Turning Tragedy into a Legacy – How one Father Honors the Memory of his Son!


Mike Stokely

What do you do when you lose your beloved son or daughter in the war. How do you cope with such an insurmountable loss? I can tell you that you do a lot of crying. You pull inside yourself and draw in as many memories as you can for fear that they too will go away. You do a lot of what “ifs” or “should ofs.” You turn your back on God, family, friends, sometimes even work. Inside your head is an ever resounding scream of “no” that won’t go away.

You can’t sleep. Food stops at the bottom of your throat and you just know that at any moment you will choke to death. Sometimes you even “hope” that happens so you can once again be with your child! Sounds and voices become muted and surreal. You spend most of your waking moments “outside” your body.” Hell with baths! You don’t even feel like getting dressed. It all just goes on forever, never ending! When will the gut wrenching pain ever get better?

Many parents slowly begin to find some semblance of crawling out of their nightmare. They begin to gather their pictures and mementos. They can gradually talk about their loss, their loved one. But, by now, there are fewer people around to talk to about their lost child. It isn’t that those people no longer care. They do. But, they have now gone back to their lives. Somewhere about now, the anger starts to set in. It is almost all consuming, full of rage! You don’t really know when the anger started or where it came from, It is just there!

You find yourself striking out at people, your wife, husband, other kids, friends, whoever happens to be there, even God! If you could find a high enough hill, you would climb to the top and scream out your pain and rage so loud that surely the whole world would hear you. But, you know that wouldn’t make any difference. The hole in your heart would still be there! The overwhelming, all consuming rage would still be there. And, you wonder, will your life ever be the same again? Will you ever find any peace again? So what do you do? What can you do? What will help ease your suffering?

Brat, at Tanker Brothers has a great post, Project Yusufiyah- Mike’s Legacy UPDATE, about the father of a young soldier killed in Iraq! His post tells us about how one father used all the feelings and emotions he felt after his son was killed in a most positive way. The beautiful tribute and legacy he established to honor his fallen son will amaze anyone who reads his story and I am sure bring tears to many reader’s eyes! Go over to Tanker Brothers and read Project Yusufiyah- Mike’s Legacy UPDATE.

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~ by devildog6771 on April 6, 2008.

3 Responses to “Turning Tragedy into a Legacy – How one Father Honors the Memory of his Son!”

  1. Sir, the privilege is all mine. Your son was a very special hero. Perhaps the “apple” did not fall far from the tree!

  2. Thank you for linking to the post about our Yusufiyah Project – our family committed early on that morning when we learned of Mike’s death that we would not blame in bitterness; rather, we would Remember with Honor, the life, service and sacrifice of our beloved son and brother. The Mike Stokely Foundation, Inc. was borne on the front porch of our family home in the first few hours of that fateful morning. We loved him so much and he loved and taught us so much, including how to love a country and a people, both here and far away in Iraq. We now want to carry that on in his memory and in his stead. DUTY HONOR COUNTRY.

    proud dad SGT Mike Stokely
    KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq
    USA E 108 CAV 48th BCT GAARNG

  3. […] devildog6771 wrote an interesting post today on Turning Tragedy into a Lagacy – How one Father Honors the Memory …Here’s a quick excerptWhat do you do when you lose your beloved son or daughter in the war. How do you cope with such an insurmountable loss? I can tell you that you do a lot of crying. You pull inside yourself and draw in as many memories as you can for … […]

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