At 10:05am Baghdad time 24 Feb 2008 an EFP (explosive formed projectile)was fired up on the second vehicle in the convoy. It hit the driver's door. My son was the driver. The medic attended to him on sight. Once stable enough he was medivac'd out to the 86th CSH ( combat surgical hospital)where a team of surgeons worked on him. He died in surgery at 11:31am Baghdad time. For 1 hour and 26 minutes he fought his final battle. The others in the vehicle received minor injuries.
At approximately 1pm ( US CST ) two men knocked on my front door. I was at the store shopping when my son called to tell me they were in my livingroom. I knew.
In the past year my family has experienced pain so deep that it is impossible to put into words, joy that we feel guilty for having, people who have amazed me, anger with no outlet, and an emptiness there is no way to fill. I chose to dwell on the amazing people.
Joe, who reminded me early on to look to my son for strength and later imparted the wisdom to let the memories of my son inspire me.
Sgt Lee, who brought my son home to me and then became our friend.
Cliff, who IM'd with me from a hospital in Baghdad and made it ok to have a conversation not about my son. And who told me I don't fight fair. ( We mom's don't)
Doc Strong, Who did everything possible to save my son then had the courage to come to us and sit across from us at a table. Opening himself up to any possibility but giving us comfort.
Howie, Tommy and Peg, Who have all given me a chance to use this voice of a Gold Star Mom to make a real difference. And who answer the phone when I call at any given hour and need to just talk.
Jenn, A BTR host who gets fighting mad when she even thinks someone's word may hurt me. And that makes me smile every time.
Ron, who befriended me and encourages me to continue to write my heart.
Bravo Company 1/502nd, All of these men and their families who accepted us as one of their own and who make sure my son's stories are heard by us. Who embrace us and call me Momma Ang.
CPT Ussery, who took the time to invite me to his home and then shared the details he somehow knew I needed to move forward. His and his wife's friendship is one I will cherish. ( I still want to steal his dog though)
Those Marines and Soldiers who served in Iraq who helped me understand that those who we fight in Iraq are not like you and I. I now know what Pokey meant by "soulless Muslim Bastards" They were raised on hate and evil has truly taken their souls. And that my son and all those who fought there truly made a difference in this world.
There are so many people that have touched my life in this past year. People I know I would not have met had it not been for losing my son. As much as I love these people and the gifts they give me, the price was so very high.
I miss Pokey.. Nothing and no one will ever change that. I want him running through the door yelling Mooommmyyy! and asking what's for dinner. I want him here to run my finger through his hair and have him tell me to stop. I want him to fight with his sister. Then laugh because she gets mad so funny. I want him to take Tony for icees and pickles. I want him to trade CDs with David then complain David has his CDs. I want to make his damned chili mac for him like he asked me to. Of all the food in the world why chili mac was what he wanted me to make for his homecoming I will never know. There will be no 21st birthday party. No wedding. No late night conversations. No making new memories. What we have are a blessing and we hold them dear.
I want my baby home... But a year ago they came and told me he wasn't going to ever come home again. And since that moment a part of me still screams for them to take it back. He's gone but he still inspires me. He still gives me strength and courage. And every once in a while he still lays his head on my shoulder.
I love you Pokey. I miss you more than words can say.