This is the most important blog entry....to me...that I have ever written and I have decided to move it here for safe keeping rather than the other site. Maybe this place is becoming home after all.

 

Today, Feb. 10,2010, at five in the afternoon as his mother and I made our way to Memphis to catch the first flight out in the morning, Our Son Richard passed away.

We did not make it in time to say goodbye, but that's alright. We will be there tomorrow to say our goodbyes and to be with Lindsey and little Aric.

Mel and I are at peace with how it all turned out, in fact to be honest with you it could not have been any better. The boy did good.

Let me tell you about Richard's last day on Earth....

Richard was moved from Hospice care and back into the hospital. His strength was fading fast and he was struggling to hold on. He was fighting for every breath. He was fighting to stay with his wife and child. He was fighting to hang on until we reached his side.

He was a Warrior.

A little before four o'clock the hospital in which he was a patient suddenly exploded in an uproar of excited voices in the hallways. Lindsey stepped out of the room and asked the nearest nurse, who was staring out the window, what was going on.

"Look out there," The nurse said excitedly and she pointed out the window.

Lindsey looked and there, landing on the hospital helipad was a big Blackhawk warbird.  No one had been told it was coming and no one knew why it was there.

As soon as the big bird settled it's skids on the landing pad, thirty men, dressed in full dress uniforms unloaded and formed up in marching order.

They were the pilots and crews of Richards unit and they had come for one of their own....No man left behind.

The soldiers made quite a sight as they marched in step from the chopper and into the hospital, down the halls and into Richard's room. Each man of them was a friend, each man a comrade. They had come to say goodbye to one of their own.

They all gathered around Richard's bed and begin to talk to him gently, to tell stories, to share a common bond only warriors know. The leader of the group took Lindsey aside and told her she could take a break and get a little rest....they would watch over him for awhile.

So these men settled in to keep a vigil. Richard couldn't talk but his eyes went around the group, from man to man, from face to face and he smiled.

After about forty-five minutes, sensing that Richard was tiring fast, the group said their final goodbyes; each man taking Richard's hand for one last time. Then, in marching order they exited the hospital, all of them but one: Joe, Richard's closest friend in the unit stayed behind.

Joe sat by Richard's bed and held his hand. He prayed with Richard, never turning loose of him. Then, after a few moments of silence, Joe leaned over the bed and whispered to Richard.

"It's okay Rich. You can stop fighting now. You can go if you need to, it's gonna be alright."

Richard looked at him for a moment, then he turned his head and looked out his window....he had heard the sound of the Blackhawk as it lifted off the landing pad and began it's flight back to base. Richard stared out the window a moment....listening...then he closed his eyes and died.

Richard's spirit flew away.....following the big Blackhawk and his  unit, into the sky.  No man left behind.

All of this was relayed to his mom and me by Lindsey who finally reached us in Memphis.

So you see now why we are alright with not making it in time? Richard was first and foremost....a soldier and he went out like any soldier would want to go.  It was fiting.

Thank you God for giving our boy such an exit, and thank you for giving us such peace.

Richard.....You did good son, damn good.  Your mother and I are proud of you.

Views: 212

Comment by tr ig on September 5, 2012 at 12:06pm

Dude..

Comment by Scylla the Rock on September 5, 2012 at 1:33pm

Know that we are all also proud of your fine young man.

Comment by Jenny on September 5, 2012 at 1:40pm

David, thank you for posting this here. What a wonderful tribute his fellow soldiers gave him, a vary fitting ending. 

Comment by David McClain on September 5, 2012 at 1:46pm

Tr ig.....Thank you.

Scylla....It helps, Scylla, it really does. Thanks for your words.

Asia....I was serious when I said it was the most important, to me, piece of writing I have ever done. I revisit it from time to time, just to be close to him as does his mother.

Comment by Kai on September 5, 2012 at 2:10pm

Oh, David.  Words seem so inadequate. 

Comment by Myriad on September 5, 2012 at 5:02pm

Beautiful.  Has to be saved.

Comment by Emily Conyngham on September 5, 2012 at 5:20pm

David, thank you for sharing this here and now. Thank you for not leaving it behind.  Thank you for trooping it out in dress colors with whirring wings and holding hands. I'm so sorry you have this story to tell. You have made it beautiful.

Comment by David McClain on September 5, 2012 at 6:32pm

Kai...words are all we have. Thank you for yours.

Rita....That journey, which I wrote about in the other place, was a spiritual experience for both Mel and myself.

Myriad...Of all my writings, this is the one thing I never want to lose.

Emily....I have left so very many things behind in my life but this will never be one of them.

Comment by alsoknownas on September 6, 2012 at 12:49pm

Salute...

Comment by anna1liese on September 6, 2012 at 1:01pm

Words like these ... of deepest love ...shared so deeply from such a giving heart ... are always ... wherever we are ... what it is ... that brings us ... helps us know that ... we are home.

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