SAN ANTONIO – It’s an honor that nobody wants, but many here in San Antonio are familiar with — being a Gold Star Family.
The nation recognizes the sacrifice that all Gold Star Family members make when a father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, or other loved one dies in service to the nation.
“You go numb completely. You feel very, very lost in the moment; it’s like a piece of your heart was ripped out,” said Kendra Larson.
It’s been two years, but for Larson, her husband Ryan’s death feels like yesterday. The Army Corporal left behind two young sons and a three-week-old daughter.
Larson said Ryan suffered a traumatic brain injury, and although he recovered physically, it changed his life.
“Long-term issues like he had the metal plates in his head, but it was ultimately those PTSD issues that no one wants to talk about. The addiction issue amongst the veteran community is huge, and I didn’t know much about it until I loved someone who went through it,” said Larson.
Now, Larson is turning her pain into purpose by giving back to an organization that helped her — Tuesday’s Children.
“They came alongside me and my children from everything, from needing help with VA benefits or finding someone to help watch my children,” said Larson.
As a mentor, Larson is helping Gold Star families navigate new and unexpected challenges, and she shares this message with anyone struggling.
“Show up and pursue those hard days because even when it’s hard to seek out the help that’s there,” said Larson.
And for her beloved Ryan.
“I hope he’s proud of me and that I love him,” said Larson.
Tuesday’s Children is just one of many resources available for veterans.