I’ve kept ever single instant message conversation I had with my son while he was in Iraq. I knew when something bad had happened because the first thing he would ask is ” What is everyone doing?” Sort of a roll call making sure we all were doing exactly what we were suppose to be and that his foundation was in place. I thought of that question as his life line question. On the days when nothing horrible happened there he would start the conversation with ” How much is in my account?” He had become a penny pincher and I was glad of it. Prior to his leaving for Iraq he spent money as if he had an endless supply.
Reading back through the conversation I found one we had had on my birthday.. just 12 days before he was killed. He had forgotten of course. He remembered the day before and gave me a bunch of shit about being old and 40. But on my birthday just 24 hours later the days had run together for him once again and he had forgotten. His friend reminded me. He felt bad but proceeded to give me more crap about being old. I told him he would be 40 someday and I had a good memory. He told me he would never be 40. I got on him about talking about dying.. He told me he knew he wouldn’t live till 40 but he didn’t want to die there. Honestly I had forgotten about the conversation until a few days ago when I went back and re read the conversations.
I actually had gone into read the last one I had with him. Just 24 hours before he died. He was worried about coming home on leave. Wasn’t sure he could handle being around a lot of people. We had decided not to tell anyone expect a select few he would be home until he was ready to be around people. He was glad that I understood. How could I not? He had already told me he had the “jumps” and a few of the things he had seen there. I know there was more but like every soldier he didn’t want us at home who loved him to worry. Be concerned yes. Care yes but not worry.
One of his friends there told me later that he had come back to the barracks that last night happy he had gotten to talk to me and his Dad and in the best mood he had been in in awhile. I am just glad he knew we understood and loved him and just talking to us online could make him happy…