Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Catching Up with a Lot of Friends

If you think driving and talking on a cell phone is an indication that the end of the world is at hand, stop reading here.

I drive and talk on the phone. I have been doing this awful thing since 1993 when I had a five-watt cell phone powered by a lead-acid battery that was as big as a lunch box. When I talk on the the phone on a highway, I drive slower and keep right. When I am not talking, I drive faster.

Anyway, I drove to the Wake for my friend's baby girl and talked to friends nearly all the way there and back--3 1/2 hours each way. I thought it would be good to be distracted rather than think too hard about how terrible it is to lose a child. The gathering at the funeral home was sad for everyone. I realized I had never been to a funeral for an infant. Little Candace looked more like a doll than a person, peaceful and perfect. Her father is a generally positive guy and was his usual affable self, putting others at ease and giving a kind reassuring word to the sad people around him. He knows the sadness will hit him tomorrow at the actual funeral, but today he is holding up well.

On the way back I called more friends and made plans for visits before I go back to Iraq. I still can't begin to think how difficult it is to deal with losing a child. I also remembered the last Echo Company family funeral I attended. The father of one of our soldiers died suddenly last summer. The funeral happened to be on our drill weekend. There were 70 soldiers at that drill. More than 50 attended the funeral service. I know if they were not 6000 miles away everyone in Echo would have been at the service and helping the family to recover from their loss.