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Cindy Sheehan: A Mother's Pain

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The only thing I ever wanted to be my entire life was a Mom. I never even thought of having a career, because I always wanted to have babies. My own family was pretty dysfunctional when I was growing up, and I just wanted to have a family of my own to love and nurture.

When Pat and I found out that we were pregnant with Casey, our first, we were ecstatic. We had been married for over a year when we decided that we wanted to start our family, and we were pregnant the first month that we tried.

Casey was born on Memorial Day, May 29th, 1979. I couldn't take my eyes off of my darling newborn son. He was so alert, and his eyes would pierce my soul and it always seemed like he knew what I was thinking. He was such a good baby, although he liked to stay up late at night. Casey and I watched many old black and white movies while we rocked in the rocking chair that Grandpa Miller gave us.

Casey wasn't even a year old when we became pregnant with Carly. After Casey was born, Pat and I decided that we wanted to deliver any other children at home so I wouldn't have to leave Casey to go to the hospital to have the babies and so that the birth would be more under our control. While I was in labor with Carly, Casey would come in with his Fisher-Price camera and say: "Say cheese, Mama." And he would pretend to take my picture and then he would leave the bedroom to go and be adored by the various grandmas, aunties, and other friends and relatives who gathered for the birth of our second beautiful baby, Carly.

I loved Casey so much that when I was pregnant with Carly, I wondered how I could fit more love in my heart for another child. After she was born, I discovered that the human heart has no limit to how much love it can hold. With the births of Andrew and Janey, our family and our hearts expanded proportionally and we were complete: mom, dad, two boys, two girls & we did everything together and we were a very close family.

When Casey was killed in George's ill-conceived war for profit, our family was torn apart. Many well meaning people would tell me: at least you still have three more children. Which is technically correct but not very helpful. Does anyone ever go up to an amputee and say: "Well, you lost your arm, but at least you have 3 other limbs?" I feel very fortunate that I am blessed with such a wonderful and large family. I know many moms who had their only child stolen by BushCo in its lust for money and power but I am the mother of four, not three; and Carly, Andy, and Janey had a big brother, who was always part of their lives, murdered for lies.

I wasn't planning on having any more children, my baby is 20 and I am on the very shady side of 50, but having my womb removed the other day was still traumatic - I carried and nurtured the four loves of my life in there and it was a part of me. I will recover from the surgery and it will be nice to finally stop bleeding and get physically stronger. However, the pain of childbirth and the pain I am in right now is nothing compared to the pain that I felt on April 4th, 2004, when I found out that my oldest had been shot in the back of the head in an ambush by Iraqi resistance fighters who wanted him and the USA out of their country. I will never fully recover from the pain of child death. Wounds scab over; incisions heal; broken bones mend; but a heart shattered from child death cannot easily, if ever, be put back together again.

I am still here in Texas recuperating from my surgeries and hoping to be back on my feet next week to go and protest George with Mayor Rocky in Salt Lake City and be up and about when he comes back to Crawford for the Labor Day Weekend. Apparently George Bush is a "regular guy" who meets with his constituents, so I am looking forward to finally getting the meeting with him that I have been asking for all year long.

I want the meeting to call George on his many deceptions. If he or the other greedy neo-cons never said the exact words: "Saddam ordered 9/11," they made the connections over and over and they also told us that Saddam had WMD and that he was trying to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger. I want the meeting with George so I can express to him in very human and emotional terms how painful it is to bury a part of oneself. Even if it is not for lies, it is not natural or normal to bury a child. I want the meeting with George to demand that he bring our other children home from the nightmare of Iraq even while the war mongers are activating more Marines to go to the Middle East and stop-lossing other troops who just want to come home.

I want the meeting because I don't want another mother to feel such unnecessary and unrelenting pain. Even though some people try to demonize me and assign sinister motives to my quest for peace, this is my basic goal. Not one more.
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Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan, who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is a co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of two books: Not One More Mother's Child and Dear President Bush.
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