My late husband, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Eric D. Compton and I met in 2003 just a few days before he left for the United States Marine Corps Boot Camp. We got married in April of 2005, shortly before he left for his second Iraq deployment.
During his 16 years of active duty we welcomed our 4 beautiful children.
Jonathan was born in 2005, Brandon in 2007, Aidan in 2011, and our daughter Sarah in 2013. I needed REST.
Due to Eric’s many deployments and times he left home for training, I was often raising our children alone. However, nothing could have prepared me to be a widow with 4 young children. Especially when my children were each grieving their father as much as I was grieving the loss of the love of my life when my husband lost his battle with PTSD on July 27th 2019.
Those first 3 years were lived in a fog. Grief isn’t just one of the most painful emotions, it is also extremely exhausting, in every possible way. By Christmas 2021 I was physically and emotionally run down, with nothing left to give to my children or my own healing. I knew I needed to make changes and begin focusing on my mental health.
I’m very fortunate and blessed to have an amazing support system. Not just my family, friends and neighbors, but also the many organizations that care for Gold Star Families.
The love and support my family has received and continues to receive from these organizations means so much to us. The workshops that are offered are always very therapy focused, which is so needed for survivors, and it is a big aid in learning to navigate the healing process. However, it is not always enough. I knew I needed something other than counseling, therapy and constant reminders of why we were all hurting.
Mental and physical rest.
I needed a break from not just being a single mom of 4 children, who were battling their own grief, but also a break from the never-ending roulette of emotions.
I began to do short trips here and there with my closest support system. The peace, laughter and tears from those trips, both with and without my children, recharged my desire to not just breathe, but to thrive again. I began to appreciate this chapter of our lives and no longer wanted to circle around these emotions of grief and pain. I focused on how beautiful this world is, even on rainy days.
Being a Gold Star Family is nothing you want to be, but the support and love we receive is the reason we continue to challenge every difficult day.
My husband was a hero and many organizations are honoring him by loving and supporting our children with everything they do.
We want to honor the spouses and children by giving them loving support, in relaxing and calming environments, to give them the ability to recharge their own batteries. We want to offer retreats and weekends where the Gold Star widows and families can take time to slow down, and find therapy in rest, in peaceful evenings, and bright new mornings.
We want to build a network of giving. In addition to retreats, we would like to offer supportive services to lighten the burden of trauma and loss. Some examples of our services could potentially include, automotive classes to Gold Star teenagers (How to change a tire or perform an oil change), free spa services for widows, and gift cards to restaurants or delicious home cooked meals during periods of emotional distress.
If you are already a sponsor, thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart. If you’re considering becoming a sponsor, please know your donation makes such a big impact.