We met with our CAO today and got your final casualty report. Your date of death is officially May 29th which means I need to figure out how to get the date changed on your tombstone. It also reported that it was a “non-hostile accident”. The full investigation is yet to come, but I feel a bit angry that you were lost halfway around the world in an “accident”. It makes it seem so insignificant, yet it is the most significant thing in my life. Who is responsible for the accident? Will I ever know the details or will it just be that my son is dead because of an accident? The guys who were with you say they are fighting this because they remember being fired upon with gun-fire and mortar. I’m not sure “final” can be changed.

Every day I think of you trapped under that helicopter for hours, face down in the dirt and unable to move. I pray that you died instantly. I can’t bear the thought of you being trapped and aware of what was happening. My heart can’t take that, so I have to trust that it was quick as the guys in the field report. As a mom, it might always be in the back of my mind haunting me no matter what I learn. I would have done anything to protect you, but I couldn’t. I would trade places with you, but I can’t. Just know my boy that you will always be the missing light in my world. It’s just a little darker without you.

Oh Jake, if I had known I would get to keep you for only 22 years, I would have squeezed you more, taught you more, forced you to hug me more, talked with you more, spent more time with you… I would have done everything more except love you more because that is just not possible. You did always know how much I love you, didn’t you? I don’t think you ever doubted it for even one day. At least I accomplished that. I did good.