I believe nothing I ever eat will compare to how my mom made it. My mom was the best cook, the best doctor, the best teacher and my best friend. My mom always knew what was best for me and my life was easier when she was here. I say “was”, because in 2001 my mom lost her fight to cancer.
I was going through Ranger school when I first learned of the news. I will never forget the day. I was in ranger class 4-00 and the class had just entered the second phase of the school. We were in Dahlonega Georgia in the middle of winter. It had snowed recently and everything was a beautiful pure white. Everything that is except for our weary, dirty camouflaged bodies. I was going through the Army’s premier leadership school and could not for the life of me understand why I had to put on green face paint in winter time. It seemed to me to be the dumbest thing ever.
I was not in a graded leadership position that day so my stress level was not that high. My only job was to not fall asleep and follow the guy in front of me. My squad was preparing for the mission when I will never forget what I heard next. The ranger instructors had radios that were used for communicating with the headquarters unit. The only thing that I ever heard come out of them was other instructors requesting head counts of students. On this day I heard my roster number, 423.
The ranger instructor called out loud, ranger 423 to the front. My first impulse was that I was going in to a graded leadership position. But, when they told me I had a Red Cross phone call, a graded leadership position seemed the better of the two. I asked the ranger instructor to double check the roster number; there was no way it was for me. You always here stories of family members that call the Red Cross number looking for their son because they have not heard from them in a while. I knew this call was not for me, I had told everyone where I was and what I was doing. Again the sound came from the radio, 423.
In ranger school you do everything with a ranger buddy. I was never alone for five months. I always had someone with me, even when I went to the bathroom. But, I made this walk back to the hooch alone. It was the most disturbing feeling in the world. The thoughts rushed through my head of who could be sick, who could be hurt, would I have to leave the hardest school in the army after completing the first phase, would my ranger friends understand that I didn’t quit that I had a real emergency. All these thoughts ran through my head as I picked up the phone and answered with the most assured hello I could muster.
“Hi son, how are you?” were the words that were spoken to me in the most familiar voice I knew. Time seemed to stand still as I heard my mom tell me she had cancer. My mom told me not to worry that everything was going to be ok that they had caught it in time and she was starting treatment. I wanted to go home, but I wanted to be strong for my mom. I remember telling her I loved her and that everything was going to be ok, and that I would see her soon. That is the last thing I remember about ranger school.
My mom and step-dad flew out to see me on graduation day and I could tell that my mom was sick. I was able to see my mom in a coherent state for a little while, before the doctors had to insert a morphine pouch into her to subside the pain. I could not bare to see my mom in this state. My mom was my cook, my doctor and my best friend and I could do nothing for her. I love my mom. I hate cancer. This I believe.
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