The Long Road To Elysian Fields

November 11, 2014

I am walking along this wide road and I see no one, but in the distance I see something but I am not sure, I hear my wife crying but can not see her. I hear my children but can not see them either, I look around and I hear my wife say it wasn’t my time.  I come upon a small pond along side the road that I am walking on, the road feels as if I belong here.  I look at the pond and I see not my reflection but the all I see are the events that impacted my life the most both happy and sad events.

The first event is at my oldest brothers swearing in ceremony and my telling my mom that is what I will be doing when I am old enough. The next event is at my mothers side in the hospital as she lays dying from breast cancer that was not diagnosed in time.  I received permission from my dad to take the oath of enlistment early at my moms hospital bed side, as I said the final words she gave her last breath.  I left for basic training after my 17th birthday, after my basic training and my m.o.s. training I went back home for a family emergency leave, my father had passed away in his sleep because of a broken heart.

I had served two years when I had met my future wife, we had dated for several years before I had the courage to ask her father for her hand in marriage.  I looked at the pond again and I saw our marriage and then the births of our children all four of them.  I saw her face go pale as she is handing me the phone I was being called to active duty, I left 5 days later not knowing where I would be shipped.

I am closer to the object in the distance what happens to look like a soldier standing guard.  I come upon another pond and I see all four of my children’s last birthday’s that I was not at.  I saw my wife’s brave smile knowing that I was not there, to help celebrate the birthdays.  I walk a bit further on the road and the shape is that of a soldier standing guard, I yell but no response from the guard.

I walk past another pond but I stop, and I see my wife sitting at a table in a restaurant crying, I see the card I had sent her open on the table the card was for our anniversary, that was today.  I am closer to the soldier standing guard he looks to be an old soldier, I call out but still no response. I continue walking along the road and come to another small pond and I again I look and I see a newspaper with the words a hero celebrated, but no picture is in the article, it talks of how the small town came together for the soldier and his family.

I finally am standing in front of the soldier standing guard as I attempt to salute him, he tells me no for he should be saluting me, I am surprised and then listening to his voice I realize that it is my grandfather who was in the military, as he salutes me, I asked him why and he said they all drew straws to see who would welcome me to Elysian Fields, he was the one who won.

My grandfather asked me what was the last thing I remember doing, I told him that my command was in a battle, my grandfather informed me that all were lost in that battle myself included.  My grandfather asked me to step over to this small pond and showed me that my burial was 4 days ago, I saw my wife crying while my children were asking her where daddy was.  I finally realized the sounds that I had been hearing was because I had died, not because I was lost.

I look up from the pond and I see every family member who served in the military standing at attention waiting for me to pass, my grandfather escorts me down the line of family members who died.  I turn to salute the line and I have tears falling down my cheeks as I realize that I will not be there for my wife or to watch my kids grow up.

My grandfather informed me anytime I wish to see how my children or my wife is doing all I have to do is look into a small pond and I can see them, they can not see me but will sense my presence.  They will feel as if I am their guardian angel, watching over them.

My grandfather informs me that I fought till reinforcements had arrived, my last words were we were safe now,  The newspaper rallied the town to be there for me wife and kids, they buried me with honor.  My name was inscribed on the wall for those who made the greatest sacrifice.

I have been in Elysian Fields now for several years, I still look into ponds hoping to catch a glance of my children and my wife, I hear my wife cry when she is asked by our oldest when she is old enough to enlist, will mom be okay with it.  I look down at the pond with pride knowing my oldest wants to enlist, my wife agrees but only after she graduates from high school.

I see my wife still crying herself to sleep, I whisper its okay to move on……………….

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