A little over 2 years ago, Leslie Kammerdiener decided to start a blog...For reasons unknown to her at the time, but this is what she said...
Sunday, February 24, 2008
"Hellloooo!!! Is there anybody out there?
Hello and welcome to my blog! I am not really sure what kind of direction this thing is going to take, but I am looking forward to figuring it out.
To summarize my life, I am a single woman with two grown children. My daughter, Brianna (Breezy), is 23 and she works in an underground mines in a government position. My son also works for the government but in a totally different way - he is in the Army. Kevin is 19 and is currently stationed in Bamburg, Germany.
I, myself, work for Armstrong Cable in a small department that handles the back-side of billing operations. I enjoy my job for the most part, but there are days....
I am an avid reader and I enjoy scrapbooking as well. Traveling is one of my favorite things to do and I love to cook and bake.
This about sums me up so I am going to head off for now. My son is supposed to call me on Skype in a few minutes and I want to get all set up. Gotta get that webcam operating, lol!"
Sounds like a pretty normal life to me!!! An all American normal family living an all American normal life!!!...But today, Leslie's life is anything but normal. And I know she would not mind me sharing her story...
You see, Leslie's life turned upside down in May of 2008 when she got shocking news about her son Kevin. Kevin was in a NATO convoy driving through the city of Jalalabad in Afghanistan on May 31. A suicide bomber filled a vehicle with explosives and drove it into her son's Humvee. Leslie did not know that there were 4 people in the Humvee. Both her son and his battle buddy survived the blast - the other two did not. Kevin was pulled from the wreckage and rushed to a hospital in Jalalabad. He has since been flown back to Germany and is now on this way to San Antonio, TX to a military burn unit. His injuries were extensive, they didn't know if he would make it.
That was the beginning of Leslie, Brianna, and Kevin's life...It has been forever changed. Leslie's story is one of war, courage, honor and love....Oh, the love...In honor of Kevin, and all those who serve our country to keep us safe...We salute you...We pray for you, and we too will defend your honor...
Happy Memorial Day...
I just don't know what to say. Obviously it's an honor to be named LOTW, but you see...tomorrow is the second anniversary of this horrific event. Tomorrow, May 31, two years ago, both James and Andrew perished. Kevin and Daniel survived only to have to fight life long battles to recover and to sustain some quality of life.
And all of our lives changed. My family's, Andrew's family's, James' family's and Dan's family's. Not to mention all of our friends and their families and all of everyone who any of these boys' lives have ever touched.
When I read that post and it quoted what I wrote way back in the day I had to say to myself 'Did I write that? Was my life ever that normal?'. As time goes by, it gets harder and harder to remember what normal is. It gets harder and harder to remember those days. I suppose it's best though as it makes the loss much easier to deal with.
But still...on a day like today, I'm glad that Lisa reminded me of my previous life. It gave me pause to think of what Kevin was like before - always joking, speeding all over the place on that skateboard and in high gear at all times. It made me think of Breezy and how quick she was to smile bright and how she was always out with someone, doing gosh knows what. And it made me remember myself being out with Moe and Jen and the girls. I gave thought to all the friends I had at work and how I felt good that my kids had grown up and were moving on.
Truthfully, I would say that the three of us were doing pretty damn well.
Now though? Now life is so drastically different for all of us. I suppose I could focus on the negs - no freedom, no friends, no income, no spontaneity, no feeling that everything is ok in your world, always having to be on alert, never knowing what state you're in, living in hospitals and hotel rooms and temporary apartments, having to fight for everything, blah blah blah.
But you know me ;-) I still can't help but feel lucky too. I can't imagine what the Shields and Finleys felt. I can't imagine opening the door to uniformed men/women and being told that my son had died. Yes, our lives do mostly stink, but to never hug my baby again, to never get to sing 'Happy Birthday', to never see his smile and to never hear the words "I love you" come from his lips?
No. We are the lucky ones. And my heart completely goes out to the Finley and the Shields families.
Rest In Peace Andrew and James...