“During my husband’s second deployment to Iraq, we got news that our 5 year old nephew’s brain cancer had returned, and this time it was terminal. He was my sister’s son and my daughter’s best friend. We spent the summer with them in Texas. We were able to go to Disney World through the Make-A-Wish Foundation together, and it is one of the most beautiful memories I have.
“When the summer ended, we came back home so my daughter could start school. Not too long after school started, my nephew passed away. We’d just spent all this time and money to be with him over the summer, so as much as I wanted to, we couldn’t go back for the funeral. My military spouse friends helped me put on a local service for him. I really upped my volunteer efforts after that.
“When a fellow Marine Corps couple’s daughter was diagnosed with cancer, I helped organize their Make-A-Wish send off party. I’m happy to tell you she’s in second grade now, cancer free and beautiful inside and out. But back then, we planned this elaborate princess and pirate party to announce we were fulfilling her wish: a family trip to Disney. Military spouses are so great at painting homecoming banners, and we painted this huge sign welcoming this child to her own party. I had to do that; I had to help other people in the wake of our own tragedy. What I needed most from our military family after my nephew’s death was for them to say ‘I got you. I’ll do this with you.’ And they stepped up, just like they do every single time.”