Old movies like “A Christmas Carol” and “Miracle on 34th Street” take us through the story of loss, misunderstanding, discovery and redemption – except that, when someone is living with a loss, it’s difficult to get beyond act one during the holiday season. For those who have lost a spouse, a partner and a parent, the holidays can be a painful reminder that someone we love is not in the picture.

Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation (Fallen Patriots) hopes to help financially #EasetheBurden that Gold Star wives, like Cindy Rowe, have during the holidays.

Cindy Rowe was giving her son, Andrew, a bath when the doorbell rang. “I looked out the window and saw two soldiers. I thought, 'This is not happening. It's just a dream.' I called my parents and said 'The soldiers are here,' and they knew exactly what I meant.”

Her husband, Blue, had been killed in Afghanistan when his vehicle rolled over an IED. He was 33 years old and it was the fifteenth anniversary of his Army enlistment. Andrew was only seven.

Cindy and Blue met in Croatia where she was serving as a platoon medic and he served in the Army military police. When she got out in 2001, she became ‘just’ a military wife – taking care of their son, their household, and all the myriad details of keeping life going while Blue moved into the Army Reserves and continued to deploy to war zones.

The family hadn’t yet begun saving for Andrew’s college when Blue was killed.

“I hear so many stories about parents worried about how to pay for college. His education is the most important thing,” said Cindy. “The biggest struggle after Blue’s death is making all the decisions for Andrew all alone. I always wonder, ‘Am I making the right choice?’ ‘Am I doing the right thing?’”

A college education is the single most important gift Fallen Patriots can give to Gold Star children. Donors can cap a weekend of Thanksgiving and holiday cheer by donating to our mission; as little as $250 can provide a year’s worth of books for a child. Fallen Patriots hopes to celebrate the spirit of giving, by ensuring a future for Gold Star children on #GivingTuesday.

To donate now, click here.