It was somewhere around 2:30ish on a Saturday afternoon and I saw that Breezy was calling my work phone. I thought that was odd, because we had just talked a little while before while I was at lunch, but I answered anyway. She was crying and I couldn't really understand what she was saying. I finally realized that she was telling me to just come outside and I remember thinking - for goodness sake - I am so tired of all the drama with her and her boyfriend. It never once occurred to me that it could be anything else.
But, I did walk outside to see what was going on and she was just holding her stomach and sobbing and screaming "I can't tell you! I can't say the words! I just can't tell you!" I honestly just had no idea what was going on. I finally got her to stand still long enough for her to really look at me and she just broke. She handed me this piece of paper with a phone number on it and said that Kevin had been injured.
I went into shock first and then denial. There was just no way. How would she find out before me?
But she did (and that's a whole different story).
So her and I ran back into the office that I worked in with the rest of my department and I remember slamming the door and we were both crying so loud and shaking so badly. Matter of fact, my hands were shaking so violently that it took many tries to get the phone number dialed. I had to keep hanging up and trying again and finally I had Breezy hold my wrist still long enough for me to punch in the numbers.
I did manage to get through and talk to someone at whatever department of the Army they had me call and he just told me that at that point Kevin was alive, but that his wounds were extremely severe and he was in very critical condition. They listed all of his injuries and it turns out that the list was in no way accurate.
I was still shaking so bad and just crying and I honestly just couldn't imagine being the person on the other end of the line. I remember thinking about that at the time that he was telling me things - my mind was just going off into all different directions - and I realized that I needed to write everything down. I had to have Breezy write it all because I truly couldn't even hold a pen.
I think I lost a bit of time at about now because I don't remember what happened next, but somehow I just shut everything down and started to leave work. I didn't care that my day wasn't done - but I did try to tell a supervisor and when she couldn't acknowledge me because she was on the phone - I just started to leave.
As I was headed for the door - my friend Cathy saw us and I think she new immediately. I'm sure she (and everyone) assumed the worst, but I did tell them he was still alive. Cathy took me and Breezy home and from there - I couldn't tell you. I have no idea how long she stayed. I know that I called my family - but I don't remember doing it. I assume I called Moe and everyone else too - but I don't remember that either.
I do vaguely remember people coming in and out. Personally - I just wanted everyone to get lost. I know a couple of Breezy's friends came over and one of them just kept talking about going out and how they had to figure out where they were going that night and I think I told Breezy to get her the hell out of my house. I know that so many of my friends came too, as did my sister. I really just wanted everyone to go home.
I know that I didn't sleep for days. I was told I could call every 8 hours and get an update, but I admit that I did call more often than that. They never had anything new to tell me anyway, but the unknowing was just killing me and I had to do something.
That was probably the worst part. If I had been a wealthy person - I probably would have been on a plane to Landstuhl (sp) Germany to see him. I just needed to see him and make sure he really was alive. To make sure he was okay. It was unfathomable to me that my baby was so seriously wounded all the way on the other side of the world and I couldn't do a damn thing about it. I mean seriously - maybe they made a mistake, right?
But we all know they didn't.
I think I lay in the fetal position in my master bath on my pink shag rug for hours over the next couple of days. It was the only place I could go that people would just leave me alone. I do remember one time someone knocking on the door and I just screamed for them to go away and leave me alone and it turned out to be Breezy. She came in and we just held each other and sobbed for such a long time while laying there on the floor. She was the only person that could even begin to understand what this was like. Her and Kevin had always been so close and I knew she would never make it through this if the worst should happen - she had already lost so many people around her - including her best friend.
You guys just can't imagine the despair. You wonder if he is going to make it. And how you will live if he doesn't. And things are just foggy sometimes because it's like you are a zombie. And then there's the disbelief - I mean this really can't be happening, right? It's just someone's idea of a sick joke. Or it is a mistake. And then there's anger - I mean how can they send 19 year old kids over to place like that? How can they not train them better? Longer? And sometimes this little ray of hope shines through - just not very often. It's often enough to keep us going though and that's all we need.
We pretty much all know what happened next. It took 2 days for me to see my son. Cathy drove us to the airport and upon arrival, our liaison took us straight to the hospital. As I mentioned in my post on June 4 of last year - I did faint immediately upon seeing Kevin. I just couldn't imagine this person being my baby. This person had no lips and goggles on and a ventilator and was completely covered in bandages. Only his toes stuck out. I didn't think it was Kevin - there was so much hope there that maybe they really did make a mistake - but Breezy told me to look at the toes - they were definitely Kevin's. Darn her for being so sensible when I needed to think that the Army messed up and Kevin was somewhere eating slop in a tent.
I can't begin to tell everyone how horrifying those days were. We have had so many horrible days in the past year, but I have to be, and am, thankful that Kevin is still alive.
To Andrew's family and to James' family too - we ended up being lucky and I am so incredibly sorry that it didn't work out that way for you. I did cry a lot on the ride home today and it wasn't because of what we have lost - I am the type of person that will always make the best of what I've got - but it was because of the loss of both Andrew and James. For all of the horror that we went through - we, at least, had a possible light at the end of the tunnel. You did not. I just want you all to know that your boys will never be forgotten by anyone in my family and if there is anything that we can ever do for any of you - please don't hesitate to ask. I also sincerely hope that your pain has lessened in the past year and I wish a full recovery for Daniel and as any mother would wish for - for Kevin too.
May James and Andrew Rest in Peace.
First 2 from the Nov kit!
5 years ago