My brother Matt is 21 years old. He graduated from UCLA with 4 year bachelors degree in science. He got engaged to his college sweetheart. He had a baby boy who is about to turn 10 months old. He enlisted in the Army after he graduated. He completed all his training and was assigned an 11B Infantryman. At 21 years old, my brother is in Afghanistan today. He hopefully comes home in January 2013. Today I flew to Seattle to see him off.
My brother and I had a rough past. We always fought when we were older and my mistakes left us barely speaking. We still haven’t healed these old wounds, but it really makes me realize that no matter what.. we’re brothers. I mean I love my older brother. He’s the only thing I have left in this world except for Lucas.
We didn’t expect Matt to be deployed so soon. His son, Finn, turns 1 year old in October. His first birthday. Matt won’t be there though. Matt and his fiancee Leah were going to get married in November. The date had to be changed. Finn’s first real Christmas in December. Matt won’t be there. It just started to hit me, that our soldiers give up so much for this country. They sacrifice everything. I’ve never known someone close to me that was in the Military. My friend’s mom and dad were both in the Army. Luckily, her mom retired to raise her and her brother. I couldn’t imagine a family who has no contact with their soldier or who has to wait months or weeks to hear from them. I flew to Seattle today and it was a bit spontaneous. I barely made my flight. I got signed on JBLM and Matt and I just talked. For the first time since I was 16. A real talk. About life. About family. The important things. I told him how much I hated him leaving. I reminded him about the two JBLM soldiers that recently died in Afghanistan. Two soldiers in the same place where Matt will be.
A little while ago I walked Matt to his terminal. I gave him 4 things.
1) A picture of Lucas and I
2) A picture of Leah, Finn, and him.
3) The gold chain cross that he gave to our little 5 year old brother P at his funeral. I took it out of his casket when he wasn’t looking and kept it because I knew that Matt would need it later on. When I gave that cross to him both Matt and I just cried for a good while. Just standing there hugging each other.
4) A bear. A pre-recorded bear with Finn’s voice singing. With Leah’s laugh. With Lucas saying how proud he is. And with me saying nothing, as I couldn’t bring myself to say anything.
I’m shutting down for the night. My plane back to OC will be in soon, and I’m sitting at Starbucks in the Seattle Airport bawling my eyes out.
Rest In Peace to the JBLM soldiers that passed away.
Matt, I know you will serve us well. Make us proud.
I love you.