I don't remember much about my dad he died when I was pretty young. Ma says he died over seas and a lot of people are alive because of him but she still misses him, I wish I remembered him enough to miss him as much as she does.
I was going through some old photos with Ma today, I found a box in the back that we didn't open yet. There was an old picture of mom, dad, our dog and me. We were all in our back yard my dad had me in his arms and in his uniform...we looked so much a like even then. Well at least that's what mom said.
I guess that box I found the other day was all the pictures and some other things that mom kept of dad's before he died. Me and Ma looked through it it was full of pictures of them when they were dating and their wedding and things like that. There were also a lot of letters from dad. There was one that wasn't open but mom would't let me open it. We found his old harmonica and beret. "Oh I remember these." Mom said holding them close to her chest "Your father would always let you wear this around the house when he'd get off from work. He always had such a big smile when he'd see you crawl around with it on. He'd always say 'one of these days you might be wearing one of your own, Jason'" She told he as her hands clutched the beret. He face wore a sad smile as she told the story. "You know Jason...I'm sure your father would have wanted you to have this." She told me as handed me the old worn harmonica case. "It's an old family heirloom it first belonged to your great great uncle who fought in world war one. He passed it on to your great granddad who passed it on to your father's father and he gave it to your dad..." I could already hear her voice start to shake and see her eyes start to water. "And I'm sure he would have been so happy to give it you Jason." She finished as she began to cry. I wrapped my arms around her and hugged her tight as I started to cry a bit myself "Thank you mom."
That night I think mom cried herself to sleep that box must of been packed away for so long but since we found it mom seems happier and we talk about dad more often now, She's even set up a memorial for him in the den above the fireplace. She tells me almost everyday how much I remind her of dad more and more. "I'm serious don't they look so much a like..." I overhear her tell my aunt in the living room as I come home from school. "He really does." I hear my aunt say with a sigh. "How long has it been Krystin almost fourteen years now." There's a long pause that hung heavy in the air. "Yes it'll be about fourteen years." "I still miss him." my aunt says looking to the memorial above the fireplace. His beret right in the center, the picture of us altogether on one side and another of dad in his Service Blues saluting the flag on the other. "I miss him too." Mom says. "I was thinking about finally going to visit his grave again." "You should me and Mom go and see him whenever she visits." I try to sneak by without them hearing me feeling guilty for having eavesdropped on too much of their conversation. "Well speak of the devil." Damn it. They spot me just before I get to the stairs. "Come say hello to your aunt." one of them says as I set my bag down next the the stairs and head in to the den. "Hi aunt Courtney." I say leaning in to give her a hug and a kiss on the cheek before slouching down on the couch next to mom. We talk about all the normal things how's school is going, how my cousins are. "So how's he been with the girls?" my aunt asks I immediately start to blush and slouch even more into the couch. "Oh I think he gets along much better than his father did. I mean Sean was always handsome and the perfect gentleman but he was always so shy." "Oh I know exactly what you mean." I sink lower and lower into the couch until I'm nearly part of the cushion I'm sitting on. "I think he gets that from me." "Ugh ma come on." I say with a sigh She ignores me and keeps going "And I think there's something else he got from his dad too if you know what I mean." "Oh my god mom please stop." I say covering my hands with my face "Oh I think I do, our older sister sometimes would pick on Sean about his big feet and would always say that he'd make some girl very happy one day." My aunt told her and they both laughed as I looked down at my feet noticing for the first time how big they really were. "Oh I think Jason has already made a few girls very happy." Mom said with a little smirk. I was speechless now and my aunt was laughing even harder now "I came home from work last week and nearly walked in on him and his little girlfriend, lets just say it's a good thing she screamed when she did." "Mother!" I said standing up my face bright red now. They looked at me and paused for a moment then busted out laughing again "Awe he does the same thing Sean did when he got annoyed with mom." my aunt said. I just sneered and rolled my eyes and turned on my heels to go up to my room. "Oh he does the eye roll and the little sneer too." I heard mom say as I headed up stairs.
"Seriously it was so embarrassing." I told Kate as I walked her home from school "I'm sorry Jason." She said trying to hide her cute little snickers. I instinctively rolled my eyes. "Fine go ahead laugh at the fact my mother and aunt had a conversation about my penis and our sex life with me sitting in the room with them." "Oh come on hun you gotta admit it is kinda funny." "Yes from the outside I can almost see how it would be funny like most others misfortune is at times." "Now see that's that snarky sarcasm that won me over." "Haha always the joker this one." She laughs and I give her a little smirk "So you wanna come hang out tonight?" she asks me as we near her house "I can't tonight me and Ma are going somewhere tonight." "Oh where to?" I hesitate for a moment "I guess you could say it's a family thing." "Yeah? Like your Grandma coming into visit or something?" "Not exactly...I'm finally gonna go see dad's grave." "Wow um okay...so I guess shoot me a text if you want when your done with that." "Yeah I will." I kiss her goodbye as we reach her block and start to head home.
