Loss can exist on a small and a grand scale. Catastrophic events can result in the deaths of thousands, even millions. For example, millions of people--civilians and soldiers--died in the two world wars as well as in conflicts like Viet Nam. On a large scale, people often suffer the loss of their homes and communities during war, and on the even more personal front, individuals suffer the loss of loved ones they held close to the breast. I'd heard tales of my uncles in WWII. I never met the uncle who didn't come back, but I'd heard of him in glorious detail. He'd built a window fan for my grandmother's kitchen, and he'd saved his own money so that his little brother could have skates for Christmas when money was tight. His daughter is my beloved goddaughter. Listening to tales of his life helps me place him at the metaphoric family table, arousing my curiosity; however, such tales are bittersweet. I'll never know this man. Even his daughter never saw him.
Loss. . .I'd heard tales of catastrophic loss, but I'd never experienced the horror of it until Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. That tragedy, too, was a war in many ways, and like war victims, we mourned those we lost, shed tears, and then moved on, rebuilding our lives. Perhaps we're like people who have been in war. We now all too well understand the horror of loss. Katrina shook me in ways I can't even begin to describe, but in a positive way, it also made me more in tune to the suffering of others. Pre-K, I would hear of natural disasters, feel some stirring of sympathy, and move on. Now, I feel the loss all too well. I fully emphasize with their plight and remember my own sense of terror when I knew my old life was gone. At one point, we were called "refugees" by our own countrymen. So many people in war become refugees. Now, I know what it is like to be "displaced" and to feel alone. You become the ultimate existentialist--alone, all alone, and seemingly, no one hears you. You are just one person flailing alone in cold water.
LOSS is at the root of war. Young people march into battle, and war is devastating no matter how it begins. Civilians and soldiers die in the carnage, and we, the survivors, can only bleed for their loss, place a bandage on our gaping wounds, and pray for healing. All that remains are memories of the good times we shared with those we loved and cherished. In LOVE AT WAR, Nuala suffers great loss when she believes her husband is a casualty of war, but like many brave souls, she puts a metaphoric salve on our wounds and forms a plan of revenge.
I once asked my mother why my grandmother so seldom smiled. My mother stared at me for a long time before answering. She said that too much had been taken from Grandma. Only until after did I really understand what she meant. LOVE AT WAR, www.redrosepublishing.com.