Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Marilyn L. Gabbard


My finished stitching for the tote bag- to be mailed tomorrow. Anne, the project originator, suggested that we journal about the experience.

My thoughts and observations follow-

Walking into Wal-Mart at the end of the day to buy thread, needle and hoop to stitch the name of a woman killed in war was surreal. I chose the light green because it felt peaceful to me. I chose the dark green because Marilyn, by all accounts was strong.

The cat joined me as I began stitching, kneading my belly and a play on words immediately came to mind. Marilyn's family "needing" comfort, families everywhere needing comfort, people everywhere needing so much.

I wondered what Marilyn's mama called her when she was a baby. I wondered what the L. stood for. I wondered if she experienced the same pleasant uncertainty that I did when she took the married name of Gabbard.

I stepped briefly into what I imagined her last moments to be.

On the news as I stitched, I watched the president ignore a question about National Guard support while he was in Kansas "comforting" tornado survivors. I pictured Marilyn L. Gabbard taking charge of troops there and offering help to those in need as her obit said she was so inclined to do. I was so angry.

As I came to the end of her name I found myself trying to come to some peace about the end of Marilyn's short life. I wanted my memories to be worthy of her service. I did my best to set aside the anger and frustration I have with all of these losses. There is so much sadness.

In an e-mail, Anne wrote "I understand the feelings of anger and helplessness, and I hope that for the short time you were wielding a sharp needle in protest, you felt connected to the larger group of us who share those feelings."

I hope that every heartfelt stitch of this project finds its way to those who need comfort. I hope that every angry moment sends a message of peace and diplomacy to those who believe that killing human beings is a way to solve problems.

I also thank those who have faced the dangers of serving their country and have returned to face what has to be the surreality of daily life.

3 comments:

Faith! said...

This is a beautifully written post, thanks for bringing attention to this project. I felt chilled after reading about it, you have such a powerful way with words.

Sonya said...

This is an extremely even-handed, beautiful and thoughtfully written post. We need more seemingly small acts - a single stitch - to remember the reality of loss and the human cost.

Sherri Gabbard said...

I am one of Marilyn L. Gabbard's stepchildren. I wanted to let you know that I think the work you did on Marilyn's name is beautiful and I thank you for your participation in this project. I found this by googling Marilyn's name or I would never have heard of this endeavor. It means so much to know that others appreciate what Marilyn and all the other soldiers represent and put on the line every day over there. Take care and God Bless.