Some of you may remember the blog post I wrote last month about Sgt. Ian McConnell, a friend of mine that I met last year in Marjah, Afghanistan.
McConnell killed himself on July 4 with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, shocking friends and family alike. His family decided to go public with his story through this blog in hope that it might help someone else.
Through this ordeal, I’ve had the luck to get to know Ian’s sister, Meg. Last night, she shared that she has been writing about her brother’s death on her blog, On the Homefront.
A recent excerpt about returning to her hometown with her brother’s body:
Even now, I cannot believe all these events actually occurred to me. Even now, I cannot believe Ian is gone. Even now, I feel as if I am recalling some other person’s story. Even now, it hurts me to tears to remember.
We had to have been quite a sight as we walked to the front of the plane. My dad, a warm bear, silent and strong in his pilot’s uniform; Gus, a solid rock with well-earned pride in his dress blues; then there was me – a small child, meek and defeated, desperately clutching at the dog tags around my neck; all walking with sorrow-weighed shoulders. The passengers applauded as we reached the front of the plane – a thank you for the sacrifice we had made, but did they know the conditions of my brother’s death? Would they still applaud if they knew?
I went down the steps and ran into the arms of my mother, holding her as she cried. I was awed by her strength as she quickly composed herself then took my hand and walked with me back towards the plane. Hand in hand we stood on one side of the ramp leading up to the baggage holding area, while my dad, Gus, and a few other men stood on the other side.
Considering the strength Meg and her family showed in sharing their story last month, the least I could do was share this now.
Ian would be happy to see it.