A second hand heart knows both love and loss.

By the time we were seated at Sam's grave enough time had gone by that I cried dry tears. I had used all my tears up. I bargained with God then, if He would take my little baby and give Sam back to me, I would for as long as I lived be devoted to Him. I bargained over and offering everything including my own life. Did God hear me? I think so, but He could see today and I couldn't.

I closed my eyes and Sam stood before me in uniform. Of all my memories, that is always the last one. He was going and I was staying. He was smiling but I couldn't smile back. Saying goodbye, trying not to cry for his sake. He passes through the barrier and turns and blows me a kiss, I blow one back and wave madly, then Sam is swallowed by a crowd of men wearing the same army uniform as he is. My mouth forms the word 'Sam' but it is a soundless call. I'm hesitant to drop my arm in case I spot him again. The memories rushed past as unstoppable as a train, inertia carrying them forward in the gravity of my mind. The letters and phone calls and care packages. I couldn't quite remember the sound of his voice anymore. He didn't get older in my memories either. I laughed another bitter laugh. The picture is hazy around the corners, the corners as dull as the pain. I am afraid of letting go. I am afraid I will forget completely.

I took the flag and the packet of letters we had exchanged. Did you know how much I cried for you while you were still alive Sam? You belong to the past Sam, I told myself harshly. The scary part is I answered myself and called upon my treacherous heart to agree or disagree with my brain. Nothing is mortal, there is no time in immortality. Sam belongs to the past, the present and the future. I remember my anger with God, the President, the military - it was a long list. I wanted someone to take responsibility for Sam's murder. It was murder, his enemies laid in the desert, camouflaged, waiting for his platoon to pass in front of them, intent on killing them. That's premeditated murder in any court in the world. I was angry with Sam for dying, simultaneously, rationally knowing I was not angry with Sam for dying, but for abandoning me.

There is so much healing the heart and the human spirit must do, before one can remember the joy his life brought and not only the searing pain. It was too slowly moving, the river of healing for me to recognize it. It happened while I was surviving and then when I was living again. It happened when I smiled again. Now I remember the joy of loving him as much as the pain of losing him. I turned slowly, taking in everything in my room for the last time. And then I walked into the hallway and down the stairs.

We arrived at our new home two hours later and parked behind a similar U-Haul to the one we had. Jagger jumped out excitedly and ran to the front door shouting.

"Bumpy! Bumpy! We're here!" I picked up Sam's flag and the letters and followed my son through the front door, Nick was telling Jagger and Chris to go to the back yard, which was massive. He told Jagger he saw some children playing just past the fence. The boys flew outside, eager to make friends. As far as they were concerned, their part of the moving was done.

Nick came over to me and lifted my chin to look in my eyes.

"Was it hard?" He asked, he is the most patient and tender man I know. I love him deeply and his love is like a lazy wave washing up on my shore. The tide rose around me and by the time I noticed the love of him, I couldn't live without it. I nodded.

"This is all I brought." I said showing him the things I carried.

"Where do you want to put it?"

"How about on one of the shelves in the library?" It was time I shared Sam.

"His medals?" Nick asked.

"Here in my bag."

"I was on the laptop for a bit this afternoon. I saw something strange. Do you know that there are veterans selling their medals on e-bay?" I was shocked, horrified.

"No!" I cried. "Why would anyone want to do that? They were bought with blood, if not theirs, then others!"

"They've run out of options, they have to ea

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