Friday, December 30, 2005


Just a day away from 2006, can you believe it?  I sure can't.  This past year has slipped by mercifully swiftly.  I think I have cried more this year than in all of my other years combined.  Tears of pride when you graduated from boot camp.  Tears of happiness when I learned of your son, my grandbaby Zachary, and then tears of fear.

Your brothers and sisters are keeping me busy.  They've become quite a handful.  Not so much Zack, you know him... he can pretty much take care of himself, but the others... wooooo...eeeeee!  I know my parents are rejoicing in the sweetness of revenge!

Its been a couple of days since you've checked your email.  I hope that everything is okay.  I always worry when you don't read your email.  Usually a week later I get an email from you that starts out 'I'm okay but....'  I hate emails like that.  I keep thinking I'll get used to them, but then in my heart I know I won't... and I hope I won't.  I don't want to be besensitized by this war.  I want to feel every loss and I want every loss to hurt.  Thats what makes it worth it.  If it no longer hurts then it no longer matters.  Remember that Son.  Always remember that.

I have to work tomorrow night until 11:45pm.  How screwed up is that?  I'll ring in the New Years stuck at the railroad crossing.  Whooopee!  I'd rather be at home with the family and you.  But life isn't always about what we'd rather be, most times is about what we need to be.  Remember that also.

And remember that we miss and love you... ALWAYS.

Love Mom

Sunday, December 25, 2005


Dear Gabe,

Merry Christmas.  It was strange not having you here.  It helped that you were able to call.  That really made my day.  The kids all loved their presents from you.  I wish you could have been here to see their faces.  You certainly know them very well, your gifts made them all very VERY happy.  We would have given it all up for one minute with you, but this was a nice second-best.  Thank you.

So whats next?  In a week it will be 2006.  Who knows whats in store for us then.  I have no resolutions, no promises to make and break.  I just want you home safe. 

Miss you, love you always.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Life without Bandie

Dear Gabe,

Its still hard to believe that little Bandie is gone.  I pass her cage every day and for a brief second I find myself getting ready to call her out... and then I remember.  She no longer wiggles out from her pile of covers in the little igloo to greet me.  She no longer runs down to her little litter box to do her duty so that I will let her out to play.  She no longer nips at my ankles or begs for Fruit Loops.  She never made any noise, and yet the place seems so quiet now that she is gone.

There is still snow on the ground, but it melts a little more with each passing day.  It doesn't look like we'll have a white Christmas.  The important thing is that we will have a Christmas.  Wish you could share it with us.  A couple of the gifts you sent are already under the tree.  The kids are so excited. 

I better get my butt moving.  I still need to run to the post office to get Little Zachary's presents in the mail.  That will probably take a couple of hours out of my day.... ugh, why do I always wait until the last minute? 

Take care, as usual.  Miss you, and love you always.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Dear Gabe,

Tomorrow is election day in Iraq.  Actually I suppose its already tomorrow in Iraq now.  There are many people, many bad people, who do not want these elections to happen.  Please be extra careful as you drive around.

I have not been keeping up with the news in your part of the world for the most part, but yesterday I pulled up a link for The Final Roll Call.  My mistake.  It said that 4 more soldiers had lost their lives.  And naturally I worried because it had just happened and there were no specifics pending the notification of next of kin (how I've come to hate that phrase).  I fretted until I saw that you had read my latest email this morning.  I try not to worry, really I do, but its so hard.  With each email I receive I am grateful that you have survived another day, and yet somewhere in another part of the country a mother mourns the loss of her son or daughter and my heart breaks for them.

Folks here in town ask about you all the time.  I hope you don't get tired of hearing this, I know I don't... but they all send their love and prayers.  Miss Mary Ann says a prayer with me every time we meet.  Miss Carmen shares the lessons she learned from her brother's experiences in Desert Storm, Miss Roxy says prayers each night for you.  Your friends stop by at the store to get news of you.  You once told me that you didn't feel comfortable with the celebrity status that you felt but Gabe, people don't see you as a celebrity.  They see you as a patriot and a hero, and they are so proud of you and the choices you have made with your life.  And as your mother I am so very proud of you as well, you and your buddies, and all of the service men and women, and what they are doing for the future of the world.

