Funny how a simple act of running can be so emotional. I only met Steven briefly a couple of times but he was a good friend to R and everyone around him. He has a son M’s age; they became instant friends when R and M traveled back to Virginia a couple of years ago for the homecoming of the friends he left in Iraq. I thought of the son he left behind, all of the years he has missed, and all of the years to come. R and his friends vowed to make sure his son always remembers him.
Even though my legs wanted me to stop a couple miles into my run, how could I? When only two years R couldn’t? When even now his foot still gives him trouble everyday yet he still is determined to run like he used to? When I have the freedom to leave my house at any time of the day and still know that I am safe in my own country with no worry of car bombs, civil war, genocide, or any other acts of violence that happen daily in other countries? How could I stop now?
For the past six years, my husband’s command remembers his friend Steven with a 10 mile run and a barbecue and though I am not there (nor can I run 10 miles yet) I still think of what Steven’s family must have gone through and what they go through every day, especially July 6 every year.
L’s birth two days later was a small distraction to the tragedy that had just occurred and I wonder what goes through the minds of R and his coworkers when they see her. I can only hope they see what I see. She is a bright-eyed beautiful girl who loves her father fiercely, who at the tender age of five has come to grips with her father’s job, and is a symbol of love, friendship, and how precious and fragile life really is.
This morning L changed out of her pajamas and decided to put on her Navy shirt. It made me smile and wonder what forces are at work in this vast and mysterious universe.