25 Dec. 2007 Sinsil, Iraq
We have been on the move for the past couple of weeks. We are finally settled at our new location. We had time for a short Christmas dinner. We were able to think about our families and relax for a moment. I wish I was home so we could have spent the holiday together! I would really like to have taken you to Christmas Eve at Pop and Nanna's. Everyone would have loved to see you.
I owe you Christmas gifts, and now that we are getting settled, I should have them on the way very soon.
I love you.
On 9 Jan. 2008 after putting Emma in her crib, I received a knock on our door that would change the course of our lives. An Improvised Explosive Device had killed Jon earlier that day. Our daughter Emma was just 13 months old. This letter contained his last words to her.
Later that month, another knock came. It was a FedEx employee delivering the box of Christmas presents promised by Jon just days before he died. I tearfully opened the box and found a gift wrapped in cellophane and ribbons the color of freedom; it was The Daddy Doll. It was the last picture taken of Jon that had been turned into an 18" plush doll. Emma finds comfort in her Daddy Doll every night at bedtime.
Life as a single mother definitely has it’s challenges, but life as a Gold Star widow brings very different struggles at significant holidays and anniversaries. Each Christmas, For the last three years, each Christmas we have been blessed by the generosity of grateful Americans who give us gifts in honor of Jon’s sacrifice through the ministry of Believe With Me. It brings Emma great joy to be remembered each holiday, but even more it brings her comfort knowing that America has not forgotten the sacrifice of her father and the cost of her freedom. As a widow, Believe With Me has given me peace knowing my country honors my husband. Believe With Me even remembers me at Valentine’s Day— with a special gift to know I am loved and thought of— words can’t describe how special these gifts are to my daughter and myself.
That’s why as a Gold Star wife, I am asking you to help Believe With Me reach other Gold Star families this Christmas. I want to them to have the same joy, comfort, honor and peace that Emma and I do through the ministry of Believe With Me.