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Behind the numbers -- the human cost of war

From the Wolf Blitzer Reports staff

Wolf Blitzer Reports

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- For every American killed in Iraq, there are many left to grieve at home.

Parents, children, spouses and friends are left stunned and bereft after hearing news they prayed would never come.

Twenty-two-year-old Pfc. Kevin Cuming was killed in a grenade attack in Baghdad August 21.

His mother Yolanda Cuming remembers receiving the terrible news. "I look out the window and I say, 'Who is it?' And they say, 'United States Army.' That was the end of my life. I dreaded, I dreaded that moment."

Eighteen-year-old Marine Pfc. Ryan Jarabek from Oneida, Wisconsin died in fighting in Anbar province on April 6 this year.

"At 8:30 in the evening, two U.S.M.C. officers came here and informed us that my son had -- delivered the ultimate, for his country," said Ryan's father, Ken Jarabek.

From all corners of the country they are American families bound by grief.

From Columbus, Ohio, Army 1st Lt. Charles Wilkins was killed August 20 when a homemade bomb ripped through his Humvee near Samarra.

For thousands of other families, the struggle is not carrying on after life lost, but rebuilding lives changed.

Many face a long and painful recovery.

One U.S. soldier in rehab describes a source of inspiration: "There's a guy who's missing both his legs and one arm, and he's walking. So if he can do it, and go on with life, I don't see why anybody else can't."

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