I have had a request from some of my family to share a personal story with you. I have shared my thoughts and feelings about all that I have seen and done over here in Kuwait and Iraq. I have also shared a few stories from some of the soldiers. But I guess it is time to share something that I have kept to my self for the last 5 months. So here it goes. I will start with an entry I made in my Journal and finish with the rest of the story.
Journal Entry: October 6, 2003 – am
“As we were pulling into CedarII, I got word that Pap-paw had passed away. They offered to fly me home. But when I talked to Mam-maw, she told me to stay right where I am and do my job. She and mom says that is what Pap-paw would have wanted as well. I just don’t know. Mom said that Pap-paw and Mam-maw really enjoy my emails and pictures. She said Pap -paw was so proud of me for doing this. That I was the apple of his eye and he bragged on me for being in Iraq. His favorite picture of the six I emailed, was of me in my vest and helmet. I wish I could be there today, but I know that I am doing what he wanted me to do.”
Journal Entry: October 6, 2003 – afternoon
“I am at BIAP. We pulled into the staging area a little bit ago. I am sitting here thinking about the fact that Mam-maw is burring Pap-paw in a few hours and I am not there. Mike E wouldn’t let me drive after I refused to go home, so I am riding with Mike Collier. He has been a great friend Thur this. I hope that I am doing the right thing by not going home. I really feel like a shit for not being there, even though this is what Pap-paw and Mam-maw want. I should be there for her and for mom.”
Journal Entry: October 6, 2003 – 1 hour later
“You are not going to believe this. I don’t believe this! I got out of the truck and set foot in BIAP staging area for the very first time just a few minuets ago. My mind was so waited with knowing that they are gathering to say goodbye to Pap-paw right now. I kind of stumbled out of the truck and the first time I looked down at the ground, I saw this heart shaped rock. I couldn’t believe it. It really is shaped like a heart. Besides the overwhelming awe of it, I had sudden peace enter my heart. I know who sent this rock to me and why it was the first thing I saw when I got out of the truck. It is from Pap-paw. It is him telling me that it is OK to be here. It is him telling me that he loves me and is watching over me. It is him telling me that he proud of me. I just cant believe how much it looks like a heart. I have to find some way to get it back to the states. Mam-maw have to see this. Mom has to see this. They may think I am crazy, but I know what it means.”
I want you to all know that I got that rock to Mam-maw while I was home on R&R. She and mom were amazed at how much it looked like a heart. Mam-maw told me to keep it with me. It is my protection. It goes on every mission I have been on since I found it and it will continue to. I have a small wooden box that is my keepsake box. I have certain things in there that go on every mission. I don’t leave home without it.
So, now everyone knows the story of me and my heart shaped rock. Y’all have a great day!