*I wrote this last year, while Kevin was deployed and I was about to head out to a memorial service for a Fallen Soldier. I was having a conversation of sorts with someone on twitter about the feelings and it made me remember this, so I am posting it here.*
"Deep Breath" written in November 2008
I'm sitting here trying to get myself together. Taking deep breath over and over. In about a half hour I'll be leaving my house to attend a memorial service for a Soldier. (deep breath). As I go through a routine (why has it become a routine?) of sliding the black panty hose on, attaching my black ribbon laced with the yellow ribbon and the man down pin, I pause. Tears threaten to fall but I think that if I just take deep breaths I will stop them from streaming. I wonder...is this a dress rehearsal? Quickly I brush those thoughts from my mind but what if? (deep breath). I try to run through how the memorial service will go, play it through my mind. Somehow I think that if I can prepare myself enough I won't break down when they get to the point where they do the final roll call. They will call one name...SPC Whoever and you will hear "Here First Sergeant!". They will call another name, "Here First Sergeant!" and then they will call the names of those we are there to honor "SPC Soldier We Will Not Forget" pause, silence "SPC Soldier We Will Never Forget" pause, still silence and yet one more try, "SPC We Will Honor Always", still no reply. A pause and then the 21 Gun Salute following by the sound of Taps. All you will hear are the muffled tears of those in the chapel, my own included. I play that through my head over and over, heartbroken for the families who pray to hear that soft "Here First Sergeant" but who will only hear silence like the rest of us. I try to control the ache in my heart as I pray so hard selfishly to never be the one sitting in that front pew.
I take a deep breath as I prepare my keys, practice the smile and head out to pass through the gates, passing the memorial wall that these Soldier's names will soon be a part of. I will glance towards the other side of post where another memorial will be held at the same time in honor of a fallen Soldier who is in Kevin's brigade. I pause and look at Kevin's picture, his smile and beg the Lord that I will see it in person again...selfish I know...(deep breath).