the case. Brave young men and women still go forth from our shores to protect our freedom and many do not come home.

My son died serving his country, a country I love and no longer take for granted. Gold Star Mothers know there is a price to be paid to have freedom. We all share a common bond wearing this little gold pin. Like our sons who were bonded in brotherhood for the sake of war, sharing the deepest lost known to womankind, the loss of a child, bonds us as Gold Star mothers.

Ruth Voshell Stonesifer
Gold Star Mother of Kristofor Stonesifer
KIA 19 OCT, 2001