A few months ago we met the medic who worked on Pokey that day. He did an amazing job making sure my son had the best chance to live and got him to the surgeons alive. He told us that he had never know anyone so strong or who had fought so hard to live. Those words did not really fully hit me until I heard
“ He looked up at me, grinned and said ‘Hey’ ”
These were the words I heard from the amazing man who had held my son’s hand as they drove him to the medivac. This man never let go of my son’s hand from the moment the medic and he got to the seen until they put Pokey on the helicopter. He had tears in his eyes as he told me. I don’t think he will ever know how healing those words are for me. My son smiled. He wasn’t scared. Yes I realize he was in shock but to the very end he was true to himself and shared a smile with those who were with him. They broke his body beyond repair but they did not break his spirit, they didn’t break him. It is that grin that I see as my son’s last victory.
There were so many men who were a part of that day. The medic who worked so hard to make sure my son had a chance and gave it to him by getting him to the ER alive. The platoon Sgt who sprinted from the rear of the convoy to the front and then took charge to secure the area and make sure no one else was hurt and the men focused their attention on their jobs. The 1SG who held my son’s hand that day. The medivac team who got him to the ER in minutes and comforted him on the way. The surgeons who worked so hard to save him. They all worked so hard and did their jobs perfectly. I know they see it as a failure but in my eyes it was not. How can these men put their hearts souls, blood, sweat and tears into saving my son and be anything less than heroes to me.
The days that followed we got bits and pieces of the story. Within hours we finally had our first question answered... no one else had been hurt. The emails and calls came from Iraq. Reaching out to comfort us but to also find comfort from us. That was the beginning of the gift of these men in my life. A letter arrived telling me that if it had been anyone else my son would be the one to rally everyone and bring a smile back to the company and that in a way he had done just that as they all sat and shared stories of the things my son had done to relieve the tension and make those around him smile. I heard so often “He could make us laugh no matter how shitty the situation”.
In the end my son won a small victory for them all by grinning and saying “hey”. Now I need to help those who loved him too, see that he won. That yes his body was broken but not his spirit and that his spirit is in them and that it is ok for them too to smile and live life.