Monday, September 18, 2006

When I Think That No One Notices

I don't know about you, but sometimes I wonder if my posts ever matter. I know it is a great to share with others and to have some communication time and to learn more about the uses of vinegar, but in the whole scheme of things, does it matter to anyone at all?

We comment and communicate, agree and disagree, roll our eyes and cheer. But do any of my words really cut deep or touch the heart of another soul in this blogging world?

And just as I ponder this quandry, God answers an emphatic yes. If I were to quit posting today, I would say that it served its purpose. And I would be completely satisfied, especially as I recall a very special email from an unknown woman halfway around the world. How often do you get to hear that what you said meant something - I mean really meant something - to another soul?

I do believe that we ought to say thanks to those who are brave enough, committed enough and valiant enough to protect us from the force of others and to ensure our daily freedoms. It is a duty and an honor that should never be taken for granted. Back in July, I paid tribute to two of our fallen heros - Private 1st Class Brian J. Bradbury and Staff Sgt. Heathe N. Craig, each who perished in the same instant in Afghanistan. Imagine my surprise when I received word from Judy Craig, the wife of Heathe Craig, thanking me for remembering her husband.

Thank you sooo much for this post. My name is Judith and I am SSG Heathe Craig's wife. I stumbled over your page today and I am happy to find pages like yours, to show my children when they get older. So they can see what a great guy their Dad was. Thank you for that! Judy

I have to tell you - I had tears in my eyes about that small remark. What got me was the part about her children. It really brought it home as to what all of them will be missing as the years roll by.

I responded to her email and asked her if she could give us a clearer picture of who Heathe was, what made him tick, what kind of person he was to those around him. She, with great enthusiasm, quickly responded and exclaimed that she would love to talk about Heathe. So without further ado, I turn this post over to Judy, the woman who loved the man behind the hero...

All right here I go.....

Heathe and I met in Vilseck, Germany. He was stationed here. We used to go to the same cafe on the weekends. I knew him for only 3 weeks when he was suppoce to take me out on our first date. It was on the last night before he was to leave for Kosovo for the first time. I drove 1 hour to pick him up from post, and he never showed up. So time passed, and after 6 months, I went back to the cafe and the first thing I saw there was Heathe again. It was his birthday and the day he just arrived back after the deployment. June 11th, 2000. After that we where inseparable...

We got married on June 15th 2001. It was one of the best days that had ever happened to me. Not just because I got married, but also I was pregnant with our first son, Jonas. I am German, so we had a German-American wedding. It was wonderful. I could have never pictured our day better than that.

On December 5th 2001, Jonas was born. That's when Heathe decided he didn't want to be an Infantry Medic anymore. All he ever got to do was deploy and not really help patients. So he signed up for a three-month class two hours away from where we lived, and he was selected two weeks after Jonas was born. So he went to Wuerzburg for three months. He learned how to give birth, how to do casts and a whole lot of other things.

Shortly after he got back, he got deployed to Kosovo again. After that, we got stationed in Ft. Leavenworth, KS. He thought it might be better and safer now, because he got to work in the USDB (Prison). He was never so unhappy. All he got to do was sit in an Aid Station and give shots. That's when he decided he wanted to get back out there and help fellow soldiers.

So he signed up for Flight Medic school. They took him right in. So he went to school, and after a couple of weeks of training, he passed the class. That's when we got back to Germany. He really liked working with the 159th Med EVAC. He would sign up for training flights, just so he could fly. He really loved the job. He had to go away for weeks at a time, but he was really happy.

We got pregnant with Leona our daughter one year before he had to leave for Afghanistan. I have never seen him so scared (about having a girl). It was cute. All the patients he's seen and all the places he's been, he was never as scared as having a little Baby Girl. So on July 2nd, 2006, Leona was born.

Leona was 7 month old when Heathe left for Afghanistan. It was February 4th 2006 - the hardest day for all of us, especially Jonas. He was sooo sad. When Heathe got to Afghanistan, we stayed in touch via phone, emails and web cam. It was working okay. The kids got to see him, and I think that made it a little easier.

Heathe told me how he liked working with all the pilots, and then on the side, he mentioned how he put in the paperwork to become a warrant officer. He could never get enough, always wanted to do bigger things. That's what made him who he was....

The day before he passed, he was playing peek-a-boo with the kids on the webcam. They had so much fun. I talked to him one more time the afternoon of the day he died, and that was the last time we've ever heard of him again.

Heathe was the best dad I could have pictured for my kids. The day he got released from the hospital (because he had to have back surgery), the first thing he wanted to do -against doctors advice ;-) - was wrestle with Jonas. He used to wrestle at high school and was always looking around for options where he could wrestle again. There were many times he wrestled his colleagues or even his boss. I hate to sound arrogant, but Heathe always won.

He never left out a chance to play football, soccer, baseball, to wrestle, to run, to excersice or to clean his car. As I think back mowing the lawn, washing his car and his kids must have been the most important things to him.

He left nothing but great memories. Even when he died, he made that special too. Some people might think that's wrong to say, but Heathe couldn't have died a more appropriate way than doing what he loved - being a Medic!

I am happy to have been his wife and to have two gorgeous kids with him... Thank you, Heathe!!!

(Hey Shalee,

I hope that this is what you've been hoping for. I tried to keep it as short as possible, but there is soooo much I want to tell about him. It almost feels like its never enough.)

So tell me what you think......

Judy, from your words it's evident that you loved Heathe and respected him for the man he was. All I can say is thank you for sharing the side of Heathe that we could never know, for letting us see the man inside the uniform. And I'm sure that you're right. There will probably not be enough chances/times to tell what Heathe meant to you, nor will there be enough thanks for his service and efforts for freedom.


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