by Cindy Sheehan
I awakened last Sunday morning with an enormous pain in my heart. Every morning I wake up, as soon as I come to consciousness and figure out where I am, my first thought is of Casey and April 04, 2004, the day he was killed in BushCo's war for corporate profit. Some days, like Mother's Day, are worse than others.
That Sunday morning, I was in Washington, DC—a city that I love as an exciting, energetic and supportive one—on the other hand, the corruption seeps into my soul and I can't spend too many consecutive days there. I am also comforted by the constant police presence as I am followed like a hawk by a paranoid force that is afraid I am up to something--which is usually true, but that's beside the point, everything I do is legal--and paranoid that I may expose another t-shirt with the truth written on it.
After breakfast with my sister, a Camp Casey friend from Texas, Randi Rhodes, Susan Hathaway from NYC, and Annie Nelson (Willie's wife), we headed down to Lafayette Park where Code Pink was sponsoring a "Mothers Say No to War" vigil where hundreds of male and female matriots gathered together to loudly, stridently, courageously, reverently, and oftentimes joyfully proclaim to the world and the illicit administration that we have had enough of the world's children being killed for no reason other than to garner obscene profits for the war machine.
We had a wonderful day opening with a prayer/memorial service for all of the people, including innocent Iraqis, that have been lost to Bush's gigantic ego and bottomless greed. At one point, I laid my head in my friend Hillary's lap and sobbed for the chasm of emptiness that is present in my life on a daily basis. Not only do I miss Casey, but I miss my other children. I miss the life we led before Casey was killed: A life that was dominated by the children and their activities. Now I am separated by a dimension from Casey and by distance from my others. I do this so they and the worlds' children won't have to go to war and die for a racket that is as old as time. It is a hard life that I have chosen but sometimes I feel that it has chosen me.
One of my new friends whom I made this weekend is Dr. Patch Adams who is a remarkably cheerful and loving person who has devoted his life to the pursuit of love and laughter. Until I met him, I was wondering who in the heck the gigantic man was in a pink wig and pink flowered dress! When I introduced myself, he put me in a bear hug that fed my heart and soul. We had long conversations about using humor and love to change the world and talked about a "Cindy and Patch Peace Tour."
After Casey's movie mom, Susan Sarandon arrived; we were treated to a surprise guest: Dick Gregory. Dick had been on his way to Cleveland to an engagement when he saw the Code Pink protest on the news and he changed direction and he came to DC to join us. He decided to go on a fast on the way to the event. He asked me what my heart's dream was. I replied: "Troops home, now," without a second thought or a second's hesitation. He said: "So be it, I am fasting until the troops come home!"
After a particularly emotional time, Randi came up to me, crying, and asked: "How do you do this, Cindy?"
Great question. I looked all around me. At my dear friends, Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans and Gael Murphy who founded Code Pink Alert: Women for Peace and who have been my constant cheerleaders and co-conspirators for peace longer than most people. I saw Hillary and Desiree, two Code Pinkers from Dallas who spent the night with me that first harrowing night in the ditch. I glimpsed Diane Wilson who just got out of a Texas jail after spending six months there for chaining herself to a Dow Chemicals tank. My nearly constant companion on my journeys around the country, Col. Ann Wright, was not too far from me. She resigned her job at the State Department after George Bush invaded Iraq and she runs Camp Casey each time with a competent and loving hand. Tiffany, one of my Camp Casey assistants was running around the park organizing things and wearing a picture of her "brother" Casey around her neck. I saw hundreds of Americans who came from all over our country to show George Bush that we repudiate him and his crimes against humanity.
I looked at Randi with tears streaming down my face. In answer to her question, I replied: "Casey brought all of us together. I am not doing this alone. Casey gave all of you to me to help me through this."
Casey would not allow me do this alone. He has given us the gift of lasting friendships that are not only enriching us but changing the world. He has brought the peace movement together by his unnecessary sacrifice.
George Bush could never meet with me and tell me what noble cause he killed Casey and so many others for: First of all, because war for empire and profit is not noble, secondly because the man is a coward.
The noble cause is peace.
Thank you, Casey, my son and my hero.