FAMILY BONDS |
February 20, 2007
Name: Doug Templeton
Posting date: 2/20/07
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Hometown: Kansas City, MO
I write this post from the safety of my office back in the States. I am here on 30 days emergency leave. My father died after a four-year battle with cancer. Never in that time did he ever complain about the pain or worry me about his suffering. When the end came it was a shock to me because he seemed to be doing well. I know it was his way of keeping me from being distracted. He believed in what I am doing, and would not have wanted to bother me with things I couldn't control. He was a trooper and I will miss him terribly.
Since this site is for passing along the events and feelings of servicemembers, I thought I would try to explain what has been going through my mind the last few days.
I was notified of my father's death through an email from my mother. She had sent it two minutes earlier, and something compelled me to check my email as I went about my many daily tasks. I notified my leadership that a Red Cross message was coming, and they started to make the arrangements for my travel.
I had to convoy to my point of embarkation, and when I arrived the following morning I was met by the First Shirt, who had everything I needed as far as leave paperwork and such complete and waiting. I left Afghanistan that day on the first thing smoking back to the States. It took about 32 hours to get to my home in Texas, to collect my wife and daughter before heading out the next day on a ten-hour drive north to Kansas City.
Here is where the odd feelings started to weigh on my mind. I miss and loved my father as did rest of my family, and the funeral was a tough time for all of us. We used each other for comfort and strength to get through the event. After that I spent a few days with my mother to help her through the transition of no longer having someone around the house.
The simularities between being with my family at home and my family in Afghanistan began to cause me to feel a little out of place. You see we have a responsibility to each other for safety and comfort, and to help each other through difficult events. It is the same in both locations, and that is why I feel like I have to get back.
My family here is safe and sound and are beginning to move forward without Dad. My family in Afghanistan is still in harm's way, and I am part of that team. No matter what, I have a responsibility to uphold and a mission to complete.
For those not in the military this may seem strange, but those who serve will understand. I am a sixth-generation military officer, and these principles have been instilled in me from birth. This is what my father would have wanted, for me to get back to work and to make a difference and to complete my mission.