I had hoped that the ramp ceremony I attended a week ago would be the last one, then my worst fear came true. Ron, my husband knows a lot of guys here. A lot of the same guys he was here with are here again. I as well have come to know a lot of guys serving here, and you’re biggest wish for all of them, especially those outside the wire are that they will “stay safe”, a departure I always leave with them till the next time I see them, one I always left with my husband before saying goodbye to him on the phone, or through emails.
This is the same departure I had given to Shawn almost two weeks ago. I had seen him at New Canada House when I went up for a little relaxation, change of pace, and music from DJ Dusty. He was outside waiting for some friends and I thought it friendly of myself to take a seat and say hello. He was reeling, perturbed by a recent situation earlier in the day while outside. I listened and even giggled, the story while quite irritating to him and rightfully so, was still a little on the entertaining and amusing side to myself. He after all had gotten over it for the most part from what I can tell and was ready to sit with the boys and have a cigar, being back safe in KAF. I didn’t overstay my welcome, I said my hello’s, asked how Lisa, his wife and the girls were doing, etc. I at this point can’t remember half the conversation, although now I wish I could.
Today was the hardest day of my tour. Canadian soldiers were coming into the store rather bleak, one commented on the fact that it was a tough day for soldiers in Kandahar. With news of a comms (communications) lockdown, that could only mean one thing. Not long after I had learned that three soldiers were killed, all of them Engineers from 1CER in Edmonton, a scary thought considering we had just come from Edmonton only a couple years prior and had been there for five years.
I didn’t have to wait for long to find out one of the names of the soldiers killed. I had asked one of Ron’s friends’ who had come into the store. He clearly told me that one of the guys was on their last roto with them, a soldier by the name of Shawn Eades. I almost immediately excused myself; it was like a crushing blow to the chest.
You see Lisa and I knew each other from back in Edmonton my last year there. During the time that our husbands were in Afghanistan together, we were part of a group of women, “The Yellow Ribbon Girls” that had gathered to provide support to one another over the course of the six months that our husbands tour would see them overseas. We attended birthday dinners, Christmas dinners and secret Santa gift exchanges, coffee at each other’s houses, and martini nights. We all became very tight, and during that time saw one another through some very tough and trying times. Not all our husbands came home the same way they had left, although thankfully all came home. This time regretfully, would be different for Lisa.
Now only nine hours, I find myself sitting here, waiting; waiting for the comms lockdown to be lifted so that I can be reunited with the outside world. Waiting so I can try and get in contact with my husband to see how he is dealing with the news, waiting so that I can email Lisa, although I know she probably won’t get my email right away and probably for quite a many days away, waiting to read the news and find the names of the other two soldiers, and finally waiting to be able to post this little piece so that all of you reading can know that we have yet again lost another brave soldier, and that I am still here, and although a little changed and a little broken at the moment, am still thankful for my time in Afghanistan.
Thank you Shawn. Or should I say CHIMO.