And all of a sudden, it's real

First off, thanks to everyone for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers. They mean a lot.

I have not been able to stop thinking about this all day. I keep reliving it over and over in my head. I can practically see the attack as it occurred.

The phone rings at 7:41AM, Stryker. I can tell something isn't right. He says in this quiet, sensitive voice, "Did you get word?" Me, "No...what" Him, "*G*'s dead." I said, in a horrified voice with my heart in my throat, "No!"

I held it together for him, listened, tried to comfort him, and when we hung up the tears just came. This is the first fatality that has really hit close to home for me. Yes, they have had other fatalities in the brigade, but I didn't know them, so I was still able to keep the distance.

I know this guy, he held Fuzz, his wife and I have been emailing each other throughout this deployment. He was just home on R&R in July, got back and two weeks later he's gone. How horrific.

My heart is breaking for so many people. His wife, all I can think about is his wife. Is she ok? What is she doing right now? What can I do for her? The guy who was working on him screaming at him to hang in there. Because I know him, I feel so much...I can hear him screaming at *G*, I can see the look on his face. Oh my God, I know all of these guys.

Stryker was understandably upset when I talked to him this morning. He feels guilty that *G* took his old job and now he's gone. He feels grateful that he's ok. And then he feels guilty that he feels grateful. He's afraid that *G*'s wife is going to blame him. He also feels guilty that he hasn't been telling me much. At one point in our conversation he said, "I haven't been telling you a lot of what's going on here, and I'm sorry." Baby, do not worry about that. I know that you are just trying to keep me from worrying, and it doesn't upset me.

Now they turn around 2 or 3 days later and have to just jump back in. How can they do that? How can they be expected to do that? I am amazed by the strength and the capabilities of our military men and women. I am so proud of them. Who else could go out there after losing someone you've known and seen almost every day of your life for five years, and get the job done? I'm in awe. I know that they will probably carry this loss with them for the rest of their lives and it's not going to be easy.

We truly have some of the strongest, finest people out there. Here's to you *G*, here's to you.