Sunday, May 13, 2007

Hope is a bridge

One of the things I mentioned recently that I wanted to blog about was the small part I'm taking in a project. This is a web-based project, so to speak, that I first read about on Franklin's blog. It seems an appropriate subject for Mother's Day, though so far all I've done is the thinking about it, the pre-work, so to speak.

Anne wanted to do something about the war, not exactly a protest but in a sort of take-notice way, and had the idea of sewing the names of the female soldiers who have died in Iraq onto a tote bag. She asked if others would be interested in sewing some of the names, and the project has taken off from there. (The links above are to the project's website and to her blog, but you can read the original post on her blog here; she describes it much better than I do.)

At the time, 79 women had died (although tragically another has since been added to the list). The name I was given is Jamie Jaenke.

She died last June (2006):

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jaime* S. Jaenke, 29, of Bay City, Wis., died June 5 as a result of enemy action when her HMMWV was struck by an improvised explosive device in Al Anbar province, Iraq. She was assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 25, Fort McCoy, Wis.

The incident also resulted in the death of Petty Officer 1st Class Gary Rovinski.

I found out a little bit about her via my friend Google (*some sites spelled her name Jamie, some Jaime, so I have to find out which to learn if the cloth is correct).

She was an EMT before she became a Seabee.

She had been in Iraq since January.

She had recently moved to Iowa; she was the first woman from Iowa to die in Iraq.

She wanted to open a stable business after she came home, and now her friends are finishing it as a tribute to her.

She had worked as an EMT, and she left behind her parents and a nine-year-old daughter.

She was a single mother, so her parents are raising her daughter now.

Dear lord. I am 38, and the thought of losing my mother even now gives me the chills. A few years ago, after a friend died, I had a dream where my mother died, and I saw her spirit and called out to her, "But you promised you wouldn't!", and she just looked really sad, and I woke up crying. I can not imagine losing her at the age of 9. I don't know how I would have survived that. I mean, you do, I guess, people do, but you're never whole after something like that. Are you? How could you be?

So, I haven't started the stitching yet, but of course that isn't going to be much. I mean, in a physical, literal sense, all I am going to do is sew over the typed name on the square of fabric, and send it back to Anne. I want to choose a rainbow of colors for the letters of her name, because the arc of a rainbow is like a bridge that carries us over the hard times, and sometimes all we have is the hope that we will get through the hard times, so I think that's what the colors will represent for me. When I select the colors and get stitching, I'll have camera at the ready, and post again.