Elaine Oneto clings tightly to the few remaining mementos she's left with since Katrina destroyed her home. Memories are all she has following the death of her son Lt. Robert Oneto Sikorski in combat action in Iraq.
"It was an honor and a privilege to have been his mother," says Oneto.
The two had lived side by side in Bay St. Louis's Bayside Park. And both had spoken less than a week ago about rebuilding a life together upon his return.
"We were talking about when he came home in December. He was so glad, he was going to buy a house for the kids. He was going to take them to Disneyworld. We were going to have a wonderful Christmas for them."
In fact, Elaine says it was his three children that motivated and inspired Robert as a father and as a citizen soldier in the National Guard's 155th Combat Battalion.
"He was like most people, torn. He wanted to be with his family, but he was an honorable man and he would never have shirked his duty."
Living with her sister in Diamondhead, Elaine was comforted by a visit from her daughter Shawna. Though, for now, Elaine is unsure of her future plans.
"Everything that's happened is just kind of in limbo right now. I'm not sure what I'm going to do."
But she is sure her only sons' three children will never forget their father's love and dedication to them.
"He was a loving father who gave up everything for his children. And he wanted a bright and happy future for his children and he wanted that for all children everywhere. That's why he went to Iraq. He wanted to make it a better place of all peoples' children."