My 23 year old son-in-law died today.
He was a US Army Ranger, on his 5th deployment to the Middle East. He sustained a critical head injury on a mission last week. Once the field surgeons stabilized him, he was flown to Germany. My daughter (his wife) and their 9 month old son flew, together with his parents and sister, to be with him.
The injury resulted in brain death.
Carrying on his heroic nature, his last act was to donate life-saving organs so that others might live to see their spouses, children and parents another day. His final gift saved seven people, including children.
They're all flying home soon. My daughter's last comment to me, before leaving the States, was that she wasn't coming back until she had Joel with her.
I cannot fathom what my daughter is feeling as a "widow," not yet 21 years old. I mourn that my grandson will never know his father, except through old pictures and other people's memories. I empathize so deeply with his parents and siblings and other family... I considered him "one of mine." I find myself cursing the bright blue, Spring sky for daring to be so cheerful today. It should be raining buckets, with keening winds, black clouds and the suffocating sense of loss I am feeling right now.
Before today, I would have disbelieved the human heart could shatter into so many pieces, in just a millisecond.
Joel ~ Son. Brother. Grandson. Nephew. Cousin. Husband. Father. Son-in-Law. Brother-in-Law. Brother in Arms. Friend. Hero. We love you.