Friday, June 11, 2004

Letter From Barb (Jim's Sister)

Dear Ones,

I have never put these thoughts on paper. I have told a few bits and pieces here and there. This is how I thought after Jim was MISSING. Such an unGodly term!! Immediately after, I was so very sure he would walk out from his hiding and be recovered (after all during survival training in the Philippines they could not find him), that I called mom and dad every few days to see if they had heard anything. It sure made it hard on them. I felt so isolated (in Calif.) and I thought they just forgot to call me, even though I knew that wasn't true. I should have come home. (I was pregnant with Kathy just a few months plus having two other little ones.) I used to dream frequently that I was in Laos looking for Jim. Because I had no idea of the real circumstances of imprisonment, I always dreamed I was there looking through "BARS" for Jim. I never saw him, I was always looking. In the "day time" I always envisioned a fiery crash into the mountainside of Jim's plane. I guess that was Gods way of telling me the reality of it. I never really gave up hoping until I read the book that Jerry and Roger found and read, My Secret War in 1989. Then I understood better and believed. I lost some hope after the war ended and the Gov't told us (families) to back off and give them a chance to bring these men home. When we realized they were not going to bring home or account for everyone, I had not the heart or hope to go back to speaking two or three times a week as before. I had been fighting to bring home (Jim, hopefully and if not, at least) any prisoner of war.

I always had to expose my inner most feelings and pain in my speeches to strangers. Totally against my nature, at that time! When I lost hope I could no longer go back and do that. I do think it is unforgivable for our country not to do everything in its power to bring home our servicemen and to account for them. Jim is gone and I have come to terms with that. It still is not easy and brings tears to my eyes frequently. What a loss! We all loved him so. It helps that we are a close family and it helps we believe in God. Thirty years later, you would think it would be easier or better, but it is still hard. What a loss!!!! I have learned to be expressive regarding my emotions and not bottle them up mostly due to the loss of my Kathy. I did tell Jim how we all loved him as I knew we as a family did not always express it verbally. I wrote him a letter and stuck it in his suitcase before he left, to find later. He did. So, with these thoughts, I send my love to you, also.