27 March 2012
We didn’t even know him. At all. He went kayaking, ducked in a building to get out of the rain, touched something he shouldn’t have and was gone. We hadn’t even been here a month, and B was calling parents to arrange shipping their dead son’s belongings home. I was with him, cleaning out the boy’s closets, when the framed picture of a positive pregnancy test was found. By the time we shipped his belongings home to his parents, we knew him better than anyone should ever be known by anyone.
22 April 2012
He worked for B. B liked him a lot. Thought he had a promising future in the AF. Pushed him to excel. A moment of recklessness, a rolled humvee, and a bright future turned off. The sharp knife of a short life, indeed. There was less to find this time. No surprises. Little gifts meant to be sent home to cousins, sisters. The Mom was a rock every time he spoke to her, this was her second son to bury. A week later, we had a huge inspection, no time to grieve, no time to lose it, no time to process.
9 September 2012
I just realized I don’t know exactly what day you left us. We spent the whole summer joking about the new boobs you were buying yourself. How you were excited to tell people, “damn straight they’re real, I paid enough, they better not be imaginary.” How we laughed about you being the “forward scout” and how we were all going to go get new boobs. Until you didn’t come home. Until your children were left without their mommy. Until we had to say goodbye to you.
25 November 2013
We probably won’t ever know what happened. You weren’t even supposed to be here. You were supposed to be home, watching you son play soccer, celebrating Thanksgiving. Not be here, alone on your birthday, and then try to die. You lived. I’m so grateful that you did. Grateful that some young cop doesn’t carry your death. But now we’re here without you. We won’t ever see you again. Never get to say goodbye. Never get to wish you well and tell you we hope you’re better. Never get to ask you what happened. Never get to help you carry that burden. But I do. I do wish you well, I do hope you’re getting the help you need, and I am so sorry we didn’t see your burden earlier.
When anyone asks me why I say this base was so hard, I have these dates. They’re inscribed on the walls of my heart. Sadly, these aren’t even all of the dates, they’re just the ones that correlate directly to here. The ones that scarred here.