Fatherless or Not?

November 23, 2008

img00048

Sunday was a bitter sweet celebration for us.  Little Cooper turned two years old.  On the one hand it’s difficult to believe that it’s been two years since his birth… and also twenty-one months since his daddy while serving as an Army Combat Medic was killed by that Taliban Sniper.

If you haven’t yet read about Buddy here it is https://mssc54.wordpress.com/our-american-hero/  also, these are most of the things on the internet about him: https://mssc54.wordpress.com/buddy/

Early on in our “journey” things were dark and difficult.  Grief is a very strange thing.  This grief is completely different from any other I have experienced.

You see, most people don’t know that Buddy never met his father… not once.  He was so determined to be the daddy to little Cooper that he never had.  We are so glad that he was home for two weeks leave when baby Cooper was born.  Those two weeks are precious to all of us.  Buddy was kinda selfish with his little son.  It was difficult for most anyone else to get some “face time” with new born Cooper.  Buddy was feeding him, changing his diapers, getting up in the night (letting his bride rest) all of it.  One of my favorite pictures is of Buddy burping Cooper with an empty baby bottle on the coffee table in the foreground.

Initially, I was comsumed with hatred for “those Muslims terrorists”.  Honestly I allowed myself to fall in to that trap of hating all Muslims. 

I won’t go so far as to say that I am probably like “most” people but I’m probably like a lot of people.  I have to be on guard not to lump all people of a certain “group” (be it religious, race, ect.) into the same steriotypicle thought process.

Not all Muslims have hijacked their faith into a violant blood thirsty belief.  Not all whites have the loathsum beliefs as the skin-heads or the KKK.  Not all black men are drug abusing, gun toting thugs.

However, I will admit, I do still have to purposely… intentionally have to check my motive when I interact with these groups of individuals.  The problem I have is knowing where to draw the line on my and my family’s safety and being so tolerant and accepting that I put my family at risk.

In the end I have to rely on one thing.  Believe it or not I have to trust in my relationship with the Trinity.  As I “seek ye first the Kingdom of God” I MUST BELIEVE AND TRUST THAT HE IS FAITHFUL TOO NEVER LEAVE ME NOR FORSAKE ME!!

I can hear the thoughts of some of you.  Asking, “How can you say that when your God allowed your SIL, your twenty-three year old daughter’s husband, your three month old grandson’s daddy get killed.”

Admittedly, initially, this question has been very difficult for me to wrap my mind around.  It didn’t happen over night (or even a few weeks) but eventually I was “awakened” to the fact that God is God and man is man.  Man is inherently corrupt and violant in nature.  God is merciful, loving and all knowing.

God knew Buddy was going to be killed.  God knew that Alexis was going to be widowed at the age of twenty-three and left to raise their baby as a single mom.  God knew that baby Cooper was not going to have his biological daddy to raise him.

God also knew wha a remarkable family we are.  He knew that inspite of this tragic event we would look beyond the grief, that we would (ultimately) look to Him for our comfort and guidance.  God knew that this would draw us even closer, that this would force us to acknowledge the inner strength we each have and what amazing love and strenght we have as a family.  God knew that Alexis and little Cooper would buy a house in the same neighborhood as we live in.  God knew that we would be able to “input” into Cooper’s life regularly. 

God knew what tremendous heart ache, pain, anguish and yes even doubt this would bring into our lives.  However, He also knew when we (eventually) came out of the fog of our individual and collective depression and grief that we would be a beacon of light for each other.  But most of all our Lord knew (and stil knows) that we will rely on Him to guide us down the path of healing, health, love and acceptance.

Yes my precious little two year old grand son is without his biological father but he does have all of us but most importantly little Cooper has the most important father.  His Eternal Father, the One Who created him will never leave him nor forsake him!

Be blessed in the knowledge that no matter the tragedy, no matter the heart break, no matter the challenge, none of us are alone in that for the Savior has sent to us the Helper, the Comforter.


Killed in Action – Our American Hero

September 5, 2008

100_0599I’ve been trying to figure how to post the photo of our entire family taken three months before Buddy (on left holding baby Cooper) was killed in Afghanistan.

If you don’t know his story you can look at my previous posts on “Death at the front door” (Parts 1 thru 3)

Our Family Photo100_05991

Have you ever wondered why it is when anyone dies it is always said of them “They were a good person”.  Well if you Google “Sgt Buddy James Hughie” you will see  his official story and know that he really was more than a “good person”.

What you will see in the official accounts of our American Hero’s death is that he “left his position of cover” to render aid to wounded soldiers.

What you won’t see in the official accounts is the reason Buddy left his position of safety.  I personally spoke with two different army officers under two separate commands who were there that day.  In fact one of the officers was in the other up-armored Humvee that recovered Buddy’s body after he was killed by a Taliban sniper.

Buddy and two other soldiers, while traveling in an up-armored Humvee,  were embedded with the Afghan Army Nationals on a patrol one morning.  There were two Humvees on that patrol.  The one Buddy and the others were in was at the head of the column with the ANAs.   The other Humvee was that of the 10th Mountain Division in the middle of the column.  That Humvee was the one with all of the communication antennas on it.  Which in military terms means “Hey, we are the target.  If you knock us out nobody will be able to communicate.”  The ambush began by a rocket propelled grenade being fired at the “communication platform”.  At that point all hell broke loose.  The ANAs dismounted their vehicles (they travel around in Ford Rangers) and went up the mountain after the Taliban insurgents.  Upon seeing wounded ANAs Buddy (being the medic) left the safety of the Humvee and covered 300 meters of open ground to get to the wounded soldiers.  He was killed by a single shot just above the flack jacket in the arm pit.  The trajectory of the projectile was from up high to down low.  The bullet pierced Buddy’s heart killing him instantly.  Buddy was credited with saving two ANAs before making the ultimate sacrifice.

According to my “off the record” sources… remember from two different army officers, in two different units, at two separate times… the reason Buddy got out of the Humvee and decided he had to cover those 300 meters, under constant fire, to get to those wounded ANA soldiers is that the other two American soldiers that were in the Humvee with Buddy REFUSED TO ENGAGE THE ENEMY!  That’s right they “chickened out” to put it nicely.

I asked the officer in Buddy’s command what happened to the Sgt in charge of the Humvee that refused to engage the enemy.  He told me that he was sent back to his unit.  I asked if there had been any disciplinary action and he had the nerve to say to me “Well Mr. C, you know… he has to live with that for the rest of his life”.  Wow, no kidding.   He has to live with the fact that he is home every day snuggling up with his wife, playing with his children and living his life.  You know what Lt. WE HAVE TO LIVE WITH IT EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES TOO!!!

So what is going to happen the next time these guys come under fire and freeze up?  What happens to the next husband and father?  How many more widows will it take before this guy is held accountable?

Of course I haven’t told my daughter about this… she thinks they are all her friend.  And since I am not Buddy’s “next of kin” I can not be granted access to any official reports.

It seems to me that what Buddy did in the face of death deserves more than two Bronze Star with Valor medals and a Purple Heart medal.  Buddy could have turned back.  He could have crawled back into that up-armored Humvee… toO safety.  After all he only had three months until he would rotate home to his wife and 3 month old baby son.  Seems to me he earned more than that.  But that’s just me not understanding how the army does things.

It’s been nearly nineteen months since my 23 year old daughter was widowed and little Cooper’s daddy was killed.  On one level it seems like just last night.  On another, it seems so, so long ago.  We miss Buddy terribly.