Gold STAR parent BLOG

Turning Corners…

On a recent trip to Oklahoma we got stuck behind a truck hauling one of those humongous blades for the wind turbines. We followed it straight up Highway 177 for dozens of miles, at times reaching 60 mph, but mostly we were lucky to be going 45 mph behind it. When we all got to Highway 33 in Perkins, the truck began turning left.

If you’ve ever traveled the back roads in Oklahoma you know what I’m fixin’ to say; those roads were never designed for a 131-foot-long trailer to navigate a 90-degree corner.

But those trailers are.

As the truck slowly made the corner and traffic piled up from four different directions, the leading edge of the turbine blade sliced into a traffic sign on the inside corner of the intersection. The chase vehicle was sending instructions to the truck driver and from where I was sitting I could see the independent rear wheels of the trailer slowly turning to the right. The turbine blade eased away from the traffic sign as the trailer crabbed its way further into the intersection and finally straighten out in the middle of Highway 33.

It was cool to watch.

The engineering of the trailer with the firetruck-like rear-end designed to carry and transport the turbine blades came about because of the single-piece construction of the blades.

That made me think of a few sharp turns we’ve had to navigate in the years since Bryan’s death. His death was a sharp left turn for his entire family. Most people don’t have a chase vehicle telling you when you’re about to run into an obstacle. We aren’t designed with a special set of wheels to ease us away from disaster.

Like those trucks which sometimes take several days to make a trip we can make in just a few hours, people seem to pile up behind us waiting for us to navigate a simple turn in our life that others don’t even seem to be aware of.

Maybe that blade we saw was for a new turbine, or maybe it was a replacement for one that had fatigued from the constant cyclic motion over the years. The blades are constructed to withstand storms, but they still wear out.

Weathering the storm of losing a child will flat wear you out. Carrying the load of grief makes it incredibly hard to navigate otherwise simple turns. Choosing a new job, changing your diet due to illness, maintaining a house or a car, or dealing with your spouse or your family-or both-seems insurmountable at times.

Do not give up. There are numerous organizations that are more than capable of helping you make that turn, whatever the obstacle or the load.

If not for our Survivor Outreach Services coordinators and other Gold Star parents and spouses, I’d still be stuck at the corner of Grief and Life.

The human spirit is an amazing feat of engineering. Put two or three of them together and there is no corner in the universe we cannot navigate together.


This website When Our Blue Star Turned Gold tells SSG Bryan Burgess’ story and to honor his sacrifice while helping other Gold Star families navigate their own journeys and inspire them to tell their stories so others will understand and appreciate the true cost of freedom. 

Note: Information on the website is provided for the sole purpose of assisting you in finding additional resources (information, meetings, books, etc.) to aid in the bereavement process. (Please see our mission statement.) . This website is not intended to endorse, sponsor or encourage your use of any of the information or services listed, whether from members or other individuals. Rather, our intent is simply to inform you of the vast amount of resources available for your consideration. We urge you to independently research and consider the value any particular resource for yourself. Further, while we take steps to ensure accuracy of the information posted, especially relative to linked media, we accept no liability for content.