It doesn't feel like Christmas is just 2 weeks away.  I've had a hard time getting into the spirit, which is weird since this is my favorite time of the year.  We've had the tree in the house for 5 days and it still stands undecorated.  But don't worry.  I'm going to get the Christmas spirit going in this house even if I have to beat everyone with it.  Tomorrow we will decorate the tree and sing caroles and drink eggnog like we do every year.  I wish that you could be here with us in body and soul, but since you can't, you will be here in our thoughts.

Miss you so much my son.  Love you always,


Friday, December 9, 2005


Dear Gabe,

As usual, I was ecstatic when I saw your address in the sender's column of my mailbox.  And as is becoming a sad trend, my joy was short lived.  Another loss.  I am so sorry.  Sorry seems to be so inadequate at times such as this and yet the English vocabulary doesn't seem to have a more suitable alternative that would express how I feel for the soldier, his family, and for you as you must now bear the grief of his death.  I hope your injured friend and the others have a speedy recovery.  I am so grateful they were spared.  Again, inadequate vocabulary to convey my feelings.  Honestly, selfishly I am so relieved that YOU have been spared.

So you went off-roading in a sewage ditch.  Hahahaha!  Sounds like 'fun'.  I'll bet you think twice before driving through a ditch again.  I hope you at least kept your mouth shut as the fragrant spray doused your vehicle.   Please shower well and put on a clean uniform before coming home.  Actually, now that I think about it I'd welcome you home no matter what you smelled like, but clean would definitely be preferrable.

The sun is out today although its still pretty darn cold.  Dad has the day off as well so I'm trying to talk him into driving me out to get some pictures.  You know how beautiful the mountains are in the sunshine when they have snow on them.  Wish me luck getting him out of the warmth of the house.  Brrrrrrr....

Stay safe son.  And stay out of those pee-puddles.  Miss you, love you.


Thursday, December 8, 2005


Dear Gabe,

I just thought I'd share this picture with you.  This tree is on Fort Carson across from some heat vent.  The steam froze on to everything it touched.  Last night the temperature dipped to -13.  Its not as cold today, and should get up to 34 degrees by this afternoon, but brrrrrrrr!

We're going to try to go up to the mountains this Saturday to cut down a tree.  That may change though because they're calling for more snow by the weekend.  Its weird, it just doesn't really feel like the holidays yet.  Do you realize this will be the first Christmas EVER that our family has not been together?

The bighorn sheep that was spotted on Fort Carson finally died of natural causes.  I'm still waiting to hear the final measurements but the guys at Range Control and the Wildlife office suspect that it will be a record holder.  I sure wish I could have seen it before it died, that must have been quite a sight. 

Well, I'm going to go out and see if I can get a few more winter pictures.  And yes, I will be wearing better gloves than I wore yesterday.  My fingers felt like someone had taken a hammer to them after only about a half hour outside taking those pictures of the trees.  I don't remember ever feeling that much pain before... not during the birth of my 5 children, not when I fell face first into the cactus this summer... NEVER!  I'm probably just getting whimpy in my old age.

So anyhow, take care, stay safe, watch out for yourself and those with you.  Miss you and love you always,


Wednesday, December 7, 2005


Dear Gabe,

I love this picture of you and your Grandfather Ben at the Arizona Memorial in July of 2003.  At that point in time you had no serious intentions of joining the military but there was no denying your honor and respect for those of the armed forces and those who had given their lives for their country.  Now I gaze upon this picture and in it I see the past and the future of this great nation.  One who served and still volunteers, and one who would eventually step forward and take up the reins that have been relinquished by his father, his grandfathers and fellow countrymen, paying their respects to those who died in the service and defence of their country.  I am so proud of you my son.  So very proud.

Miss you, Love you always.


Monday, December 5, 2005



Sorry we can't be there to celebrate with you, but we're thinking of you all the time.  Can't wait to see you.  Love Grandma, and Grandpa, and all of your uncles and aunties!  Hope all of your wishes come true.  Hope our wishes come true so you can come and see us real soon!