In Estes Park there's a real nice place called Lakeshore Lodge. Sandy runs the place and is a wonderful character. She lost her twin brother in Vietnam and to this day thinks of him every day. The Lodge looks out over Lake Estes and in the distance Longs Peak rises right above the town of Estes Park. This time of year all the tree's are yellow, or red and the Elk have made their way into town. In fact, it's the Elk that draw most people to Estes Park this time of year. Most people.
Back at Lakeshore Lodge last weekend while this was going on 29 Moms gathered to share membership in a club not a one of them wanted to belong to. They have all lost sons in Iraq and Afghanistan during the current war on terror and this weekend they were together to share their grief, tell stories of their heroes, cry, laugh, cry some more and make friends who will help them get through this. Gathered here were the only people in the world who truly do know how they feel, other Gold Star moms, and Sandy.
Some lost sons 6-years ago, others just this year. They are all on different parts of the journey, but they are all on the same journey. When the gathering starts on Saturday night the "new moms" sit apart, afraid to let anyone in. By the end of the night they have been welcomed to the Gold Star family with hugs and hand holding and finally they feel free to be themselves. It is an amzing thing to witness. A sad, emotional, heartwarming, painful, necessary thing that will make them better...eventually. For the past five-years I've been asked to MC the event on Sunday that concludes their Gold Star weekend. It's a ceremony that honors all Colorado veterans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Moms present light candles in honor of their fallen sons. This year a couple shared stories of their journey from the time the knock on the door came. Nothing I will ever do compares with the experience of this weekend. The Blue Star Mothers of Durango put this event on, driving the 8-hours from their part of the state to be in Estes Park. They are angels and this event has become a life-saver for many of the Moms who are drowning in grief. And all the while people drive by on the other side of the lake unaware this going on and that's ok. The Moms, and their fallen heroes would want you to enjoy the fall colors and the freedom you enjoy to drive around on a Sunday afternoon and see the sights. But at the end of the day if you'd be kind enough to remember them in your prayers, and ask God to bless those Gold Star Moms that would be a great way to say thanks. And the next time you're in Estes Park be sure to drop by the Lakeshore Lodge, and say hi to Sandy. You'll be better for it!!