I went and saw the Lucky One with my wife on Sunday. Seeing the Lucky one made me so thankful for the family and friends that I have been so blessed with. It made me sad to think of those that never made it home or those that had their lives changed forever by the war. I thought again of the Fallen Soldier Memorial in Iraq that I visited with the names of soldiers that didn’t make it home. Some I knew well, others I knew from others that had shared their own stories of the fallen soldiers.
Almost daily I think of CSM Mike Mettille whose office chair sat empty in my office while he was gone to never be filled by him after his death. I’m saddened by the joys he will never witness as his kids graduate from high school, college, marry or that he will never hear the cry of his first grandchild being born. I stand in awe of his wife’s strength, her endurance and the personal courage that it takes to get up each morning. Her family’s loss makes me wonder what my life would be like without my wife, partner and best friend. I can only imagine how hard it would be to get up and make the bed each morning knowing that tonight I will be there alone living with the past.
Often I think back on the events that changed my life forever. A few years back I was called late at night by the TOC (Tactical Operations Center) tasking me with telling a mom that her son Brent wasn’t coming home. After just a few minutes on the phone I was given the information that would change her life forever. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep that night or in the days that followed. If it wasn’t for my family and the support that they gave me I would not have been able to look her in the eyes and say the words that begin with "The Secretary of the Army has asked me to express his deep regret”. I was successful only because I treated her like I would want to be treated if it was a stranger standing before me giving me the news that one of my kids serving their country wasn’t coming home.
The movie made me sad because life is short and that the time that we spend on this world is precious. I thank God that daughter Jacki, my brothers, sisters and I made it home safely. I am so thankful that my family came through our deployment without having had someone knock on the door changing their lives forever.
Just between me and you I find that I’m more sensitive some might even say that occasionally I get misty eyed during a sad show. Then there is the other side of me that feels like bitch slapping a guy that doesn’t take his hat off during the National Anthem. The reality is I really need to stop procrastinating and start crossing off some of the things on my so called “Bucket list”. I need to celebrate life, enjoy my family and live life to its fullest honoring those that never came home.
If you want a good movie I highly recommend seeing the Lucky One. If you want to get a real taste of reality volunteer at your local Veterans Hospital and talk to those that survived.
That is all,