A mother just knows

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 27, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Long before the phone call, Dorothy Taylor Thompson knew something was wrong.

&uot;A mother just has this feeling when it comes to her children,&uot; said Thompson, who lives on Lake Kennedy Drive. Last Monday, she found out that her son, Sgt. Edward Jay Thompson, a 28-year-old paratrooper medic in Iraq, had been injured several weeks earlier.

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&uot;I had always heard from him every three or four weeks and I hadn’t heard from him for some time. When I went to church that Sunday, I just had a pressing feeling about him.&uot;

So much so, in fact, that she made a second trip to the altar at Faith Deliverance Church, where she asked the congregation to say a special prayer for her youngest son.

It wasn’t until 6 a.m. June 14, when she was jolted awake by the insistent ringing of the telephone, that Thompson realized the reality behind her gut feeling.

On the other end of the line, her son, a graduate of Nansemond River High School, uttered the words she most wanted to hear: &uot;Mama, your baby is home!&uot;

But that news was bittersweet – Thompson’s ticket back to a U.S. army base in Germany was a chest wound received in Iraq a month or so earlier.

Even now, she doesn’t know many details, Thompson said.

According to her son’s account, she said, Thompson was one of 25 soldiers rescued after being attacked while on a night mission somewhere in Iraq. Jay Thompson was shot in the chest.

Thompson was first taken to Baghdad Hospital, then to a U.S. Army hospital in Germany for another couple of weeks. It wasn’t until his release from that hospital that he would call his mother.

Though sorry her son was injured, Thompson says she almost sees it as a blessing.

&uot;I’m sorry he got hurt but I’m so glad he is back on American soil and that he is coming back to me,&uot; she said. &uot;Thank God he is out of there and that they are not sending him back into Iraq.

&uot;The power of prayer is amazing. The Lord has been good to me,&uot; she said. &uot;After all, he could have been killed, not wounded.&uot;

Thompson, who is also the son of Edward A. Thompson of Suffolk, will be stationed in Germany until his September homecoming. He also has a 6-year-old daughter, Janiqua Thompson of Florida.

&uot;The first thing I’m going to do when I see him is grab him right up and hug him,&uot; Thompson said. &uot;Then I’m going to call everybody we know and let them know he is home.&uot;

Meanwhile, the candle that has been glowing from Thompson’s window since the first bombs began to drop over Iraq will continue to shine.

&uot;I’m going to leave it there until American troops are home again,&uot; Thompson said. &uot;My son is back (on an American base) but his troops are still over there.

&uot;There are other mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, and friends worrying about their loved ones,&uot; she said. &uot;I hurt for them too.&uot;

Days before learning her son had been shot, Thompson received additional long-awaited news that her brother, missing for more than 20 years in California, had finally been found.

Thompson said her brother seemed to disappear after moving out west in 1984, seemingly breaking off all communication with the family.

Nonetheless, Thompson refused to give up and has spent much of the past two decades on the telephone, trying to track down information of her brother’s whereabouts.

Earlier this year, Thompson tried a new avenue and sent letters to the state’s Missing Persons Bureau and social service department.

It wasn’t three weeks later that she received a call from the Missing Persons Bureau, saying that her brother, now 67, had been found living in a private home. Over the years, he had suffered a stroke and heart attack, which had rendered him blind and wheelchair.

But like her son, he was alive and he wanted to come home.

Apparently, when her brother had his stroke, he suffered some memory problems because of his stroke. Consequently, Thompson said, he had trouble remembering the correct name to look under her last name when he searched.

A couple of weeks later, Thompson went to California to pick up her brother and take him back to his wife and children in South Carolina.

&uot;There’s all doing well now,&uot; she said.