"Nervous?" Mom asks as the cemetery comes into view. "I dunno a little I guess." I tell her as I looked out the window "Me too it's been so long since I've gone to visit him. I was just so overwhelmed taking care of you and I just missed him so much...when we moved I couldn't bring myself to even look at any of things till we found that box when you were younger." I didn't say anything I guess I kind of understood where she was coming from. "Well here we are." We walked the short distance from the car to dad's grave "Jason do you mind if I say a few words myself for just a moment." "No ma go ahead." I hung back by the car and watched as she knelt down beside the tombstone I couldn't hear what she was saying but I could tell she started crying. Eventually she got herself together and waved me over and I went to kneel beside her. "So like I said I'm sorry it's been so long, I know you wanted me to but I never remarried, how could I after you, my Airman, my Sean. I brought someone with me today." Mom said as I took a knee. "Hi dad." Was all I could say as I ran my hand over the Marble grave stone 'Here lies Sean Eric Demers who gave his life so that others may live on to defend as he did.' was what it read.
The car ride home was mostly silent until I asked mom "Ma do you think dad would be proud of me." "Oh Jason I'm sure he would be. I'm so sure if he were still here he'd tell you every day how much he loves you and how proud of you he is. You know before we got married he'd always tell me how happy it'd make him to have a family of his own and be a dad." She told me smiling "But he never got that chance." I said quietly and mom's smile faded "He did for a little while and he'd always be so happy to come home to see us when he got off work no matter how tired he was he'd come and scoop you right out of my arms and start playing with you and the dogs." Her smile started to come back and I started to smile too. "Is that why you never saw anyone after dad died, didn't want anyone else raising me." "I guess and plus how could I find any body to replace your father he was such a wonderful husband. No matter what he'd always make time for us and let me just say with some of that time he made before you came a long let's just say I'm surprised you didn't come along sooner." "Mother!" I said shooting her a look. She just smirked as we got out of the car finally arriving back home. She just smirked and hugged me tight. "I've got work in the morning so I'll be heading to bed soon. Make sure you get your homework done and remember dad may not be here to tell you how proud of you he is but I sure as hell am, and Jason I'm so very proud of you." She kissed my forehead and we walked inside together and both went right to bed.
"Hi dad." I said standing at my dad's tombstone with a couple bags packed and a taxi waiting at the foot of the hill. "I know the last few times it's been me and mom but she's kinda mad at me, well maybe mad at both of us as odd as that sounds. I think it's because you inspired me dad, everyone is always saying I'm just like you. I can only guess how happy that would have made you. But as much as I'm like you I wanna do more than you did. So I'm following you dad I'm joining the Air Force just like you. I'm leaving today actually just wanted to say goodbye for now. I wanted to be Security Forces like you but turns out I apply for Combat Control Team so I'm doing that instead." I said ending with a little nervous laugh and a smirk. "I'm gonna make you proud dad." I said as I picked up my bags and headed back to my cab
"Hello Sean." Mom said as we stood by dad's grave me in my uniform with my red beret "I know I said something I wish I didn't the last few times I came but I was just being stupid. I know I told you Jason graduated, well he's finally home and he's and Airman now just like you were. Oh if only you were here to see him now." She said starting to tear up. I put my hand on her shoulder to comfort her. "I know you would have liked for me to do this before he left but I didn't really get the chance to so I figured now would be as good a time as any." Mom turned to me and took an envelope from her purse "Jason your father wrote this to you before he left for his last deployment he said if he didn't come back that I should give it to you when you finally made it on your own." I took the letter recognizing it as the one mom had told me not to touch when we found the box of dad's things when I was younger. With trembling hands opened it and began to read.
I know this may be the last chance I get to see you or talk to you so I figured I'd take this chance to tell you now some important things. The past year and a half I've spent as a father to you have been some of the most difficult and trying times of my life in nearly every aspect but damn it I couldn't be happier. I always wanted a son the day the doctor told me I was a father to a healthy baby boy I can't tell you Jason how joyful and proud I felt in that moment that I held you that first time, or that first time I saw you smile, or crawl, I'll be honest a bit upset your first word was the dogs name and not daddy but I named Buster your mother named Rex so I'll take it as a win. I just wish you could of come later son, we always wanted to wait until I was out of the military to have you. I always worried that I might get called to deploy one last time. I guess I can stop worrying about that now or I wouldn't be up at one am sitting by your crib finding the right words to say. Just remember this though while I was out there I guarantee up until that last moment I was thinking about coming back home to my wife and you little Jason. And know this I promise no matter what your doing now if your going to college, joining the military, working in an office or whatever the hell it is that your doing to make a living I'm damn proud of you kid.