My husband has one, sole, tattoo. Unusual for a soldier, most have multiple tattoo’s, and most of those are military or patriotic. Memorials to their service, battles and brothers in arms.  The people who choose to serve, especially career military, all have one thing in common, a fierce love of country and an overflowing patriotism. It is apparent in their service. Their stance. Their entire way of life. Obviously Dave’s one tattoo has significant meaning.

It is a simple Omega, with a dagger inside. It is the symbol for his Band of Brothers. The men he served with that share an unbreakable bond. His band is scattered. Their military paths have taken them to different duty stations, around the world, away from each other. Each of them has followed his path unwavering. Unquestioning. As they are called, they serve. It is a quality I admire, respect and envy. To stand so proud and strong for their country, their believes, their freedom. Our freedom.

I miss his Band of Brothers. They not only serve the military, but they serve as our family. When Dave is gone, they take his place. They stand at my door ready to change a light bulb, a diaper, or kill a spider. There is nothing any of them would not do for their country, their brother or their family. It is something you hear about. See in movies. It is also real.  Dave’s Band of Brothers is, by extension, also my Band of Brothers.

They may be physically scattered, years have flown past, but that bond is as tight as ever. A phone call. A visit. Skype! Years magically vanish. It is an immediate and visceral reconnection. You see that face. You hear that voice and that love, that bond. It is there.

Last night we reconnected. To see those faces. Hear those voices. The years fell away and happiness welled up inside me, filling me head to toe with happiness. And then sorrow. One of his brothers is dying. Cancer. It has felled him completely. He has days, a week, maybe a month. It is a loss that cuts to the core. It is our first loss. It is Dave’s first loss. Of course he has lost soldiers, but never one of his Band of Brothers.

He kept it quiet. He fought his battle quietly. Strong. Silent. And lost. It is time to say goodbye. It is rare to see my husband cry. Yesterday we cried together.