She sat in her chair, silent. A picture lay loose in her hand, the edges frayed from being handled so often. She stared at the television, watching the news. She barely heard a word of it anymore. She had just turned it on to make her husband think she was busy doing something.
"In other news, there was a bombing in Southern Afghanistan today, killing over fifty soldiers and wounding thirteen. The two men responsible have been captured and are currently being questioned by U.S. officials John Hemway and Phillip Kenstow. More on this after the commercial break."
She lifted her head, her mind slowly absorbing what was said by the newscaster. Her frail hand quivered, and she dropped the photograph, which slowly drifted to the floor beside her worn chair. It was a picture of her son. He was only seven in the old photograph. It showed the little boy laughing as his father tickled him in the same room she was in at that very moment. She looked down at it for a second, not even having the simple strength to pick it up. A strand of her long graying hair came loose from her bun. She pushed it back behind her ear, just as she'd constantly pushed back the tears. She wiped her hand across her nose as she sniffled.
"Honey, are you in there?" her husband called, peering in from the kitchen doorway. "You feeling any better?" His eyes were full of concern, but she didn't notice them. She continued to stare at the flickering television screen, her hand now hanging limp at her side.
"Here, let me get that for you," he said, seeing the photograph on the floor and walking over to pick it up. His hands were rough from his job at the mill, but he was kind. He looked at the picture for a few seconds, then closing his eyes and talking to his wife.
"Mary, you've got to let it go. He died for his country, don't you see? I've told you so many times. Joshua wouldn't want you to waste the rest of your life away like this. Now come in and have dinner, I made it special."
The woman looked up at him, her eyes sparkling with tears. She couldn't forget the day she had gotten that fateful letter that had told her everything. Her baby was never coming back.
"I just can't believe it, Mark. My little boy. My only child. And now he's…" she let out a sob and shook her head violently, as if to shake off the death.
"I know Mary, I know. But please. It's been over a year. Come and have dinner. I made your favorite. Aren't you hungry?"
He rubbed her shoulder and held out his other hand, which she gingerly took. He helped her across the room to the kitchen. They sat down to another silent meal.