So two days ago, I received word that a good friend of mine died last year in Iraq. The news hit me square in the heart and I was instantly just wrecked. I emailed back and forth with a mutual friend because he was the one who told me. I’m not sure who took it worse. Honestly, it doesn’t matter.

I hate this. I hate looking at a newspaper article and seeing my buddy in the picture, holding his weapon with a big grin on his face. I hate knowing that he’s not out there, hanging out with his kids. And I fucking hate that I didn’t know.

I don’t think anyone is really good at mourning. I’m not. As many times as someone close to me has died in this war, its not something that you just toss off and get better at. There is no training that teaches you the right way to deal with the horrible news that someone you care about has died in a crappy place far from home.

My soldiers were on the range with me and I can only imagine what they saw. Their commander, take a knee, tears streaming down her face, her eyes raw from rubbing them with her gloves on. The rest of the day, I walked around with eyes so red and swollen, I looked like I had hives or pink eye.

I’m still kind of numb from the news. But just like downrange, you have to put it away so you can get back after it. I had to put it away and blink back tears so I could qualify on my weapon. I had to put away the emotion and get back to work because I’ve got a hundred and forty soldiers counting on me to do just that.

Doesn’t mean I didn’t close the door for a minute and put my head down and bawl my eyes out. It still hurts. I just can’t keep crying over it because I’m afraid sometimes that I’ll never stop.

Thanks to everyone who dropped a note. I appreciate the support. Sometimes, just a note makes a big difference.