"What have you and I got to do but make our exit? When they told me I was in danger several months ago, I don't remember feeling distressed. I am talking, of course, about dying, not about being killed. If shells started falling about this house I should feel quite differently. An external, visible, and (still worse) audible threat at once wakes the instinct of self preservation into fierce activity. I don't think natural death has any similar terrors."
Before Brandon left we discussed often and with great passion the topic of death. Ironic that nowadays that's the last thing I want to think about or speak of. However, since it seems to be a real thing, (although in mourning I must echo Lewis's words when his wife died shortly after they were married "I cannot describe the apparent unreality of my life since then...") I felt like this first quote explained a concept that I never got in conversation with Brandon. He used to say "I'm not afraid of death, I'm just not." And that bothered me. Not only because his job demands he be CAREFUL about death (and because I demand it...) but because to die is a scary thing in my mind.
With a vivid imagination and creativity you can turn any adventure into plain and simple fear. And in the end, that fear is worse than the actual event you feared to begin with.
So I'm told.
And so I've learned in smaller experiences.
After the first week of March and the sadness that occurred therein he called me finally to talk about it.
and said " for the first time, I'm really afraid. I'm afraid to die."
I think what he meant was
He's afraid to be killed.
And I'm glad there's a difference.
I do not envy any man the honor of dying for their country.
But I feel, that if Brandon does, then I should.
" I feel like a child, I'll patrol all day and night walking through villages that are known taliban strong holds, walking through thick fields where locals say there are mines. I do this just fine. I have no fear of loosing a leg or my life, but the thought of not returning to you brings me to my knees everytime. I just want to watch you live, to be the first thing you see every morning..."
I'll love you Brandon Cochran
Some letters from you come with the word "safe" written on them,
I like that.
It's like when you were a kid, and you played the game Sorry,
getting into the safety corridor was the best feeling.
So now, I write it on all of Brandon's letters back to him, our return address is: