Posted by: donnatallman | May 23, 2012

Yesterday’s Widow – Memorial Day

(In honor of Memorial Day coming up on May 28th, I am posting several entries I wrote which were included in Battlefields and Blessings Stories of Faith and Courage from the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan)

*     *     *     *     *

A caisson rides by and I leave to follow it to the next funeral.  Just across the road a sign reads, “Section 61.”  It is a massive parcel of uncultivated dirt growing only two lone trees.  As I wonder why an empty lot sits nearby, the top of the Washington Monument peeks above the small rise holding its breath, waiting for my realization.

“O God, the next war!”

Photo by Donna Tallman

 I steady myself as waves of grief overtake me.  Before I know it, I have taken out my camera, and am taking pictures so I never forget their sacrifice.  I walk by the headstones of many highly decorated service members.  There is a middle-age grandmother, a Marine who loves the Boston Red Sox, a team of five soldiers, and a grave marker for a Muslim.  I stop to pray for these families and weep for their loss.

The cadre of mourners attending the earlier service has mostly disappeared.  In its place a non-organized yet subconsciously synchronized, convoy of mini vans arrives.   A woman gets out of her van, grabs a blanket, lawn chair, and a jug of water before slamming the door.  Mounted on the back of her car is a sticker that reads, “Half my heart in Heaven.”  Another mini van arrives, and another.  Each van carries a single woman armed with grief and memories.

Her home has betrayed her.  It is no longer full of the life and hope of her husband’s return, so she escapes to Arlington to reflect.

The widow comes to say the things that she cannot say at home…to utter aloud the unspeakable agony of her heart.  Surrounded by a field of dead strangers, the widow now feels more at home in a cemetery than she does in her own house.  She is tired.  She is lonely.  She is broken.

In the waning afternoon hours of what has become a typical day, the widow lies face down over her husband’s grave aching to hold and be held.  She whispers a prayer of surrender, and asks for the strength for just one more day.  Despite the challenges she knows await her, yesterday’s widow rises to conquer her own battle…the battle for her future.

Lord, when I have expended all that I have, remind me that your resources are limitless and you eagerly desire to add your strength to my faith.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”  Isaiah 40:29 (NIV)

(Copyright © 2009 by Jane Cook, Jocelyn Green, and John Croushorn. Battlefields and Blessings Stories of Faith and Courage from the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Published by God & Country Press, an imprint of AMG Publishers – All rights reserved.)



  1. Hi Donna,
    I have really been enjoying your site. I have come to have a deep love and admiration for our men and women in our armed services. Thru Jan and her family, Linda and I have been able to visit so many bases and countries and witnessed first hand their sacrifices. Some of my best memories have been getting up at 1:00 am and walking the flight line with my brother in law and him telling me that this is the real air force. Young men and women working late into the night and morning getting the planes ready for flight!
    We do a lot of things for the local USO at the Ontario airport, which is one of the largest USO facilities in the nation. Just to be able to provide a meal or sit and visit is such a privilege.
    My god son is a Lt. commander of seal team 6. His best friend in the seals died in a fire fight 2 years ago. His name is Adam Brown and he was a great husband and father to Kelly and his 2children, a warrior for this nation, but most of all a man who loved our Lord. A book has just come out, Fearless, about his life and his walk with Christ, I know you would love it. The idea behind this book is to be used in youth groups and to reach young people for Christ. I can get you in touch with his wife Kelly, if you would like to interview her for an article.
    Thanks again for your writings and for your support of our troops. I have 2tribute vehicles I have made for our troops, send me an email as to where I can send you pictures and I will send a few shots from a recent USO car show we had 3 weeks ago.
    Have a blessed Lord’s Day and a great Memorial Day tomorrow.
    Fred Meise

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