A year ago today was the last time I hugged my son. I thought it was the last time for 15th months. I didn't know at the time it would be the last time ever. If I had I would have never let go.
We had spent the weekend together as a family. Had bonfires and birthday parties. Grilled out and watched the Packers play. Laughed took hundreds of pictures which I know were not enough.
That morning he was sitting on the counter in my dad's kitchen, lost in thought and feeling like crap from all the shots he had gotten a few days before. We were talking about everything but his deployment when out of no where he stated " I can handle loosing my legs but not my arms" His brother's reaction was "Are you nuts?' "He's and artist and you're a runner. " I pointed out. It was the only time the possibility of him getting hurt was ever really brought up.
That afternoon we left my dad's house and headed back to Ft. Campbell. We stopped and ate at a chinese buffet he loved. Then we went to Wal-mart and picked a few things he was going to need. Razors, socks, some good pens. He was so particular about his pens. Artist are I suppose. We wondered around the store being a little silly and putting off the inevitable good byes.
I didn't have a driver's licenses at the time and could not drive on post so in was in the wal-mart parking lot in Clarksville, TN that I hugged my son for the last time before my husband drove him back to post. I tried to fight the tears but in the end they won and streamed down my face. All I could think was how much I was going to miss him. He told me he would be ok. And I told him it wasn't that. I had faith in him, his team and his training.. it was that I was gonna miss him so very much.
I found out he had been killed 4 months and 16 days later.. Ironically while at wal-mart. His brother called me and told me two men from the Army were at my home.. and I knew.