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My son

My son

By Elly

My son's first word was "Daddy". He wears khaki trousers and prefers playing with your medals to his toys. And every day he asks me when his Daddy's coming home. I don't know how to tell him that you never will. Yesterday he asked me what you looked like, and I cried for two hours straight, because he couldn't remember your face.

 I realised that I hate the man you died saving, who turned up on my doorstop on Sunday two months ago with scars, some flowers, and an apologetic face. A young man, no more than a boy really, but one day he'll fall in love, have a girlfriend, get a job, bring up his children, grow old, retire, meet his grandchildren... Whereas you never will. And I have to somehow find a way to survive without you. Was it so much to ask, an ordinary, boring life for the man iI love? We don't know what we have until it's gone. They tell me I should be proud, and I am, I really am, but I'd switch your medals for you any day. The reality is, I'd trade the doorstep man for you. I appreciate your bravery and I know someone has to be a hero, but why did it have to be you? Why couldn't someone else have died, a meaningless death in foreign soil, so far away from home?  The selfish reality is, I'd rather it was someone else, anyone else, than the people I love. Hundreds of people can die as long as you can live. Sure, I'd mourn them. We'd talk in hushed voices about the devastation caused. But, at the end of the day, they'd just be faces on the news. There is no comparison between a face and you.

Now I watch our son playing soldiers in the park, with tin hats and toy guns, and I can't help wondering, is he next? I couldn't stand to lose him too, he's all I have left.

All I have left of you.

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16 Dec, 2012
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