I had never cried harder on the phone with Clay than I did yesterday. In fact, up until 11:00am yesterday, I had managed to refrain from crying while on the phone with Clay during the deployment.
A friend of my husband and a friend loved by all ‘the girls,’ gave his all on Sunday in the Nuristan Province of Afghanistan. Describe by my husband as “the most intelligent and well-liked Lieutenant in the unit,” Lt. Ben Keating volunteered to go on a dangerous mission and made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
Moments after I made the previous post about the dreaded phone call, my friend Jackie called and informed me through her tears that Ben was the reason that the call chain was activated mid-morning. I instantly thought back to Saturday evening when Jackie and I were ice-skating side by side talking about how we are in the homestretch of the deployment but the risk is still ever present. All I could think about is how awful for Ben to pay the ultimate price to remind everybody of the dangers of war and the risk involved.
Still at work, I cried as silently as I could in my office while letting the news soak in. I was numbingly searching the Internet for news of the incident when my cell phone rang with an unrecognizable number. As soon as I said hello and heard the delay of Clay’s voice, I fell apart. I let 10 months of built up fear, worry, dread, terror, and anxiety go. 10 months of ‘staying strong’ and ‘keeping my chin up’ flew out the window as I repeatedly told my husband how much I miss him, how much I love him, and how much I just want him safe and home. I selfishly cried for myself because Clay and Ben are both XO’s and Ben’s death was a reminder that no job is 100% safe when at war; I selfishly cried happy tears because I was able to talk to my husband; and I cried tears of guilt because Ben’s parents were not able to talk to their beloved son. I also cried for the seven other men of 3-71 Cavalry who lost their lives as part of Operation Enduring Freedom VII.
“…all gave some, some gave all…”
The Brave Men of 3-71 Cavalry