SOFREP readers, this article and poem were written by C. Campbell, the sister of the late CPO Chris Campbell, in honor of all of the gold-star mothers on Mother’s Day.—Desiree, managing editor
A few weeks ago, I started thinking about placing my usual order of flowers for my mom on Mother’s Day. This year, I requested yellow roses, white lilies, and a blue ribbon. There was a special reason behind each choice. My mom is now a gold-star mom, thus the yellow roses. The white lilies, for me, represent her loss. My brother was born in September, and blue is the color of his birthstone. The little note delivered with the flowers is simple but heartbreaking: “Happy Mother’s Day. Love, Cindy and Chris.”
Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate the women in our lives who gave us life, swaddled us, fed and clothed us, wiped our tears, potty-trained us, were our first playmates, planned birthday parties, celebrated holidays, took us to school, disciplined us, and did their best to guide us to lead our best lives. I am certain none of them would claim perfection! That’s the price of humanity—loving imperfection.
As we recognize the special contribution of moms, today will be a day of sadness for some mothers who will no longer receive a visit, a call, or a card. In the Virginia Beach community, an immeasurable loss was sustained in 2011 that attacked the natural order of life. Mothers who cradled their infants, witnessed first steps, spent numerous hours on the playground, sat cheering countless games on the sidelines, attempted to set boundaries during the tumultuous teens, and spent many moments in prayer for a safe return were notified that their sons were no longer alive.
For my “mama,” after more than three decades of vigilance, she silently approached a casket containing the remains of a grown man to whom she had given life. Now, her steps are slower than those she had at the playground. Her hair is gray and her shoulders slightly stooped. Yet she remains a proud and patriotic mother. Like so many others, she has suffered a grief beyond comprehension—a sadness that comes from the loss of a child. On August 6th, the SEAL community will have many memorials, but let’s not forget that beyond the death that is mourned, there is a life to be celebrated. Often that began under a mother’s watchful and tireless care.
Chris loved his “Ma,” as he referred to her. I remember picking up a book that had a chapter called “Warrior Queen” a couple years ago. I was not impressed with the little bit I read, and cannot even recall the name of the book or author, but the term stayed with me. This year, as I was thinking of all that our mom did for us as kids and how little recognition she has received (and she would not want any) for the great contributions she made to the lives of my brothers and me, I began to ask the question, “What does it really mean to be a warrior queen?” After about a week of scribbling notes, a poem came together as a tribute to my mom and all gold-star mothers.
Written by C. Campbell
Tribute poem for CPO Chris Campbell’s “Ma” and dedicated to all gold-star moms this Mother’s Day.
What does it mean to be a Warrior Queen?
It’s a lifetime of care and love that often goes unseen.
For there is no glory at the very start,
when a mother first hears the beat of a brave heart.
Days turn to weeks as she watches her belly grow.
She will soon deliver a hero the world has yet to know.
Her heart melted when handed her sweet bundle of joy.
It was love at first sight for this mother and baby boy.
Protecting and guiding little steps is no easy feat.
The challenge of parenting can be bittersweet.
Diapers to change and tears to wipe away.
Picnics, birthdays and ball games to watch and play.
In the blink of an eye, he donned cap and gown.
His quest for adventure meant he would soon be leaving town.
He felt alive with the sand between his toes and surfboard in hand.
The roar of the ocean was with him as he left to serve our homeland.
His mother continued her silent prayers for his body and soul.
The safe return of this grown young man had become her goal.
Her quiet vigil through the years was with a heart resolute.
Perhaps this helped him conquer his fears to prepare for the final salute.
No more hugs, phone calls or letters home will she receive.
The tragic and lasting impact of war offers no reprieve.
The natural order of life has been defied at great cost.
She now joins the journey of mothers who have loved and lost.
No glamour, no glory but steadfast behind the scene.
THIS! is what it means… to be a Warrior Queen.